Elvis Presley is Everywhere

By Ayssa Long We are just past the halfway point of Elvis Week 2015 and I don’t know about you, but I am having the time of my life! Whether you made the trip to Graceland this year, or you are following along at home, this Elvis Week is one for the books. The thing that continues to amaze me is how Elvis is still such an influence in people’s lives and how he can still be found just about anywhere today. He is found in street art. There’s a mural in Downtown Memphis, at the intersection of Gayoso and South 4th Street, that is one of my favorites! It is found just a block off Beale Street and depicts a young Elvis Presley. It’s the perfect place for a picture! I just love how Elvis is still influence artists.   He is found as statues. Another favorite Memphis landmark of mine is the Elvis Statue on Beale Street but this is definitely not the only statue that depicts the likeness of Elvis Presley. There are Elvis statues all over the world! There’s one on Mud Island, another Memphis spot, and one of 13 year old Elvis in Tupelo, Mississippi. There’s one in Shreveport, Louisiana, the home of the famous Louisiana Hayride and another in Honolulu, Hawaii commemorating the world’s first satellite television concert from 1973.   He is found in record stores. We all know that CDs of Elvis’ classics songs are very available, but did you know new Elvis compositions are still being put together and released for fans? It’s true! This October, a new Elvis record will be released, “If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.” Yes, it will be Elvis singing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and it is going to be amazing! One of the most interesting things about this new record is that popular musicians from today had the opportunity to collaborate with Elvis. It’s incredible that he’s still influencing the music world!   He is found with the fans. Pretty much anywhere in the world you can find an Elvis fan sporting an article of clothing with Elvis’ likeness on it. They are wearing their heart on their sleeve… literally. Well, some fans take this a step further! In my time around Graceland, I’ve spotted a few Elvis tattoos. I’ve even known a few fans to name their...
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Touring Elvis Presley’s Graceland Archives

By Alyssa Long Did you know there are over 1.5 million artifacts at Elvis Presley’s Graceland? I had the opportunity to sit down with Angie Marchese, the Director of Archives, and she told me some very interesting stories about Elvis and Graceland that you might not have heard before.   The Samurai Sword   Every once in a while, the archivists who work solely at Graceland will go through each room and catalog every item that is in the room. This helps them maintain the house so that every single guest that steps through the front door is greeting with the same scene Elvis Presley was. Well, on one of these cataloging missions, while they were in the Living Room, Angie opened the top drawer of the cabinet that is located to the right of the fireplace and she saw something she definitely wasn’t expecting. Inside that drawer was a Samurai Sword! She cataloged it, put it back, and it’s still there today.   Christmas Decorations   During the Christmas season, Graceland undergoes a transformation. Angie and her team deck the halls of Graceland with all of Elvis’ Christmas decorations. It’s truly magical to experience the warmth of Graceland at Christmastime. Well, something that makes this even more impressive, is that the entire house is decorated in one night!   Detective Work   The documents and artifacts that are housed in the archives and throughout the exhibits at Graceland are so much more than just items on display. They are sometimes used to find the missing pieces of an Elvis puzzle. For instance, Angie can look at a photograph of Elvis and pretty much determine the exact time the picture was taken based on receipts, schedules, and other documents they have on file. They have everything from gas receipts, which can help determine Elvis’ location at any given time, to jewelry, records, clothing and contracts. This not only helps authenticate certain items, but it also provides a link between certain items and Elvis’ life.   Picture Negatives   Vernon Presley was a very organized man who documented everything. A few years ago, when Angie was going through Vernon’s office, they stumbled upon a small envelope with no writing on it. What she found were negatives of pictures that have never been seen before. They were pictures from 1957 of a 22 year old Elvis signing autographs through the gates of...
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Alyssa’s Favorite Things – Elvis Presley’s Graceland Edition

By Alyssa Long Whether you live right around the corner from Elvis Presley’s Graceland or you’re halfway across the world, you should absolutely bring some Elvis home with you! Luckily, the gift shops at Graceland are stocked with many unique, useful, and oh so cute things for every Elvis fan. Personally, in my home, I have one of the Elvis swinging hip pendulum clocks. It’s always a great conversation starter and a fun way to incorporate some Elvis into my decorating. Here are some other fun items that would be the perfect souvenir to bring home with you:   To Wear: One of the best ways to show the world how much you love Elvis is to wear your heart on your sleeve… literally! At Graceland you can find t-shirts, hats, socks, pants, pretty much any article of clothing, for any Elvis fan! There are even Elvis sunglasses and jewelry to accessorize with. Don’t worry men, there are even replica Elvis jumpsuits that you can bring home with you!   To Read: Over the years, many fans and friends of Elvis have compiled their thoughts, memories, and facts about Elvis in books. These many different books from many different authors, can be found all throughout Graceland. One of my favorite books found at Graceland is Ten Little Elvi. The perfect way to introduce little ones to the King of Rock n Roll. There’s even an Elvis cookbook to help you in the kitchen… which brings me to my next point.   To Eat: Wouldn’t it be great to have a cup of coffee with Elvis? Well, you can have the next best thing with an Elvis Presley coffee mug. There are even some that are personalized. It’s a well-known fact that Elvis loved peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Take that flavor home with you in the form of saltwater taffy! I mean, how yummy do these look?   For Your Home:
 As I mentioned above, I have an Elvis clock. Luckily, there are many different ways to incorporate the King in your home decorating. There is some beautiful artwork to be found at Graceland depicting the man we all know and love, Elvis.   What’s your favorite piece of Elvis swag that you’ve picked up at Graceland or through Shop Graceland? Or is there anything in particular you hope to find while you’re at Graceland for Elvis...
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Elvis Presley’s Tupelo

By Alyssa Long Tupelo, Mississippi, located about an hour outside of Memphis, is where Elvis Presley grew up. Elvis lived in this tiny town until he was 13 years old and his family packed up their car and moved to Memphis, Tennessee. I had the opportunity to visit and it was truly incredible to see the humble beginning Elvis had and how this sleepy town shaped the man he was to become. If you get the opportunity to visit Tupelo, I highly recommend visiting the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum. The house he was born in and lived in during part of his childhood is the main attraction. This tiny two-room home is in the exact location it was in when Elvis lived there. Even though the furniture and things inside are not original to the Presleys, you really get a feel of what it must have been like, although I can’t really imagine living in a two-room house. Notice that I said two rooms… not two bedrooms. It is just a room that was a bedroom/living room and a kitchen… that’s it. It’s pretty crazy to think that when the Presleys moved, they sold all their furniture. I keep thinking about how their furniture is sitting in someone’s home or an antique shop or (I hate to say) has been destroyed, and nobody even knows that it all belonged to Elvis! Beside the house, there is a statue depicting 13 year old Elvis holding his guitar. He was very friendly. The birthplace hosted Fan Appreciation Day on August 8, 2015, and unveiled two new Elvis statues – titled “Becoming” – behind the birthplace’s museum and office. One statues is of a young Elvis holding his guitar, dreaming of what music he’ll make one day, and behind it is a statue is of Elvis in a jumpsuit, arms stretched to the sky. Also found on the grounds is the church Elvis attended while growing up. It was originally located a few blocks away, but they moved it to this location and restored it in 2008. You have the opportunity to go into the church and watch a presentation where they simulate what a church service would have been like when Elvis attended. It’s actually a pretty cool thing to see. You sit down in the pews and screens come down from the two walls on your sides and a screen at the...
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Elvis Presley in Memphis

By Alyssa Long When people think of Memphis, oftentimes the first thing that comes to mind is Elvis Presley’s Graceland. However, the entire city of Memphis played a very important role in Elvis’ life both personally and professionally. Here are some other Memphis places that were significant to Elvis Presley:   Chisca Hotel It was here, in the Chisca Hotel on July 8, 1954, that Elvis Presley was played on the radio for the very first time. Popular disk jockey Dewey Phillips played “That’s All Right” and everything changed. For music, for Memphis, and for Elvis. Today, the Chisca Hotel is undergoing a facelift. While it is still standing, it has been sitting vacant since the 1980s. It is currently in the process of undergoing a major historic renovation and is being converted into apartments, retail, and restaurant space.   Humes High School In 1953, 18-year-old Elvis Presley graduated from Humes High School. Even though he had not officially recorded any music yet, many of his classmates have fond memories of Elvis performing at their annual talent show. Today, this building serves as a middle school, but you can still imagine young Elvis Presley walking in and out of those doors to go to class.   Overton Park Shell At this outdoor theater located in Overton Park, Elvis Presley performed his first official on-stage performance (not counting school talent shows) on July 30, 1954. The Overton Park Shell, Graceland and the Mid-South Coliseum (see below) all have something in common (besides Elvis, that is):  They were designed by the same architect! Today, the Overton Park Shell is known as the Levitt Shell and is still the home of many outdoors concerts.   Audubon Drive Graceland wasn’t Elvis’ only home in Memphis. Before purchasing Graceland, he lived on Audubon Drive with his parents. In 1956, 21-year-old Elvis bought this home after “Hearbreak Hotel” became his first Number 1 song. He lived there with his parents for a little over a year. Today, the house is overseen by the Mike Curb Institute at Rhodes College.   Mid-South Coliseum Exactly 22 years to the day after recording “That’s All Right,” Elvis performed his last concert in Memphis on July 5, 1976 at the Mid-South Coliseum. He gave an incredible performance covering all of this hit songs from his 22-year career, all while wearing a stunning white jumpsuit. Today, the Mid-South Coliseum stands empty and is not open,...
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