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View Full Version : Charlie Hodge working with an Elvis impersonator



songs4u
07-18-2006, 10:52 PM
It seems the majority of Elvis fans don't like impersonators. When I'm at my radio station I'm about 45 minutes away from Dollywood and Pigeon Forge. It's become quite a booming little place. Whenever I drive down that strip I always look at the marque of the Elvis impersonator and they always made sure they let you know Charlie Hodge was performing with him (before Charlie passed away). I've never seen an Elvis impersonator myself much less one that Charlie played with. I wonder if he was in there handing this guy scarves and water and such the same way he did for Elvis. I know you have to make a living but, if I had worked with Elvis I would feel degraded working with an Elvis impersonator. It seems to me he could have gotten a performing gig on his own talent.

Maybe, I'm being too hard on him. What do you all think?

jak
07-19-2006, 05:09 AM
Ive known several people who saw Charlie at that theatre you mentioned.I'm about 4 hours away and wanted to go see him but I never got a chance.By all acounts Charlie was lost when Elvis died.Elvis was his income and he had it suddenly took away.Charlie never said a bad word about Elvis and was a good friend Im sure.Like you said he just needed to make a living.I dont like impersonator's but I dont knock Charlie for doing it.My wife has a friend who works at one of those theatres in Pigeon Forge and was good friends with him.She said Charlie was a really good guy.
Jak

Diane
07-19-2006, 08:13 AM
The thought of Charlie working for an Elvis impersonator bothers me too I would have rather seen him working with his own many talents elsewhere too but maybe in a strange way it gave him some comfort??

songs4u
07-19-2006, 05:11 PM
I can understand both of your points of view.

Charlie probably did feel lost when Elvis died. I don't mean to be disrespectful but, I thought of Charlie sometimes as being a gopher for Elvis (for lack of a better word). I think he did and would have done anything Elvis asked of him. I don't think I've ever heard anything about Elvis questioning Charlie's loyalty.
It's almost like Elvis was Charlie's hero.

What do you do when your hero dies.

Everyone talks about the Memphis Mafia and all the guys around Elvis. It seems like Charlie was always forgotten about. He was never included in the Biographies or on Larry King.

Was he ever included in the celebrations in Memphis during Elvis week?

I said in my first post that it would seem degrading to go from Elvis to an Elvis impersonator. Maybe, you're right Diane, he found some comfort in it. Maybe, that was his way of keeping Elvis' memory alive for himself.

People can say all they want about Elvis impersonators and they certainly have the right to like them or not but, I agree with jak - you never heard Charlie say a bad word about Elvis.

nashville cat
07-20-2006, 07:11 AM
We saw this show about three years ago at the Memories theatre when we were in Pigeon Forge for our honeymoon. I enjoyed it. I had never seen an impersonator before, and was highly skeptical. It was done is good taste though. Elvis was not the only artist they did an impression of. They had an excellent band that really played the songs the way they must have sounded when Elvis was playing live. That was the coolest part for me.

We got to meet Charlie afterward and he was very nice. I'm so sorry he's gone. I didn't lost any respect for him because of what he was doing.

songs4u
07-20-2006, 08:52 PM
We saw this show about three years ago at the Memories theatre when we were in Pigeon Forge for our honeymoon. I enjoyed it. I had never seen an impersonator before, and was highly skeptical. It was done is good taste though. Elvis was not the only artist they did an impression of. They had an excellent band that really played the songs the way they must have sounded when Elvis was playing live. That was the coolest part for me.

We got to meet Charlie afterward and he was very nice. I'm so sorry he's gone. I didn't lost any respect for him because of what he was doing.

I'm glad to hear that Elvis fans didn't lose their respect for Charlie for doing this.

Charlie was the only one I can remember seeing when I was at Graceland. I might have seen some other members of Elvis' group but, back then I wouldn't have known who they were. I recognized Charlie when I saw him because he was always with Elvis doing shows.

Albert
07-21-2006, 11:06 AM
I think EPE and even a whole lot of fans have too little respect for Charlie and also aren't aware of the importance of this little guy on Elvis' carreer.

Wasn't it Charlie who learned Elvis to harmonize? To use his voice differently?

In the 70s, he became even more important. Many artists say that standing in front of thousands of people can make you feel really alone. By know we all know that Elvis had huge problems and that there were many shows that Elvis rather wouldn't have done. So Charlie as a sidekick helped Elvis through these difficult shows. He wasn't just an employee, he was a friend.

And if you look at the footage, the pictures, you can see how focused Charlie was during shows. Always an eye on Elvis, ready to jump in. Giving scarves, help him with the words, with the setlist, a laugh here and there, catch the guitar, hand out water.... a truelly wonderfull guy.


I don't have any disrespect for Charlie for performing with impersonators. But I never liked it. It's a poor substitute and a nice way of make a living for Charlie and all of the others that worked with Elvis. Not my cup of tea though. It lays too much focus on the impersonator, instead of Elvis or Charlie.

songs4u
07-21-2006, 11:57 AM
Albert wrote

And if you look at the footage, the pictures, you can see how focused Charlie was during shows. Always an eye on Elvis, ready to jump in. Giving scarves, help him with the words, with the setlist, a laugh here and there, catch the guitar, hand out water.... a truelly wonderfull guy.

I'm sure Charlie's job on stage wasn't easy. And you're right it seems he always had his eye on Elvis. I'm not saying the whole band didn't, but Charlie had to be ready to swing his guitar around to his back and offer a scarf, water, the song list, etc... If he screwed up, it screwed Elvis up. Charlie carried a lot on his shoulders.

Diane
07-21-2006, 12:05 PM
I agree with Albert. Charlie helped Elvis in an awful lot of different ways. In his book he mentions that he taught Elvis to exercise his mouth and tongue to richen his voice and that Elvis felt silly doing it while out driving but he did it.:) and look at the results! His voice was deeper and richer the older he got.

songs4u
07-21-2006, 12:53 PM
I didn't know Charlie gave Elvis any sort of voice lessons until I read these last few posts.

Some people that aren't big Elvis fans might not realize that Charlie was a performer on his own before Elvis came along. We all know that but a lot don't. I think some people think all he did was hand Elvis stuff and laugh when he laughed. But, Charlie's harmonizing fit very well with Elvis' voice, I thought.

songs4u
07-21-2006, 01:00 PM
Albert wrote

Many artists say that standing in front of thousands of people can make you feel really alone. By know we all know that Elvis had huge problems and that there were many shows that Elvis rather wouldn't have done. So Charlie as a sidekick helped Elvis through these difficult shows. He wasn't just an employee, he was a friend.

There was one more thing that Albert said that I wanted to touch upon. It's well known that Elvis was nervous before going on stage. Can you imagine 20,000 cameras and binoculars staring at you. I'd have to take a nerve pill before I went out there. I think Charlie was sort of a "security blanket" for Elvis. He was that familiar face Elvis could turn to when he felt so alone on that stage.

Donut
07-21-2006, 01:59 PM
For me when Charlie died a part of Elvis memory died too and the guy had the right to make a living the way he liked or could. Sometimes you can?t do in life what you really want but you have to work to eat your beans and that?s the way he chose so i respect him.

keelerphoto
07-21-2006, 04:11 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBMSSNPtOwg

heres a video of jimmy ellis,,,,i like his music,,,

ELVIS_FAN_1968
07-21-2006, 08:35 PM
how did you happen to find the jimmy ellis videos and did you upload it to you tube.com


:clap: :clap: :clap:

ELVIS_FAN_1968
07-21-2006, 08:46 PM
how do i change the words general flunkie to something else plz help

songs4u
07-21-2006, 09:21 PM
First, I wanted to say Donut, I agree with you. You have to do what you have to do to get by and he was doing what he did best.


elvis_fan_1968, I'm no moderator on this board but, it seems to me that they change your title as you go along, I think. It's like working your way up the more posts you have or something like that. I know that mine has changed before without me doing anything. Sorry, I know I'm not very much help.

keelerphoto
07-21-2006, 09:56 PM
post more,more:D

dannyboy1
07-23-2006, 05:24 AM
Wow! Doesn't Jimmy Ellis make the real thing look all the better? I mean, I have a lot of Jimmy Ellis' recordings, but as a live performer he sure ain't no Elvis. At least Elvis used to sing most of the notes.

Regarding Charlie, well there's no doubt he loved Elvis, but I can't get past the way he was always there to help the audience laugh on cue, etc... I just have trouble respecting someone who is so totally someone else's lackey. Kind of reminds me of David Letterman and Jay Leno's band leader/joke monkeys.

While I'm ranting...what happened with Charlie's voice? His harmony vocal on "I Will Be Home Again" is glorious, but 12 years later, his harmony on "For The Good Times" is absolute torture. Listening to him on "Fairytale" in the 1977 CBS outtakes makes you want to take a razor blade to your wrists. Once again, Elvis sounds marvelous by comparison.

And wasn't there an impersonator bit at the end of Charlie's video "The Elvis I Knew"? The way I leaped for the stop button that day was the fastest I've ever moved in my life.

songs4u
07-23-2006, 08:11 AM
dannyboy1 wrote

And wasn't there an impersonator bit at the end of Charlie's video "The Elvis I Knew"?

Charlie had a video out? Do you know a link where I could watch it?

Diane
07-25-2006, 05:48 PM
:) Elvis Fan 1968 - not too worry General Flunkie means you are just starting out on this site. The more you post the name will change. I wondered about that too but didn't have the guts to say anything.

franny
07-25-2006, 06:43 PM
I think Charlie was a true friend to Elvis, I don't think he meant any disrespect at all by performing with impersonators...

I don't like impersonators myself...

franny

songs4u
07-25-2006, 10:01 PM
Franny

I've never seen an impersonator live before. I've never had the desire. I get embarrased for people when they act stupid. I would feel like an ***** dressing like Elvis, trying to sing like him, and giving out scarves. I'd be embarrased for the impersonator. I watched some talk on television and it seems like they really think they are Elvis.

I liked Charlie, too. I live close to where he worked for so long with that impersonator but, never saw him perform. For some reason whenever I saw his name on that marquee I felt sorry for him. I think he would have done anything Elvis told him to do. I wonder how lost he felt when Elvis died.

I just remembered this. A few years back I was interviewing guys for a new disc jockey at my radio station. There's this young guy who came in and had his hair fixed like Elvis. He told me he impersonated Elvis on the side. He was trying to talk just like Elvis and I just thought he was joking around with me until I realized he always talked like that.

nabelt24
04-02-2008, 10:23 AM
I believe Charlie gained great joy in being on stage again, no matter if it was an impersonator he was backing. He knew that he was making a lot of people happy by being there... the tribute artist, the fans in the audience, etc. I also believe that it took him back in time somehow... to something he longed for again.

As for the impersonator/ETA thoughts... Here's something I posted a while back on another thread kind of explaining why I do what I do. There's also a link to some videos I posted on youtube. I perform Elvis' music for the love and the fun of it!

I grew up listening to the music of Elvis as well as other artists such as Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hank Jr., Waylon Jennings, Eagles, The Beatles, etc., and became fascinated with music in general. When I was thirteen I began singing and playing guitar and did so for 6 years before I started singing Elvis songs. I had become a regular at a rockabilly club in downtown Dallas where friends and fans told me I sounded like and resembled my hero, Elvis. So, in my disgust with what I'd saw and heard in the "Impersonator" world, I decided to produce a tribute of my own. One that would hold a high regard for the talent and class that was such a HUGE part of what Elvis stood for and was proud of (something, in my opinion, was hugely lacking in the so called 'tribute' world)!

From that point on, I've been performing the music of Elvis Presley annually for 3 to 4 times a year. I have no goal of making a lucrative living off the name of Elvis and do hold a full-time management position as well as performing my own original music almost every weekend.

Basically, my goal is to keep a respectful memory of our hero alive in the minds and hearts of our children and their childrens children. I do not believe I'm Elvis or have any distorted views of being some kind of prodigal son... believe me, I've met all kinds that think they are!!! I'm just like every other person that's been a fan of the life and music of the man and the legend.

Here's a link to a youtube video of our show...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZ6RLRmbFb4

cameron
04-02-2008, 11:28 AM
I believe Charlie gained great joy in being on stage again, no matter if it was an impersonator he was backing. He knew that he was making a lot of people happy by being there... the tribute artist, the fans in the audience, etc. I also believe that it took him back in time somehow... to something he longed for again.

As for the impersonator/ETA thoughts... Here's something I posted a while back on another thread kind of explaining why I do what I do. There's also a link to some videos I posted on youtube. I perform Elvis' music for the love and the fun of it!

I grew up listening to the music of Elvis as well as other artists such as Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hank Jr., Waylon Jennings, Eagles, The Beatles, etc., and became fascinated with music in general. When I was thirteen I began singing and playing guitar and did so for 6 years before I started singing Elvis songs. I had become a regular at a rockabilly club in downtown Dallas where friends and fans told me I sounded like and resembled my hero, Elvis. So, in my disgust with what I'd saw and heard in the "Impersonator" world, I decided to produce a tribute of my own. One that would hold a high regard for the talent and class that was such a HUGE part of what Elvis stood for and was proud of (something, in my opinion, was hugely lacking in the so called 'tribute' world)!

From that point on, I've been performing the music of Elvis Presley annually for 3 to 4 times a year. I have no goal of making a lucrative living off the name of Elvis and do hold a full-time management position as well as performing my own original music almost every weekend.

Basically, my goal is to keep a respectful memory of our hero alive in the minds and hearts of our children and their childrens children. I do not believe I'm Elvis or have any distorted views of being some kind of prodigal son... believe me, I've met all kinds that think they are!!! I'm just like every other person that's been a fan of the life and music of the man and the legend.

Here's a link to a youtube video of our show...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZ6RLRmbFb4

You're very good. (y) Thank you .

presley31
04-02-2008, 12:03 PM
Really interesting. I didn't know charlie that well till l met his wife on one of the forums l was on and she shared lots of wonderful things with me about charlie and l can see the love he had for elvis while talking about him.

TotallyInsane
04-02-2008, 12:31 PM
Really interesting. I didn't know charlie that well till l met his wife on one of the forums l was on and she shared lots of wonderful things with me about charlie and l can see the love he had for elvis while talking about him.

I assume that was probably after Charlie died that you met her on a MB?

presley31
04-02-2008, 01:44 PM
I assume that was probably after Charlie died that you met her on a MB?

yep thats true and jennifer is a great woman.

hgs262626
04-02-2008, 02:36 PM
There have been a lotta tough guys. There have been pretenders. And there have been contenders. But there is only one king.
He was a unique artist - an original in an area of imitator
ANYTHING BUT ELVIS IS INFERIOR. CHARLIE PRACTICALLY NOSEDIVED ON A PEFORMING LEVEL BY WORKING WITH AN IMPERSONATOR.

Dudcowboy_1
04-04-2008, 09:28 AM
He worked at Memories Theater from early 90s til he died. He loved doing it. He has respect for the Elvis Tribute Artist. He worked with William Stiles, Lou Vuto, Eddie Miles and few others their. He had respect for all of them because he said these guys where themself all they where doing is bring back memories of his best friend.

He said few times Elvis thought it was neatest thing that someone would take the time out to pay tribtue to him. I never got to meet Charlie Hodge but my girlfriend and her mom got to know him and was good friends with him. (They use to judge the Elvii contest, and a lot of the times Charlie and Elvis' friends where special guest.)

I kinda wish now when I started in the business back in 2004 there was a contest held at Memories Theater. I wish I entered now because I wanted to meet Charlie so bad.

Love to all,
Tim

Dudcowboy_1
04-04-2008, 09:35 AM
song4u,

I can see what you mean. There is some in business that do think they are Elvis but usually Elvis fans can tell and well not support them. To me, I never use reverb, or echo to cover my voice. I use my own natural voice on taht stage. All I do is bring back memories of Elvis for Elvis fans and for future genurations out there.

Its awesome feeling to bring back memories for the Elvis fans. Nolvis can tell you how awesome that feeling is.

Love to all,
Tim

Diane Lynn
04-05-2008, 08:27 AM
they need rules and regulations, for these people, thirty years after elvis death, elvis would still look better ,than some of the insults working his name, and embarrassing themselves .

U.S. Male
04-05-2008, 09:54 AM
Tim is correct (y)

Charlie started working @ Memories Theatre(http://www.memoriestheatre.com) on Memorial Day weekend in 1993. I was in attendance for his first 2 shows, plus my wife and I ran in to him earlier that day in the lobby while we were getting tickets. He was so friendly to us - we talked for about 15 minutes.

I also got to see him there many times after that over the years, and I always made sure to speak with him after the show.

I recall him telling an audience member one time that "no body could ever replace Elvis, but there are some good people here working hard to keep his memory and music going with the proper class and style that Elvis deserves"

That statement pretty much makes it clear why Charlie stayed there, and I'm glad he did. (y)

utmom2008
04-05-2008, 12:56 PM
He worked at Memories Theater from early 90s til he died. He loved doing it. He has respect for the Elvis Tribute Artist. He had respect for all of them because he said these guys where themself all they where doing is bring back memories of his best friend.

I myself am NOT an ETA fan, but I think it's wonderful that Charlie finally found something he could do that would bring him a little happiness. I know Charlie had many years of simply being a lost soul, and he turned to the bottle for comfort. I'm happy that he pulled humself out of that situation and got his dignity back before dying. I was able to visit with him a couple of times in Vegas and I got his autograph. He was the sweetest, most humble man.:blink::blink::blush: