Blue Suede Blues opens in 1954, when sixteen-year-old Eddie “Junior” Paxton, new to Memphis and an aspiring blues guitarist, meets his look-alike. The more he sees and talks to his “twin,” a young man named Elvis, who’s a few years older, the more he’s intrigued by him. Eddie doesn’t realize history is in the making when he spots the young man enter a recording studio and then attends the up-and-coming singer’s concert. Eddie and Elvis strike up a friendship while Elvis is still a regular guy about town. Eddie feels a special kinship toward Elvis throughout the years, even though Elvis is no longer accessible. The striking resemblance to the King of Rock and Roll is both a blessing and a curse: Eddie attracts more girls than he can handle and uses his looks to his advantage, but isn’t always taken seriously as a musician. He struggles to have a musical career and often finds himself living in the shadow of the performer he admires most.
The events in Blue Suede Blues span the twenty-three years of Presley’s career, with each chapter named after one of his songs. The narrative addresses historical events, including the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King’s assassination, and, of course, Elvis’s passing in 1977, and is told through first-person narration.
Elvis appears as a character in the early chapters and is referred to or makes cameos in dreams or as a ghost in later ones. Blue Suede Blues examines how looks can be deceiving and, in Elvis’s own words, how “the image is one thing and the human being is another.”