Saturday marks the 37th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. Fans from all over the country will pay tribute to The King with memorials and candlelight vigils. Buford’s Mark Pitt will also commemorate Elvis’ death by donning his custom-made Elvis costume and performing a show.
Pitt will perform his Vegas-style Tribute to Elvis show this Saturday night at Tannery Row Ale House in Buford. His tribute show will not only include the hits like “Jail House Rock,” “Hound Dog” and “Teddy Bear,” during which he throws stuffed teddy bears into the audience, but also a mix of country and gospel.
“He sang everything, but the Gospel music was his favorite,” Pitt said. “He used to sneak into JD Sumtner (concerts) when he was a kid. He was a kid and didn’t have any money, so he slipped in the backdoor entrance. When Elvis later became famous, Sumner actually sang backup for him.”
Pitt says he has a large repertoire to choose from for his show because Elvis recorded over 700 songs and the number is still growing.
“They’re still trying to figure out how many songs he has because they’re still finding them today,” Pitt said. “Sirius radio has an all-Elvis station and they’re still finding stuff all the time, from Sun Studio, RCA and more. Now, they’re finding soundboard recordings from his shows, so a lot of live stuff, even from Atlanta.”
Pitt has been performing as an Elvis impersonator for 23 years and says he didn’t necessarily grow up wanting to play Elvis — it was just something he fell into.
“I did a Christmas chorus pageant in high school and the last song was Elvis’ ‘Blue Christmas.’ I went into my version during rehearsal and my teacher looked up and asked ‘who did that?’ I thought I was in trouble,” Pitt said. “But she loved it. She told me that I was going to sing that song because I sounded just like Elvis. I’m a Southern Barrotone, so it’s easy for me to sound like him naturally.”
Pitt says he doesn’t perform his show as a joke or to win contests like some Elvis impersonators. Instead, his motivation is to keep Elvis’ legacy alive.
“My take was always that it’s more about him. I can’t duplicate it and nobody can. To keep his tradition and legacy alive for those that have seen him and also for those who haven’t,” Pitt said. “It’s the 37th anniversary of his death and there are 100,000 people out there ( at Graceland). He’s the only single performer in the Rock and Roll, Gospel Music, Country Music and the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fames.”
Mark Pitt’s Tribute to Elvis show will be from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Tannery Row Ale House located at 554 W. Main St. in Buford. Cost of admission is $10 and no reservations are required.
For more information about the show, visit markpittelvis.com.