Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Walking with the King

President Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi are meeting today in Washington...but both of them are probably in `can't wait' mode as they dispose of official biz and get to the important stuff.

Mr Bush and Mr Koizumi are going to Memphis to pay homage to the King.

They will tour Graceland, where the two men will become the first sitting heads of state to tour Elvis Presley's home and shrine.

Koizumi is known both at home and abroad as a huge Elvis fan. He has sung his songs to world leaders (!), sung duets with celebrities and even released a CD of his favourite classics.

Koizumi and the King both share the same January 8th birthday.

"I love Elvis," he told the 5,000 strong Elvis Presley Fan Club in Tokyo in 2001. "I never get tired of listening to his songs no matter how many times I hear them."

Me too, Mr. Prime Minister. I knew there was something I liked about you...just never put my finger on it.

Maybe Koizumi and Dubbya will do a duet on `Heartbreak Hotel' ala `Spinal Tap'.Heck I would join in that harmony if I was there!

Elvis, by the way, is huge in Japan.

Every Sunday, a group of Elvis look-alikes gather in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park to dance along to classic hits blasting from a loud-speaker.

It's a rare karaoke bar hasn't got a selection of Elvis classics for patrons to sing along with, and Japan is the second biggest market in Asia after Australia for sales of Elvis music.

As a matter of fact Koizumi is supposed to have done an Elvis duet with Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer at an official dinner Down Under!

"Everybody knows who Elvis is," says Takuya Matsuyama of BMG Japan. "There are a lot of fans who are over 40, but the number of younger fans is increasing too. Lots of musicians say they like Elvis, so young people want to check him out."

"Elvis sang rock, ballads, gospel - he has all kinds of styles, so he can have all kinds of fans."

Amen, Matsuyama...the King will never die.

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