Two of the seminal singers in the world of rock and roll were Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison -- contemporaries who never appeared on stage together.
One was full of sex appeal while the other was mysterious, hidden behind dark glasses. One danced and was frenetic while the other stood stock still, letting his voice warm the room. One sang with a pure rock and roll drive while the other had a new operatic sound that wrapped an audience in a web of breathless admiration.
The two singers are coming to Milwaukee as impersonators Danny J and John Van Thiel stage "Elvis and Orbison: The Voices of Rock" at The Pabst Theater onÂ Aug. 16.
"We start the show with the music people were listening to at that time," said Danny J, who plays Orbison. "It was Patti Page and Tennessee Ernie Ford and Mitch Miller.Â Then I come out and Orbison takes the stage. I start with â€˜Come a Little Bit Closer,â€™ and we are off and running."
Eventually, Van Thielâ€™s first song is "King Creole," and the two take turns delivering hit after hit â€“ not hard considering the early rockers' legendary catalogues.
Danny J and Van Thiel spent years with the late Mark Shurilla and his "Greatest Hits Tribute," which leaned heavily on Buddy Holly.
"Fans told us over and over that they wanted to hear more Elvis, more Danny J, so we crafted a show to give it to them," Van Thiel said.
Danny J spearheaded the effort to organize the group and assembled a 12-piece group â€“ The Legendaires Show Band â€“ that includes a full horn section and backup singers.
"We have a 12-piece band and backup singers who are some of the best musicians in the area," Danny J said. "These guys are real pros. They all read charts, and they sound great."
"The Legendaires features some of the finest musicians and vocalists from the Chicago and Wisconsin areas," Van Thiel said. "Itâ€™s an honor to have this kind of talent backing us. John and I are really looking forward to performing at The Pabst Theater."
Doing a tribute is a dangerous task with many singers failing to capture the music of the guy being impersonated.Â Orbison had at least a three octave range, and his ability to climb high without singing falsetto was one of his amazing strengths. However, Danny J said he doesnâ€™t have any troubling matching Orbison, note for note.
"Iâ€™ve never taken a voice lesson," Danny J said. "This is all natural. I started doing a version of 'Cara Mia' by Jay and the Americans, and people just went crazy when they heard it."
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Dave Begel
Published July 28, 2016
It is now official that Democrat Hillary Clinton will oppose Republican Donald Trump in the race to be the next president of the United States. We won't get a winner, however. Instead, we will end up with a president who is merely a survivor.
Published July 26, 2016
Being an Uber driver in Milwaukee is a one-of-a-kind experience that lets Dave Begel meet some of the most interesting people, residents as well as visitors to the city. Find out where Begel took guests in the latest installment of Tales of the Road.
Published July 21, 2016
So the nightmare is true and Donald Trump actually may be president. The whole thing has made Dave Begel wonder about prominent conservatives in Wisconsin and whether they will support Trump. It turns out that they are split on the nomination.
Published July 19, 2016
Summer theater in Wisconsin usually means Spring Green or Door County. But there are several summer productions that look interesting and that range from the classical to the experimental, both indoors and under the stars of Milwaukee.
Published July 14, 2016
People say that America is more divided now than ever, but it was less than a lifetime ago when this country was torn apart by the quest for civil rights and the drive to end the war in Vietnam. Those times were full of violent demonstrations.
Published July 12, 2016
The Milwaukee Rep has announced a unique training program for teenage actors in the city, as part of the company's commitment to stimulating dialogue and creating engagement opportunities revolving around social issues facing the city.
Published July 8, 2016
They looked just like any other happy couple coming out of Summerfest when I picked them up at the staging area. But once they got into the car, the tension was obvious, and eventually, it boiled over.
Published July 5, 2016
All of the arts enable us to see things, especially in ourselves, we might otherwise miss. I have an idea, and it's something that could help brand Milwaukee better than any flag, slogan or video. Let's make Milwaukee the epicenter of the world for public art.
Published June 30, 2016
Now that the OSPP has exploded in mid-air like the Big Bang fireworks, the question is where do we go from here? The plan, which many saw as the right wing continuing to try and chip away at MPS, didn't have much of a chance of working.
Published June 30, 2016
Being an Uber driver in Milwaukee is a one-of-a-kind experience that lets Dave Begel meet some interesting people, residents and visitors to the city. Everybody has a story, and Tales of the Road will highlight some of those stories.