Elvis Presley’s Police

If Elvis had not grown up to be the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, there’s a chance he would have been a police officer. As the world’s most recognizable celebrity, Elvis needed security almost all the time, so he spent plenty of time, and became friends with, the officers who ensured his safety. In honor of Peace Officer Memorial Day (May 15, 2015) and Police Week, we’re looking at Elvis’ fascination with police work and his friendships with officers. Elvis always had a deep respect for law enforcement.  As a teenager living at Lauderdale Courts in Memphis, he’d hang out at Fire Station #4, across the street from the Suzore Theater on Main Street. The firemen remember Elvis hanging around, often with his guitar. After he graduated from high school, Elvis saw a lot of his classmates become firefighters and officers, so their friendships carried over. He was fascinated with police work and respected the officers for their service. “I don’t care where he was, whenever he saw the police, Elvis always stopped and talked to them,” said Memphis patrolman Jim Hammers. ”He would drive up beside them in the street and get them to pull over. He would spend hours at a time talking with them in different places.” Elvis also often stopped by police stations late at night and on holidays to visit the officers who were serving the public instead of spending time with their families. One night, Elvis came up on a traffic accident and got out to help the cops direct traffic. It worked well for a while, until fans started noticing it was the one and only Elvis Presley who was directing traffic. He made friends with officers wherever he traveled, and he loved collecting badges from across the country. He often donated to Police Associations and departments across the nation. As a Memphis resident, he was especially close with Memphis Police and Shelby County Sheriff’s departments. Elvis purchased equipment and uniforms for the Memphis Police Department’s softball team. At Christmas, he gave $100 to the Memphis patrolmen who were working in the Whitehaven neighborhood, where Graceland is located. He gave a Mercedes Benz to then-Shelby County Sheriff Bill Morris, who was a close friend. Morris was the man who nominated Elvis as one of the Jaycees’ Ten Outstanding Young Men awards, the only award Elvis ever personally accepted. Morris also deputized Elvis as a member of the...
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A Mother’s Day Tribute: Gladys Presley

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10, so we’re celebrating the woman who gave her son to the world. Without Gladys Presley, we wouldn’t have Elvis Presley. Gladys’ best-known trait is right there in her name: Love. She was born Gladys Love Smith on April 25, 1912, in Pontotoc County, Mississippi – about 15 miles outside of Tupelo. She was one of nine children, and she loved to play basketball, dance and listen to music. As a young girl, she worked on farms to help her family make ends meet. She later began working at a garment factory as a sewing machine operator. It was in East Tupelo that she met her future husband, Vernon, at church. They quickly fell in love, and their courtship was brief – so they eloped. Vernon was just 17. Gladys was 21. On their marriage license, Vernon claimed he was 22, and Gladys said she was 19. The couple were married on June 17, 1933, by a circuit clerk. The Presleys were terribly poor during much of their marriage, but love kept them together and happy. They welcomed their son, Elvis, on January 8, 1935, but also mourned the death of his twin, Jesse, who was stillborn. Gladys couldn’t have any more children, so she was fiercely protective of her only son. Elvis’ childhood friends have recalled that Gladys was a sweet mama bear, doting on Elvis, welcoming his friends into their home, but also making sure they all stayed safe and didn’t get into trouble. After the Presleys moved to Memphis in November 1948, Gladys continued to work. Her jobs included working as a nurse’s aid at St. Joseph’s Hospital and working at Britling’s Cafeteria. Elvis wanted to give his mother, who’d given him so much, a better life. He purchased their first home on Audubon Drive, a year before purchasing Graceland. And of course, after he purchased Graceland, he welcomed his parents in with open arms. Gladys lived at Graceland until her death in 1958, which broke her son’s heart. But Gladys’ impact on her son was lifelong. He was loving and protective of his own daughter, Lisa. He loved the same music Gladys loved and recorded some of her favorite songs. He shared his love of music with the world, the way she shared her love of music with her son. Many fans may think of Graceland as the home of a rock star, but...
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The Top Reasons to Attend Elvis Week

Elvis Week 2015 is only about three months away… Are you ready? Elvis Week is a weeklong celebration of everything Elvis here at Graceland in Memphis. It’s an incredible week full of music, fun and, of course, Elvis. Whether you’ve been multiple times or this is your first time, you’ll have an unforgettable experience at Elvis Week. Why should you make the trek to Memphis for Elvis Week 2015? We’re glad you asked.   The Best Elvis Week Hosts Tom Brown returns to host several events at this year’s Elvis Week! Check out his favorite Elvis Week memories in the video clip below.     It’s All About Elvis   If Elvis is your everything, get your Elvis fix at Elvis Week. Elvis Week is the place to meet fellow Elvis fans, play Elvis games, see Elvis movies, stock up on Elvis swag, attend Elvis-inspired concerts, tour Elvis’ home and celebrate everything Elvis. The life and legacy of the one and only King of Rock ‘n’ Roll can only truly be celebrated in Memphis at Graceland.   Special Elvis Guests   Elvis Week gives fans an often once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear from Elvis’ friends, co-stars and fellow musicians. This year’s guests include Diane McBain, who dazzled on the big screen with Elvis in “Spinout.” During Elvis Week, we’ll screen the film and Diane will talk about making the movie with Elvis. Producer and pianist Tony Brown, who shared the stage and recording studio with Elvis during the 1970s, will remember Elvis during the Fan Club Presidents’ Event, and musicians David Briggs and Norbert Putnam will talk about recording with Elvis, too. Additional special guests include Terry Mike Jeffrey, former members of JD Sumner and the Stamps Quartet and more. Visit Graceland.com for a list of special guests. More will be announced soon!   Tour New Exhibits at Graceland   There’s always something new to discover at Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Our two latest exhibits are “I Shot Elvis” and “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” at 45 Years. The photography exhibit, “I Shot Elvis,” showcases iconic photos of Elvis and the photographers who shot them. The exhibit also features related artifacts, such as clothes worn in the photo. You can even take a selfie with Elvis at this exhibit! The new VIP exhibit, “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” at 45 Years, celebrates the anniversary of the fan-favorite documentary. Jumpsuits, photos and more...
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Hit the Jackpot: Elvis Presley and Las Vegas Trivia Game

Viva Las Vegas! This week we celebrate the grand opening of ELVIS: The Exhibition, Elvis Experience and the Elvis Presley’s Wedding Chapel at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. The expansive, permanent exhibition features hundreds of artifacts never displayed outside of Graceland. The chapel offers couples the chance to celebrate Elvis and their love as they get married or renew their vows. The first show in the newly renamed and renovated Elvis Presley Theater is “Elvis Experience,” which recreates one of Elvis’ incredible concerts from his time at the International – now the Westgate. Think you know everything about Elvis and Vegas? Try your hand at our Elvis trivia game! But before you test your knowledge, don’t forget to book your tickets to ELVIS: The Exhibition and Elvis Experience, and plan to tie the knot in the Elvis Presley’s Graceland Wedding Chapel! You’ll test your knowledge of song lyrics, film trivia and other facts about the king of rock and roll and his music performances in Las Vegas. Take the ten-question Elvis trivia quiz below and see how many questions you can answer...
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Elvis Presley and Record Store Day

This Saturday, April 18, is Record Store Day, and this one will be the most Elvis one yet. Record Store Day celebrates everything about independent record stores – the customers, the owners, the musicians – and vinyl records. The movement has grown so much since its inception in 2007 that now thousands of record stores across the world participate. Artists plan new or special, limited releases that are available at participating stores for that day only (and those releases are often in very limited quantity). Of course, Elvis Presley and records go hand-in-hand, so Record Store Day is an excellent way to celebrate the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Elvis’ own personal record collection included thousands of records from all sorts of genres of music. He loved rock ‘n’ roll, soul, country and gospel. His collection includes Tom Jones, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and many, many more. He had an impressive collection of gospel records by artists such as The Blackwood Brothers, The Stamps Quartet, The Statesmen Quartet and Mahalia Jackson. He also had copies of his own tunes. You can see part of his record collection in the TV Room at Graceland. What Elvis didn’t keep, however, was the first music he ever recorded at the Memphis Recording Service, home to Sun Records. He recorded “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin,” and took the 78 rpm acetate of those songs to the home of his friend Ed Leek, who owned a record player. He left the acetate with Leek, and Leek’s family had it included in the Auction at Graceland on January 8, 2015. Renowned musician Jack White purchased the acetate, known as rock ‘n’ roll’s “holy grail,” for more than a quarter of a million dollars at the auction. White, known for his solo work and his bands The White Stripes, The Dead Weather and The Raconteurs, has his own label and record store, Third Man Records, in Nashville. Third Man is dedicated to preserving vinyl while also pushing the limits of the medium; they’ve released all kinds of unusual and unprecedented types of vinyl records, including a Triple Decker Record (a 7″ within a 12″), a Rose-Petal Filled Record, Liquid Filled Record and a Scented Record. White took the record to Alan Stoker, curator of Recorded Sound Collections at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (and he’s the son of Jordanaires member Gordon Stoker). Stoker carefully made a...
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