»Elvis was a major hero of mine. I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something.«
David Bowie, 1996
Elvis’ echo finds his way through Bowie’s whole career. As he was a kid he plays Hound Dog a hundred times and in his first live appearance he did a impersonation of his major hero Elvis. This happened before an audience of Bromley cubs when he was 11 years old. As all started and he joined RCA in 1971 he called home and excitedly say: »Mum, I’m going to be bigger than Elvis.«
Bowie’s creation of Ziggy Stardust was inspired by American rocker Vince Taylor. This man worked in France and brings his career to an end when he announced himself as Jesus Christ.
Ziggy Stardust concerts ended with the song Rock’n’Roll Suicide for which Bowie changed into a white jumpsuit, copied from one of Elvis’ by designer Fred Buretti. Bowie’s manager Tony De Fries closed the concerts with: »David Bowie has left the building.«
»I walked in on a Saturday evening in full Ziggy garb to see Elvis and he nearly crucified me. I felt such a fool and I was way down in the front. I sat down there and he looked at me and if looks could kill ! Ziggy changed on the Monday night. It was probably Elvis Stardust [laugh] for about a week.«
About Elvis' Madison Square Garden performance
It did not traumatize Bowie. He took the Elvis lightning-bold logo and painted at in his face for the cover of his album Aladdin Sane, the following year.
The video of Bowie’ s Young Americans was a further borrowing of the Elvis style – with its deliberate emulation of Elvis’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show – and the song itself employed Elvis’ vocal tricks.
The most Elvis moment in Bowie’s career was the song Golden Years, which he have written hoping Elvis would record it and which he recorded in Elvis’ style.