Being immediately recognizable by either a single name (like Oprah) or by a nickname (Ivan the Terrible) is the ultimate sign of maximum fame. Very few people are able to pull off even one of those levels of fame, only the truly elite have achieved both.
Elvis Aaron Presley is in that rarefied air. He's simply Elvis or the King. Regardless of how you may feel about Elvis—there are myriad reasons he was problematic—his status as a pop culture icon is undeniable.
Part of what makes Elvis so fascinating is the way that despite his relatively short life—he passed away from a heart attack at the age of 42—his career had many different stages. There was early teen heartthrob Elvis, most famous man in the world Elvis, movie star Elvis, Vegas (and some would say druggy and fat) Elvis and weird recluse who shoots televisions inside his mansion Elvis.
I grew up in a small town where one of the only sources of entertainment was the monthly flea market. You could find just about anything you wanted, but nothing you needed, at the flea market. As at all flea markets, there was a man there who sold pretty poor quality paintings on black velvet. Strangely, he seemed to never have paintings of Elvis, going against the trend. Then, one glorious day, he finally had one. It was of Elvis holding a microphone that looked exactly like an ice cream scooper. That last detail is even funnier when you factor in that it was fat and bloated Elvis depicted in the painting. I was able to pick it up for $40 but I would have gladly paid 10 times as much.
While a black velvet painting is much different than a tattoo, that same spirit of idolizing the King can be seen throughout the gallery below. Enjoy this collection of Elvis tattoos in honor of the King's 85th birthday and never forget to Take Care of Business. TCB, babay!