Elvis Presley‘s not dead. He just put on a disguise, changed his name to Waylon Jennings, and became a country music artist instead. Jennings poked fun at all those Elvis is alive myths with this hilarious song. Jennings recorded “Nobody Knows (I’m Elvis)” back in the 1990s.
Ever since the King of Rock n’ Roll passed, obsessed fans have insisted Presley still lived. Possible theories range from aliens abducting Presley to the singer appearing in “Home Alone” in disguise. Jennings added onto this by proposing a myth of his own, that he was secretly Elvis in disguise.
Jennings sang lyrics such as : “Bet you thought I was ol’ Waylon/ With all of my rugged good looks/ Swagger and walk, body and soul/ I bet he had what it took/ I’ve always envied his singing, The way he played a guitar/ Black vest and hat, that’s where it’s at, That’s what I call a star/ Nobody knows I’m Elvis.”
With his slick back hairdo, Jennings did sort of resemble Presley if you squint really hard. Jennings went through several dramatic physical transformations throughout his career. But the teased-up hair felt appropriate for this period in Jennings’ career when he experimented with music and sound. The look certainly helped his case when singing the funny ode to Presley and his life in hiding.
Behind the Waylon Jennings Song
After radios rejected several of his songs, the country singer took a step back from commercial performances. Jennings felt free and renewed as an artist. He wrote some of his most experimental songs during this period, including the comedic “Nobody Knows (I’m Elvis).”
Jennings ended up producing a record based upon these songs. As for what inspired the song, Jennings got the idea from a T-shirt he saw. Jennings loved the idea of Presley being on the lam, hiding from his obsessed fans.
“Right after I wrote it, (author and songwriter) Shel Silverstein was in town telling me about this guy about 5-foot-2 and bald-headed. That went over to this girl’s house and told her that he was Elvis in disguise. And she went for it for about two months,” Jennings told AP News. “And he lived in her basement. Yeah, she was hiding him out.”
It certainly ended up being a funny song among Jennings’ catalog. Maybe one day, another artist will pay it forward and make a tune “Nobody Knows (I’m Waylon)” to honor the singer.