Elvis is ‘The King’ of the road

‘Army home’ in Ger­many puts fa­mous vis­i­tor on traf­fic lights

The Star Malaysia - - World -

FRIEDBERG: Cross the road, it’s now or never. Or that’s what res­i­dents in the Ger­man town of Friedberg may start hum­ming when their traf­fic light jumps to green to re­veal a hip-swiv­el­ling Elvis Pres­ley.

The jail­house rocker per­formed his mil­i­tary ser­vice there be­tween 1958 and 1960 and the town re­mains all shook up about its cel­e­brated vis­i­tor.

To com­mem­o­rate the Love me Ten­der singer’s link to Friedberg, lo­cated north of Frank­furt, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have trans­formed three traf­fic lights into Elvis lights.

On red, they show the mu­sic icon stand­ing at his mi­cro­phone.

On green, Elvis is seen in a mid­hip shake, per­form­ing his trade­mark move on tip toes.

The town, which calls it­self “the army home of Elvis”, al­ready has a gi­ant Elvis statue on a round­about near the for­mer US bar­racks.

“Elvis holds a spe­cial place here and that’s why he is hon­oured and ap­pre­ci­ated,” lo­cal res­i­dent Heidi Hueb­ner said af­ter she snapped a pic­ture of the nov­elty traf­fic light.

Although he served in Friedberg, Elvis ac­tu­ally lived off-base in the neigh­bour­ing town of Bad Nauheim, which proudly holds an Elvis fes­ti­val ev­ery year.

It was in Bad Nauheim that Elvis met his fu­ture wife Priscilla. The cou­ple wed in the United States in 1967 but di­vorced six years later.

Elvis died un­ex­pect­edly in 1977 at just 42 years old.

Ger­man towns and cities have a lively tra­di­tion of cus­tomis­ing traf­fic lights, of­ten to pay trib­ute to a fa­mous res­i­dent.

The city of Bonn has in­stalled some that light up with Beethoven’s face, while the west­ern town of Trier cel­e­brated the 200th an­niver­sary of Karl Marx’s birth with traf­fic lights of the bearded philoso­pher.

A string of Ger­man cities have also adorned their traf­fic lights with same-sex cou­ples to mark gay pride events.

But best-known of all is Berlin’s so-called “Am­pel­maen­nchen” (traf­fic light man), a car­toon­ish, hat-wear­ing fel­low that is a muchloved cul­tural relic from the for­mer East Ger­many.

— AP/AFP

All lit up:A memo­rial for Elvis is seen in Bad Nauheim and the traf­fic light (in­set) switch­ing from green to red in Friedberg to re­mem­ber the rock and roll le­gend.

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