WATCH: Boogie-woogie, pink Cadillacs and Elvis fever in Germany

2018-08-24 16:30
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The rock and roll era ushered in by Elvis Presley swiftly took the world by storm and still captivates fans today. Impersonators, to this day, can be seen shaking their hips on the streets of cities all over the world. But not many people are aware that Elvis once lived in Germany.  

Bad Nauheim is the tiny German town that he once called home and is today the location of an annual European Elvis Festival drawing fans from all over the world. 

What is behind this everlasting fascination with The King and why does this fascination continue in this small German town? 

In 1958, at the height of his musical career, Elvis Presley was drafted into the US Army and stationed in Friedberg near Frankfurt, West Germany. The nearby town of Bad Nauheim became his home for a year and a half. It is an experience the town and his neighbours have not forgotten. 

The festival is full of The King's spirit. Everywhere you turn, there are 1950's cars, fashion and music with plenty of dancing all inspired by the King of rock and roll.

SEE: Immortal Rock 'n' Rock: Elvis Presley's Graceland opens a new tribute complex

Most of the musicians at the festival are not Elvis impersonators but they do, largely, count him as a major source of inspiration. Musicians that clearly draw inspiration from Elvis include the likes of The Silver Rockets from the Netherlands and Grammy-winner Darlene Love who once shared the stage with Elvis himself. 

All this action leads up to the Elvis party, but first it's a good idea for visitors to practice their dance moves -like the boogie-woogie based on a triple step - and once you've got the moves down head on over to the Elvis party and show them off. 

Visitors to the annual festival are likely to see many cars similar to Elvis' infamous pink Cadillac. The King was known to stop his car in traffic to sign autographs causing major traffic problems, but that is not the only time that Elvis caused a stir in the local community.

The King and his entourage were once kicked out of his room at the Hotel Grunewald because they lit newspapers and put them under the doors of other hotel rooms, thinking it funny that other guests would run out in panic fearing a fire was burning in the hotel.   

Super fans can stay in the perfectly preserved room for about €150 (about R2 471 at €1/R16,48) a night. With six mirrors, the room is designed to accommodate vanity - one of Elvis' most famous traits.

SEE: Jetset like The King: Rusty plane may be the ultimate Elvis memorabilia 

Nearly every spot in Bad Nauheim holds a memory of some sort of the late musician. Visitors can follow in his footsteps on a guided tour held by a local expert. A particularly interesting stop is at his house where he met the love of his life, Priscilla Beaulieu, at a party. 

After taking in the sights and history, visitors should head back to the centre of town where the party rages on, with hip-shaking and all sorts of merriment. 

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