“You’re gonna regret, ‘cause I’m the best that’s ever been…”
In my years of going to the Disneyland Resort, things have changed and things have remained the same. People have moved on and people have stayed. And of those that moved on, some were by choice and some were not.
One I somehow never expected to move on – and especially without a say in the matter – was Billy Hill.
Now, since all the brothers in Billy Hill and the Hillbillies are named Billy, folks had to figure a way to distinguish the Billies. And in this case, I’m talking about the very loved and very much missed “Elvis Billy”.
When it was announced that this popular group with more than two decades of park performances to their credit was being retired by the Resort in January 2014, there was a strong outcry from fans. But, sadly, it was not enough to save the show.
And while I miss the various amazingly musically talented members of the group in all their countrified glory, it is Elvis Billy I do miss the most, as to me he was always the heart of the show as well as being its star.
As far as I’m concerned, this guy can be counted among the greatest Disney performers ever – he’s simply a fantastic all-around entertainer.
He was the king of silly faces, comedic timing, audience interaction and equally was impressive at each instrument he played.
He could work the crowd and respond with humor to any backtalk – which his own jokes seemed to invite.
He was an old-school performer – full of spontaneity and skill. The kind that not only don’t they make any more, but in this oh-so-careful, oh-so-PC world, wouldn’t even be encouraged any more.
But the fans adored his special combination of self-deprecating and snarky humor along with his showmanship, coupled with a terrific musical talent. And the loss of this guy performing at the Disneyland Park was a deep one for both the quality and variety of park entertainment and for the Disney park guests who can no longer enjoy his frantic and fun antics there.
Such guests, however, might be well served to take a little trip to a nearby Berry Farm some weekend, where they might appreciate checking out a group called Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies – as I hear they put on quite a memorable show!
Was he your favorite performer?