Elvis Week – Through Fans’ Eyes

We’re still feeling that Elvis Week magic here at Elvis Presley’s Graceland! Elvis fans are, too – you can see it in the Elvis Week social media posts. Check out a few of these awesome fan photos from Elvis Week 2018, and mark your calendar for August 10-18, 2019 – that’s Elvis Week 2019! (and remember – you can book your special Elvis Week 2019 stay at The Guest House at Graceland now and save with our special Early Bird rate. This deal ends on Tuesday, September 4, so book now!) Elvis Week Events It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of Elvis Week events and forget to snap the perfect photo or selfie. Luckily, these fans kept their phones handy for a quick shot!         At the King’s Castle There is no better time to tour Graceland than during Elvis Week. These fans took advantage of the week to snap some great selfies in and outside the mansion.         At the Graceland Gates and Wall Another iconic location for the ultimate Elvis Week selfie is Graceland’s gates and the wall, which is full of lovely messages to Elvis from fans worldwide.   And finally, we love the creativity and the message here… Check out Elvis Week photos now at the Graceland.com photo gallery. Share some of your favorite Elvis Week memories in the...
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Elvis Week Blog 10 – Elvis Week 2018 Wrap Up

BY JON WATERHOUSE They don’t make the appropriate adjectives to describe the phenomenon that’s Elvis Week. To quote the 1973 Elvis tune, “it’s just impossible.” Still I’ll attempt to take care of blogging business by providing a snapshot of the 2018 edition’s greatest hits. This year’s installment came loaded with amazing musical performances, revealing live interviews, eye-widening surprises, fan fellowship and more with Elvis Presley as the unbreakable common thread. Candlelight Vigil   Nothing speaks to Elvis’ enduring and continuing impact on the world like this annual procession of fans. On Aug. 15, the eve of the anniversary of his passing, the Elvis Week tradition continued. Thousands of fans with candles in hand made their way up Graceland’s winding driveway to pay their respects at Elvis’ gravesite. Listening Party for “Where No One Stands Alone” Album Release The acclaimed new Elvis album –a contemporary reimagining of Elvis gospel songs with new instrumentation, arrangements and background vocals– received the ultimate kick-off event. Co-producers Lisa Marie Presley, Andy Childs and Joel Weinshanker, along with Sony Music’s John Jackson, treated fans to a behind-the-scenes look at the album’s creation. Darlene Love For the first time at Elvis Week, this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer gave fans the gift of an exclusive live performance peppered with her own Elvis memories. Her set featured Love classics, her own take on Elvis songs and music she recorded with Presley himself. The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley Concert Several of Elvis’ back-up vocalists (Elvis’ Imperials and former members of J.D. Sumner and The Stamps Quartet) brought Presley’s favorite genre to life on the Graceland Soundstage. The show’s finale featured both groups along with Andy Childs recreating the latest version of Elvis’ “How Great Thou Art,” a highlight on the “Where No One Stands Alone” album. The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Some of the top Elvis tribute artists from around the world battled it out for the premier title. Ben Thompson of London, England took home the win, which includes an Elvis Presley Enterprises performance contract and a cash prize of $20,000. Fun fact: Thompson can be seen as Elvis in the 2017 sci-fi blockbuster “Blade Runner 2049.” The Live Interviews Elvis Week onstage hosts Tom Brown, DJ Argo and Andy Childs wrangled live conversations with a wide variety of Elvis world luminaries. Among the highlights: “’68 Special” director Steve Binder, music legend Darlene Love,...
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Elvis Week Blog 9 – Elvis and Ronnie Tutt: Back in the Building

BY JON WATERHOUSE Elvis Week Brunch with Ronnie Tutt From the late 1960s until the end of his career, Elvis’ live performances had an undeniable pulse. Certainly, Presley himself provided the electrical force emanating from the stage. The tangible heartbeat of the music came courtesy of drummer Ronnie Tutt. Like D.J. Fontana before him, Tutt’s rhythmic skill not only provided the essential backbone for Elvis’ live sets, but his percussive instincts often deftly accentuated Presley’s improvisational movements. In turn, Tutt’s powerful drumming would fuel and inspire Elvis to physically intensify his performances and dynamically pull back the reigns when needed. Tutt’s tenure in the TCB Band inspired fans to attend yesterday’s sold-out Elvis Week Brunch at the Guest House. Attendees noshed on a southern-centric buffet, but the event’s headlining entree was Tutt himself. The acclaimed drummer engaged in an extended chat with host Tom Brown, musing on his eight-year stint of recording and sharing the stage with Elvis. “(His stories) are so heartfelt,” said Shantay Wood of Memphis, a brunch attendee. “You can see him thinking and delving deep into his memory and his heart to share that with the fans. …He still has that deep appreciation for Elvis. ..It’s like that continual love affair all of us fans have with Elvis, but Ronnie’s is so much deeper.” Tutt’s connection with Presley had a life beyond the stage, a personal bond Elvis forged with his bandmates and their own respective loved ones. “He was very respectful to our families family when we’d bring (them around),” said Tutt, who recalled Elvis once taking time to make a Christmas phone call to Tutt’s mother. “(Family) meant a lot to him. …We became part of his family.” The drummer shared a humorous 1970s-era story of an encounter between Elvis and his then 5-year-old son Ron Jr. According to Tutt, his son gave Presley an honest critique of a Las Vegas performance. “You stood in front of my daddy the whole show, and I couldn’t see him.” The recollections continued, and afterward Tutt made his way to a ballroom table where he signed autographs for Wood and a long line of other fans. This included three generations of the Cooper family from Queensland, Australia, and 13-year-old Nate Pieper of Forth Worth, Texas. “He always put out such positive energy,” said Pieper, who counts Tutt as one of his favorite TCB band members. Elvis...
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Elvis Week Blog 8 – Graceland Museum Magic and Five Food Finds

BY JON WATERHOUSE A Quintet of Museum Magic Even if you’re visiting Graceland for the first time or the 50th, the museums’ eye candy never fails to delight. Thanks to the handy work of the Graceland archives department and their vast well of material, new items and fresh exhibits roll out frequently. Yesterday, I made sure to explore the memorabilia on view in the latest exhibits Lisa Marie: Growing Up Presley and Where No One Stands Alone: The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley. The exhibits can be found in the Fashion King and the Elvis: The Entertainer career museums, respectively. Harley Davidson Golf Cart Lisa Marie Presley was riding a Harley before she was old enough to drive. No, she wasn’t rumbling on a hog, but rather this baby blue golf cart, which Elvis gave her in December 1976. She used it to zip around the Graceland grounds. When visiting the Trophy Room on the mansion tour, keep an eye out for a display of the golf cart’s key and its jumbo keychain with LISA emblazoned upon it. Where to find: Lisa Marie: Growing Up Presley White Faux Fur Coat and Family Album At the tender age of 2, Lisa Marie wore this tiny faux fur coat to protect her from Memphis’ wintry chill. The archivists pair the outwear with a family photo album found in Elvis’ desk drawer. Where to find: Lisa Marie: Growing Up Presley Grammy Awards Elvis’ trio of Grammys, each awarded for gospel recordings, have an appropriate home in the Where No One Stands Alone: The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley exhibit. Won by Elvis in 1967, 1972 and 1974, the trophies’ gold shimmer practically illuminate them from behind the glass. Where to find: Elvis: The Entertainer Bible Also in the gospel exhibit, this 1964 Christmas gift given to Elvis by his entourage, rests on display next to several other spiritually-minded items from Presley’s personal collection. Look closely at the Bible pages for Elvis’ handwritten notes. Where to find: Elvis: The Entertainer The Memphis Suit The multicolored bling on this bold, white jumpsuit commands attention. Thanks to its individual display case, visitors can get up close and personal, and check out the suit’s detail. The king wore this IC Costume Company creation at his March 1974 concert at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis. A recording of the show was immortalized on the album “Elvis Recorded...
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Elvis Week Blog 7 – Front Row at the ’68 Special 50th Anniversary Celebration

BY JON WATERHOUSE Die-hards know every note, every scene, every subtle nuance of the landmark 1968 “Elvis” NBC television special. The beloved show –known as the “’68 Comeback Special” in fan speak– captures Presley arguably at his peak. Sleek and inspired, raw and reinvigorated. How could it possibly get any better? It happened last night at the ’68 Special 50th Anniversary Celebration. The audience at the Graceland Soundstage witnessed what will go down as one of the most unique and moving multimedia presentations in Elvis Week history. Taking place in tandem with other screenings throughout the country on August 16, the Elvis Week show provided an exclusive happening. Event producer Andy Childs and a team of creatives infused a screening of the TV program’s original 90-minute version with a living, breathing documentary of sorts. Live behind-the-scenes recollections, musical enhancements, and Elvis’ original iconic costumes came together, taking the “’68 Special” experience to uncharted territory. Historic in nature, pivotal in Presley’s career trajectory, and still relevant today, “’68 Special” marked Elvis’ return to TV and performing in front of a live audience. It resulted in what many call one of Presley’s most passionate performances. Projected on the big screen with vintage commercials and the show’s original NBC introduction, the presentation gave the already larger-than-life musical film the appropriate size and scope. The Introductions Throughout the evening, some of the key players of the original broadcast took the stage. Producer-director Steve Binder, musical director Billy Goldenberg, and writer Allan Blye shared their own candid memories before introducing specific scenes. Dancer Tanya Lemani, who portrays the belly dancer in the “Little Egypt” scene, made a surprise appearance, dancing while donning a costume similar to what she wore 50 years earlier. Prerecorded reflections from Priscilla Presley, Elvis confidant and collaborator Jerry Schilling, songwriter Mac Davis and the late D.J. Fontana added even more perspective. The Costumes For the first time, Elvis’ trademark costumes from the original program, including that unmistakable black leather suit, were displayed onstage during a “’68 Special” screening. This unannounced element of the show took its own share of logistical preparation. According to Angie Marchese, vice president of archives and exhibits for Elvis Presley Enterprises, event producer Andy Childs proposed the concept, asking her blessing. “I thought it was an amazing idea. I told him, ‘I wouldn’t do this for anybody but you and Elvis,'” she said with a laugh....
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