Saturday, July 23, 2016

Boardwalk Elvis

2011 Daily times article

OCEAN CITY -- Norman Webb loves to sing, and he says he'll never stop. He used to ride his bicycle from his home in Showell to Ocean City often, where he would stroll up and down the Boardwalk with a radio perched on his shoulder, belting out tunes by his favorite artist, Elvis Presley.
Hence the nickname "Boardwalk Elvis." It's what people began calling him, and that's how he's known to those who live near the resort or visit often. Webb fostered his reputation by serenading Boardwalk patrons for more than 30 years, he said.
People still see him riding up and down Route 589 on his bicycle, which is adorned with a license plate on the front that says, of course, "Elvis."
Webb turned 72 on July 4, so the commute to the resort isn't one he can easily make on his bike anymore, but it doesn't stop him from occasionally getting out in public and singing a few songs. These days, he simply stays a little closer to home and can be found occasionally at Whiskers Bar & Grill in Ocean Pines.
"I like to go there and sing karaoke," Webb said last week while he worked at The Gazebo, a fresh produce outlet on Racetrack Road where he has been putting in part-time hours for the past six years. When he's not there or traveling on his bike, he spends time at his home doing some gardening on a half-acre plot of land.
Last week, he made an appearance at Whiskers, where he sang Elvis' "All Shook Up," and "Under the Boardwalk" by The Drifters as a sort of homage to the venue where he's had his largest audiences.
Webb still goes into town every year during Springfest and Sunfest with his friend Laura Anderson, The Gazebo's manager.
Around the holiday season, he switches acts. He dresses up in a Santa suit and rides his bicycle around in an effort to spread some cheer.
"He is just really such a great person," Anderson said.
Webb's memory isn't what it used to be, but he still looks back fondly on the time he spent on the Boardwalk, and people in the area certainly still remember and adore him.
One look at the Facebook page "Boardwalk Elvis is Alive," which has more than 660 members, shows the mythical identity Webb has built for himself throughout the years. People post photographs of Boardwalk Elvis sightings, like he's the local Waldo or Carmen San Diego. Even his trips to McDonald's in Ocean Pines attract fanfare.
One man even recently posed the idea of "some kind of recognition" for Webb; he suggested a statue be erected somewhere in his honor.
Webb is well-versed on Elvis, and even once made a trip with his father to Tennessee so they could visit Graceland Mansion. He can't settle on a favorite song by "The King," though.
"I don't know, I love 'em all," he said, and he continues to spread that love to anyone who will listen.
410-213-9442, ext. 14
Age: 72
Hometown: Showell, Md.
Hobbies: Singing, bicycling and gardening
ID_Code: A7201110108020305

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