Elvis Presley and the Gold Cadillac Tour

Here at Graceland, we understand how thrilling it can feel to get up close and personal with the king’s things. Whether it’s the black leather suit from the ’68 special, the Pink Cadillac, his Grammy Awards or Graceland itself, fans love getting a glimpse of the things Elvis owned, loved and appreciated. And this trend didn’t start in 1982, when Graceland was opened to the public for tours. In 1965 and 1968, Elvis’ gold Cadillac hit the road to promote Elvis. The Cadillac was purchased from Southern Motors, Inc., of Memphis, for $11,064.25 on December 22, 1959 and delivered on December 29, 1959. Elvis put down a deposit of $2,000 for George Barris to customize it in November 1961, and he paid an additional $3,000 for more work in March 1962. Elvis was promoting his latest movie, “Tickle Me,” but his manager, Col. Tom Parker, knew he couldn’t send the very busy King of Rock ‘n’ Roll on the road for a promotional tour. Instead, he and RCA sent the Cadillac on tour in the spring of 1965. Gabe Tucker, driver and tour manager for RCA, helped oversee the project. The Cadillac’s 1965 spring tour made these stops in the Southeast: Rialto Theater, Atlanta, Georgia – May 28 – On display for four days. Estimated attendance: 50,000. Cobb Theater, Atlanta, Georgia – June 4 – Daytime display Estimated attendance: 5,000. Toco Theater, Atlanta, Georgia – June 4 – Evening display. Estimated attendance: 1.500. Lenox Square, Atlanta, Georgia – June 5 – Displayed for one day. Estimated attendance: 27,000. Belvedere Theater, Atlanta, Georgia – June 6 – Displayed for one day. Estimated attendance: 2,000. Dealer Showing, Atlanta, Georgia – June 8-11 – All dealers from the Atlanta region attended the showing. John Lee’s Music Store, Anderson, South Carolina – June 12 – On display for one day. Estimated attendance: 50,000. Broadcasters’ Convention, Calloway, Georgia – June 13 – On display for one day. Station managers and program directors from the area attended the convention to see the car. S&W Music Store, Aniston, Alabama – June 24 – On display for one day; no record of attendance. Eastwood Mall, Birmingham, Alabama – June 25 – On display for two days; no record of attendance. Roebuck Shopping Center, Birmingham, Alabama – June 26 – On display for the evening; no record of attendance. Capri Theater, Birmingham, Alabama – June 27 – On...
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Elvis Presley’s #1 Hits – Part 4

Performing to sold-out crowds of adoring fans. Winning awards and accolades. Topping the charts. Elvis Presley, like so many musicians before and since, had those same dreams – and he accomplished his goals in dazzling, legendary fashion. Elvis didn’t just top the charts once, or even a few times – he did it repeatedly. He scored so many No. 1 hits that we’re on part four of our series about Elvis’ hit singles. Check out part one, part two and part three – and now, on to part four. “Don’t” This you can believe I will never leave you Heaven knows I won’t Baby, don’t say don’t On September 6, 1957, Elvis was at Radio Recorders in Hollywood and was scheduled to record material for a Christmas album. It was September, though, and Elvis wasn’t in the Christmas spirit just yet. Instead he recorded “Don’t,” written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who wrote a slew of Elvis hits such as “Jailhouse Rock,” “Bossa Nova Baby,” “Trouble” and “Treat Me Nice.” Musicians Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana, Bill Black and Dudley Brooks perform on the track. Elvis’ regular back-up vocalist group, The Jordanaires, were teamed up with soprano Millie Kirkham for the first time at this session. “Don’t” was paired with “I Beg of You,” and the single was released in January 1958. The song topped the Billboard pop singles chart for five weeks. It performed well on other charts, too: “Don’t” peaked at No. 2 on the country chart, and it peaked at No. 4 in its 10-week run on the R&B chart. The track hit No. 2 on Britain’s pop singles chart, and it stayed on the charts for 11 weeks. “Hard Headed Woman” I got a woman, a head like a rock. If she ever went away I’d cry around the clock. Oh yeah, ever since the world began a hard headed woman been a thorn in the side of man. This hit single is from the “King Creole” soundtrack. It was written by Claude DeMetrius, and Elvis recorded it on January 15, 1958 – just a few days following his 23rd birthday – at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. Elvis had already received his military draft notice, but was allowed a deferment on his induction date to have time to make “King Creole,” since Paramount had already spent a lot of pre-production money on the movie. Elvis...
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55 Years of “Girls! Girls! Girls!”

“The Swingin’-est ELVIS + Girls (Girls Girls) + Songs (Lots of Them) – Who Could Ask for Anything More?” That’s what the poster says for Elvis’ 1962 hit musical, “Girls! Girls! Girls!” – and the movie certainly delivered on that promise. Hawaii became a state in 1959, and Elvis was quick to celebrate the lovely state with “Blue Hawaii” in 1961 and “Girls! Girls Girls!” in 1962, followed by “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” in ’66. “Girls! Girls! Girls” was released nationally on November 21, 1962 –  making this year its 55th anniversary. A few of the working titles for this movie include “A Girl in Every Port,” “Welcome Aboard” and “Gumbo Ya-Ya.” Elvis stars in the film alongside Laurel Goodwin, Stella Stevens and Jeremy Slate. Elvis stars as Ross Carpenter, a sailor and Hawaiian fishing guide. He wants to buy a boat, but his plans slow down when he becomes involved with both Robin (Stella Stevens), a young singer, and the sweet-natured Laurel (Laurel Goodwin). His romantic rival, Wesley (Jeremy Slate), owns the boat he wants – and he’s chasing Laurel, too. Jeremy Slate also had a role in “G.I. Blues.” Stella Stevens was, like Elvis, a Mississippi native. She got her start in modeling and acting after moving to Memphis to go to college. Laurel Goodwin shared her memories of working with Elvis at Elvis Week 2017. Robert Strauss, who stars in “Girls! Girls! Girls!” as Sam, appears in another Elvis film, “Frankie and Johnny.” The three Ling children were played by siblings Ginny Tiu, Elizabeth Tiu and Alexander Tiu. Another sibling, Vicky Tiu, also starred with Elvis in “It Happened at the World’s Fair.” As with many of his films, you can spot Elvis’ friends and band members in the background. Legendary drummer Hal Blaine, who played on many of Elvis’ hits, is in the film as – of course – a drummer in the lounge band. Elvis’ stand-in, Lance Le Gault, plays the bass in the band. And Allan Fortas can be spotted catching a fish, while Red West plays guitar on a fishing boat.   One of Elvis’ least favorite tunes on the soundtrack was “Song of the Shrimp.” But it was Col. Tom Parker who found one of the most famous songs on the soundtrack – “Return to Sender” – which is still an Elvis fan favorite. When he wasn’t on the set, Elvis could often be...
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‘Jailhouse Rock’ – The Trivia Game

Just last week, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of one of the most iconic moments in Elvis’ long, legendary career: “Jailhouse Rock.” We’re keeping the festivities going this week with a “Jailhouse Rock” trivia game. How well do you know the movie? Find out if you’ll be dancing to the jailhouse rock or if you’ll be sentenced to a year in jail (just kidding). If you love playing Elvis trivia games, check out these games on the Graceland Blog: Get an A in Elvis Elvis’ 1957 Elvis 101 Graceland Trivia Elvis’ 1956 Elvis’ Television...
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Flippy, Real Flippy: ‘Jailhouse Rock’ at 60

One of Elvis’ earliest and most prolific pop culture-changing moments happened 60 years ago this month: “Jailhouse Rock” was released on November 8, 1957. “Jailhouse Rock” was Elvis’ third movie, but thanks to the electrifying dance scene, Elvis’ leading man status and the iconic inmate costume, the film is one of the most famous Presley pictures. It’s more than a highlight of time in the movie business; it’s one of the most well-known and beloved moments of his entire career. In “Jailhouse Rock,” Elvis stars as Vince Everett, a construction worker who is sentenced to jail after accidentally killing a man in a bar fight. After his release from prison, Vince becomes a singing sensation, thanks to his country star cellmate, Hunk (Mickey Shaughnessy) and Peggy (Judy Tyler) who helps manage his career. Elvis plays the part well, taking Vince from a young man with a hot temper to a rebellious rock star. Fans still swoon at Elvis’ most famous lines from the movie, like “It ain’t tactics honey – it’s just the beast in me.” The famous dance scene is often considered the first “music video.” Choreographer Alex Romero had originally planned for the scene to be full of smooth, Fred Astair-type dancing, but of course, Elvis is Elvis – not Fred Astair. He asked Elvis to perform a few songs as if he was performing on stage at a concert. After watching Elvis’ natural dance moves, he redesigned the entire number. That dance sequence would impact the film in more ways than one. While filming the number, Elvis aspirated a cap off one of his teeth, and it lodged in his lung. He was hospitalized, and his doctor had to part his vocal cords to retrieve it from his lung. Thankfully, Elvis’ golden voice was not harmed, but the incident did influence the movie – that’s why Vince suffers a throat injury toward the end of the film. Elvis was released from the hospital in California the same day as his parents moved into their new home: Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. When filming wrapped, Elvis boarded a train for Memphis. He was excited to see Graceland, so he left the train in Louisiana and rented a car to drive the rest of the way to Memphis. He spent his first night at Graceland on June 26, 1957. Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” co-star Judy Tyler was killed in a...
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