Happy Birthday, Elvis: The King's 81st brings out his best impersonators

Story highlights

  • Photographer Erin Feinberg has captured more than 100 Elvis impersonators for her new book
  • The book "King for a Day" features "tribute artists" from all walks of life
  • Feinberg explains what she learned about the enduring appeal of the King of Rock and Roll

(CNN)New York-native Erin Feinberg is a master observer of musical subcultures, and has snapped diehard tribes of metal-heads, prog-rockers, and punks. But the 40-year-old photographer says she didn't set out to find the world's most committed musical idol worshipers -- they found her.

It has been 81 years to the day since Elvis' birth (Happy Birthday Elvis!) and almost four decades since his death. Yet for his legion of fans, The King remains as seductive as ever.
Each year, in late summer, tens of thousands arrive in Graceland for Elvis Week, an annual seven-day festival, during which his hardcore fans pay homage at his home in Memphis, Tennessee. Among them -- unmistakeable in their jumpsuits, pompadour hair-dos, sideburns -- are hundreds of professional "tribute artists" and scores of amateurs. And here is where, among these most committed of fans, the photographer explains she found herself one morning.
    In the years since, she has compiled "King for a Day," a new book capturing over 100 Elvis impersonators from all walks of life and corners of the globe, and got tantalizingly close to understanding why so many still want to climb inside the King's skin.
    In the gallery above, Feinberg explains how she found herself caught up in the world of Elvis-idolatry, what she learned to love about the King, and her favorite impersonator.