Jan. 11, 2005, 9:07AM
German Elvis fans flock to small town to celebrate his 70th
Associated Press file
BAD NAUHEIM, Germany ? German Elvis Presley fans clad in jean jackets, hats and T-shirts bearing the name of The King flocked to this spa town to celebrate his 70th birthday with a series of shows and events.
Organized by local authorities and the local Elvis Presley Association, the events marking his birthday on Saturday include a Las Vegas show, gospel concert and walking tours of places the singer lived from October 1958 through February 1960 while stationed here as a soldier ? his only residence outside the United States.
"His voice was magic: there was so much soul, so much heart in it," said Isolde Sueltemeyer, a classical musician from Cologne.
Sueltemeyer, now retired, was lucky enough to secure a room Friday in the art deco Grunewald Hotel where Presley lived upon arriving in Germany. Complaints from other residents that his rehearsing was disruptive forced him to eventually find his own house.
She was one of several fans who gathered Friday to walk in the footsteps of the man many Germans credit with bringing rock and roll to Europe.
An exhibit at Germany's national museum, Haus der Geschichte, or History House, in the former West German capital of Bonn also commemorates the singer's unique roll in the history of music here.
Ulrich Schlichthaerle, head of the city's tourism office, says officials are only now realizing their city's connection to The King can raise Bad Nauheim's profile.
"Out of more than 100 spa towns in Germany, we are the only one that can claim a 20th-century artist resided here," Schlichthaerle said. "Many of them have connections to Mozart, Beethoven or Brahms, but only we have Elvis."