Newfoundland and Labrador’s very own Elvis Presley tribute artist Al Eagle stepped into the spotlight recently to perform in his hometown
Born in the rural town of Parker’s Cove, Albert Murphy, aka Al Eagle, buttoned up one of his signature jumpsuits to perform an Elvis tribute show at the Parker’s Cove 2022 Come Home Year, just in time for The Herald’s annual August tribute to Elvis Presley.
Born and raised in Parker’s Cove, Murphy grew up with a mother who admired Elvis, as many Newfoundlanders did in the 60s, 70s, and even today.
When Elvis died in 1977, his interest in the King of Rock and Roll peaked after seeing his mother cry over the passing of a musical legend. In the same year, when Murphy was only 13-years-old, his own father passed.
With four sisters and seven brothers, most of them were placed into foster homes across the island. Murphy lived with a foster family in Corner Brook where he has vivid memories of the 1979 film Elvis, starring Kurt Russell, airing on the television.
“This movie finally gave me the chance to learn who Elvis really was. Elvis became a father figure to me. When I purchased the soundtrack, I would play the record over and over everyday after school and this had a huge impact on me,” Murphy shared in a one-on-one interview with The Newfoundland Herald.
“Later that year, my school G.C. Rowe was having a talent show. This was my first performance on stage, I sang “Old Shep” and won second place.”
Moving On Up
Murphy eventually moved to Marystown, and although he was very young, his determination found him walking into a club and making it up on stage to perform Blue Suede Shoes with the local band.
This was Murphy’s first time singing with a band, but he went on to perform many shows including a 1994 tribute show with the band Midnight Highway at The Mustang Saloon in Hamilton, Ontario, and his most memorable show Images of the King in Memphis, Tennessee circa 1993.
“People from all over the world loved Elvis. Elvis had something for everybody. He opened the doors to many musicians and different sounds of music,” Murphy shared.
“His hairstyle and clothing stood out from everyone else. His generosity, his faith, and his charisma. Elvis was devoted to his fans, and we loved his music.”
It’s a fact that Elvis was well-known as a fashion icon throughout the years, wearing outlandish attire one day and seeing it become street fashion the next.
If he wasn’t head to toe in black leather, the King wore flashy and eclectic handmade shirts and jumpsuits, topped off with bedazzled belts and jewelery. Any great tribute artist knows you have to embody and embrace the style of said artist, and while Murphy does just that, he also plans on adding his own little Newfoundland touch.
“How I go about choosing what to wear when performing is, once I get my song list completed, I decide which outfit goes with that era to be electrifying on stage. Some of my suits I purchased from a Canadian company, and I’ve put together some outfits on my own,” he explained.
“I did create my own suit called the Golden Aloha suit, and I have ideas for some suits that are cultural here to Newfoundland and Labrador, one being an “iceberg suit.”
No Place Like Home
Murphy, aka Al Eagle, has gone on to make a name for himself and become a familiar face across the province and beyond. After many towns and communities had to postpone Come Home Year due to the pandemic, 2022 Come Home Year across the island is one reunion we’ve all been waiting for.
Not only was Murphy able to return to his hometown to perform a gospel show and an Elvis tribute, it was the first time he was able to visit his childhood home and see much of his family in years.
“When I first walked into my childhood home, it felt as if I never left. It was like a family reunion seeing my sisters, nephews, aunts, and uncles. The gospel show had a lot of old friends there, and it was very emotional at times,” Murphy shared.
“When I did my Elvis Tribute I felt very proud. To perform in front of old friends and family was an honour. I was at ease knowing I was home singing on the ground I’ve walked many times, many years ago. The support was calming. Paying tribute to Elvis for 44 years now, and not stopping anytime soon.”
The mayor of Parker’s Cove, Harold Murphy, reached out to The Newfoundland Herald to show his appreciation for Al Eagle and both his gospel and Elvis performances.
“The Town of Parker’s Cove welcomed many former residents to come join locals in celebrating our Come Home Year activities. One of these former residents was Albert Murphy, aka Al Eagle. He performed Elvis in our Sunday morning gospel hour and at our afternoon car show. Albert had to leave the community as a teenager after his fathers’ sudden death. It was so nice to catch up with him and witness his amazing talent.”
You can visit Al Eagle’s Facebook page for updates, or contact manager Debra Murphy directly for inquiries and bookings at [email protected] or 709-730-9967.