The Official Blog of Graceland

Welcome to the official blog of Elvis Presley’s Graceland! You can take Elvis-inspired quizzes, get first-looks on events here at Graceland and how-to guides on everything you need to know about Elvis and his home. Like Elvis, we come with a little southern charm!

Elvis Presley’s Guitars

It’s hard to picture Elvis Presley without a guitar in his hand. From his iconic first album cover to his many movies, from the ’68 Special to “Aloha from Hawaii,” from Graceland to Vegas, Elvis always had a guitar nearby, and he was always ready to play. He enjoyed playing both the guitar and bass guitar. Elvis received his first guitar when he was 11, and for many years, that was his only guitar. But as he grew older – and eventually became the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll – he started collecting guitars, and many of them are part of pop culture history. Here are a few of the guitars made famous by the king.   1955 Martin D-28   Elvis used a 1942 Martin D-18 in 1954-55, until he traded it in for the newer D-28 in 1955 at O.K. Houck Piano Co. in Memphis, and he used it for a little over a year. Elvis often purchased his instruments from that store. This guitar is the one Elvis is playing on the cover of his first album. It’s also well-known for its gorgeous leather cover, handmade by an employee at the music store where Elvis purchased the guitar.   1956 Gibson J200   This guitar definitely looks like it belongs to a member of rock ‘n’ roll royalty. Elvis loved this guitar and used it often. He used it in many of his 1957 concerts and appearances. After returning home from the Army, he asked his guitarist Scotty Moore to send the well-worn guitar out to be refurbished. The work wasn’t done in time for Elvis’ March 20 recording session in Nashville, so he was given a brand-new 1960 J200 that looked almost identical. Meanwhile, the 1956 model got a beautiful facelift: Gibson replaced the red pick guard with a new black one, and Elvis’ name was inlaid on the finger board. The stylish new guitar was debuted in publicity shots for “Wild in the Country” and can be seen in “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is.” He loved the 1960 J200, too, so he kept it. He used it in the ’68 Special and many live performances. These guitars were favorites of the king. They’re both part of the permanent archival collection at Graceland. See the 1956 guitar on display now at Elvis at The O2 in London (which closes on January 10, 2016!).   Fender Precision...
read more

Elvis Presley’s Graceland – Top 15 Moments of 2015

Wow – where did the year go? It seems like yesterday we were celebrating Elvis Presley’s 80th birthday, and now we’re just a few weeks from the 2016 Elvis Birthday Celebration. 2015 was a busy year here at Graceland, full of many special and unforgettable moments. From new music to new exhibits, from Elvis’ birthday to Elvis Week, 2015 gave us many reasons to celebrate. Stroll down memory lane with us as we look back at our top 15 moments of 2015. Elvis Turns 80   We kicked off 2015 with the Elvis Birthday Celebration. The Presley family celebrated at the Elvis Birthday Proclamation Ceremony, where Lisa and Priscilla cut Elvis’ beautiful birthday cake. The festivities continued with the Official Graceland Insiders Reception, Fan Club Presidents’ Event and screenings of “Jailhouse Rock” and “Viva Las Vegas.” Elvis’ First Acetate   Elvis’ very first acetate went on the auction block at the Auction at Graceland in January. The winning bidder was none other than award-winning musician, songwriter and producer Jack White, who, through his Third Man Records label, reissued copies of the acetate for Record Store Day on April 18 (the acetate was also put on display at Third Man Records in Nashville for Record Store Day only). It was just announced that the acetate reissue’s packaging – which also an exact copy of the original packaging – is nominated for a Grammy for Best Recording Package. Graceland: World’s Best Music Attraction   In summer 2015, Graceland was voted # 1 in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice contest for World’s Best Musical Attraction from a field of iconic music-themed landmarks. USA Today readers were asked to cast their online ballot for their favorite global music attraction from a pool of 20 museums, historic studios and epic record stores – and the king’s castle was voted as the world’s must-see. As the king himself would say, “Thank you, thank you very much.” Graceland was also named Best Southern Historic Attraction in this year’s 10Best Readers’ Choice. Elvis Commemorative “Forever” Stamp   In 1993, the first Elvis commemorative stamp was released, and it became the best-selling commemorative U.S. stamp of all time. In 2015, Elvis was honored with a second U.S. commemorative stamp – a very rare honor. The Elvis Forever stamp is part of the United States Postal Service’s Music Icons series. The stamp was officially released with a ceremony at Graceland during Elvis...
read more

Memphis Jones’ Favorite Things to Do at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

There’s a tour of Elvis Presley’s Graceland… and then there’s a Memphis Jones tour of Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Memphis Jones loves Elvis and Graceland, and he sees the king’s castle like no one else. Even when he’s not hosting one of our online videos for Elvis Week or any of our other special events, he loves visiting Graceland, where he can soak up even more Elvis knowledge and meet Elvis fans from across the globe. Memphis isn’t an official tour guide here at Graceland – we have our award-winning iPad tours narrated by John Stamos for that – but we asked Memphis to give fans his own tour of Graceland. Check out his Favorite Things to Do at Graceland video below, and follow Memphis on Facebook and Twitter.     Experience Graceland for yourself! Book your visit...
read more

The Chairman and The King: Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley

When the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll returned from his stint in the Army, he was welcomed home by none other than the Chairman of the Board. Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, two of the most beloved and respected artists in music, teamed up for a television special back in 1960, and the show resulted in a truly unique and special duet. In celebration of Sinatra’s 100th birthday on Saturday, December 12, let’s look at this historic “Welcome Home Elvis” special. It was announced in July 1959 that Elvis would appear on Frank Sinatra’s variety TV show upon his release from the Army. He didn’t have to wait long: He was released on March 5 and returned home to Graceland on March 8, and the show was taped on March 26. “The Frank Sinatra Timex Show” – the variety show was sponsored by Timex –  was filmed at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, Florida. Elvis traveled to Miami on March 21, and rehearsed for several days before the March 26 taping. He shared the stage with, of course, Sinatra, as well as his daughter, Nancy, who would later become his co-star in “Speedway” in 1968. Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford were also special guests. On the show, Elvis performed “Stuck on You” and “Fame and Fortune,” the two sides of his first post-Army single. Jazz and rock ‘n’ roll collided when Frank Sinatra and Elvis sang a mash-up of their hit singles, “Witchcraft” and “Love Me Tender,” respectively. Sinatra sang “Love Me Tender,” while Elvis crooned “Witchcraft.” It’s so interesting to see these two great singers offer such different versions of each other’s greatest hits. See this duet in the video below. Elvis was paid $125,000 for this show, an unheard of amount in the entertainment industry in 1960. The special aired on May 12, 1960 with high ratings, drawing an impressive 41.5 percent of the American viewing audience that evening. While Elvis and Sinatra never worked together again, they often kept in touch over the years. Sinatra let Elvis and Priscilla borrow his private jet in 1967 to go from Palm Springs to Las Vegas to get married, and travel back to Palm Springs for their honeymoon. Elvis’ personal record collection here at Graceland contains many Sinatra records, and, of course, both men sang powerful versions of “My Way.” Want to learn more about the King of...
read more

Elvis Presley, the Musician

Elvis Presley built a legendary career around his unforgettable voice, but it wasn’t his only instrument. What instruments did Elvis play? He played guitar, bass and piano, and often toyed with instruments like the drums, accordion and ukulele. While he couldn’t read or write music and had no formal lessons, he was a natural musician and played everything by ear. He could often hear a song, pick up an instrument, and play. He often played an instrument in his recordings, and always produced his own music. Elvis was simply born to create music and he was always learning new ways to do it. Endlessly creative, Elvis often jumped at the chance to play around and practice with whatever musical instruments were available. Elvis famously picked up a guitar as an 11-year-old in Tupelo, when his mother, Gladys, purchased a guitar for him for his birthday from Tupelo Hardware. He used that guitar all through high school, and even in his early career.  He owned many more, and much nicer, guitars during his career, and used many prop guitars in his movies. The guitar is the instrument most associated with Elvis, and while he was a good player, he wasn’t a virtuoso. But what may be more important than that was the whole appearance: Elvis, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, always looked even cooler with his guitar in hand. He influenced many young fans to pick up a guitar, just like he did. If it wasn’t for Elvis and his guitar, we probably wouldn’t have The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen and many, many more. Speaking of guitars, Elvis played bass, too. On May 3, 1957, Elvis and his band were working on a soundtrack session for “Jailhouse Rock.” Bill Black had a difficult time laying down the bass line for “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care” on his new electric bass, and he eventually gave up, frustrated. Elvis surprised everyone by picking up the bass and playing the part – so perfect that Jerry Lieber performed a scratch vocal, and the two recorded the perfect instrumental master for Elvis to sing a new vocal track over. When The Beatles visited Elvis in California in 1965, they all jammed, with Elvis on bass. “He had a massive amplifier with a bass plugged into it, and he was up playing bass all the time…” John Lennon later recalled. “So we just...
read more

Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Elvis Fans 2015

Merry Christmas, baby – the holidays are here! Shop Graceland has a variety of Elvis and Graceland gifts that are perfect for the Elvis fan on your list. Many items at the shop are Graceland Exclusives, and there’s nothing better than getting a gift directly from the king’s castle. Happy shopping! 10) Women’s Elvis Tupelo Boot – Blue Suede – $239.95 Elvis’ style was always one step ahead, and now you can be, too, with these gorgeous cowgirl boots. The handcrafted, genuine leather boots feature fashionable fringe, blue leather and gold studs. Fringe is in right now, and these boots feature fringe all around the top. The snip toe gives these boots a sleek look. See this product on Shop.Graceland.com.   9) Graceland Crystal Paperweight – $12.99 Here’s a gift that’s perfect for any office or study. This crystal paperweight features a 3-D image of Graceland and logo inside, and it’s accented by a beautiful blue tone in the bottom of the crystal. This elegant gift is ready for giving with a keepsake box. See this product on Shop.Graceland.com.   8) Graceland Peacock Stained Glass – Left Side and Right Side – $59.99 each Bring a bit of Graceland into your own home with these beautiful stained peacock stained glass pieces, inspired by the entry window panels at Graceland. These are Graceland Exclusives and  must-haves for Elvis fans! See these products on Shop.Graceland.com – left side and right side.   7) “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” 45th Anniversary Collage T-Shirt – $24.99 Celebrate the 45th anniversary of “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” with this vintage-style tee! The full front image features multiple tonal Elvis images, accented by gold text and highlights, including the Graceland logo printed on the back. This Graceland Exclusive is a great way to commemorate Elvis’ Vegas years and the classic documentary! See this product on Shop.Graceland.com.   6) Elvis Graceland Studded Handbag – $65.00 Carry Elvis and Graceland with you! This Graceland Exclusive features studded accents and a stunning publicity image of Elvis from his first movie, “Love Me Tender.” This eye-catching bag is functional, too, with zippered pockets inside and out and interior sleeve pockets. If you love fashion and Elvis, you’ll love this bag. Oh, and how about the matching wallet, too? See this product on Shop.Graceland.com.   5) “If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra” CD or LP...
read more

Elvis Presley’s Flying Graceland

Elvis Presley ruled the music charts, the stage and the screen, so it’s only appropriate that he ruled the skies, too. Forty years ago this month, Elvis took off in his own custom private jet for the first time. The Lisa Marie, which he nicknamed his “Flying Graceland,” took Elvis to concerts and family vacations, all in incredible rock ‘n’ roll style. These days, plenty of celebrities have their own jets. But Elvis proved you could travel in style with his beautifully decorated Lisa Marie. In April 1975, Elvis purchased a Convair 880 jet, taken out of service by Delta, for $250,000. He named the plane after his daughter, Lisa Marie. Elvis spent more than $800,000 on remodeling the plane from an ordinary plane to a rock star’s private jet, complete with two half-baths, a lounge area, a conference room, sitting room (which could be turned into a guest bedroom) and a master bedroom. The plane is gorgeously decorated with lush blues, greens and gold. The Lisa Marie features gold-plated belt buckles and accessories, suede sofas, leather-topped tables, a quadraphonic 8-track stereo system, a sky-to-ground phone system and more. The tail features an American flag and Elvis’ famous TCB – “taking care of business in a flash” – logo. He also had the registration number changed to N880EP, and sometimes called it “The Pride of Elvis Presley Airways.” Elvis’ first flight on the Lisa Marie was on November 27, 1975, to Las Vegas. He had two weeks’ worth of concerts to perform there. One of the most memorable trips Elvis made on the Lisa Marie was with the plane’s namesake. He realized that Lisa Marie had never experienced a winter with real snow – Memphis rarely sees snow – so he flew his daughter to Denver, Colorado on the Lisa Marie. The two played in the snow and returned to Graceland soon after. Elvis dreamed of having his own fleet; he purchased five planes over the years. Another of his planes, a 1960 Lockheed Jetstar, which he named the Hound Dog II (the Lisa Marie is Hound Dog I), is also at Graceland and open for tours. The Lisa Marie went on display at Graceland in 1984. It arrived to its destination with much fanfare: the media and fans lined up to watch as the plane was brought down Elvis Presley Boulevard. Like Graceland itself, the Lisa Marie is a “must-see” for every...
read more

While Elvis Presley Served

In the 60-plus years of rock ‘n’ roll, no one has had a career quite like Elvis Presley’s. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll topped the charts, sold out movie theaters and drew record-breaking audiences. As his career began to skyrocket, he put everything on hold to serve his country in the United States Army. Like the veterans we remember and honor today, Veterans Day, Elvis focused on serving his country during his Army days. He let his record label, RCA, and his manager, Col. Tom Parker take care of business back home. It was up to them to keep Elvis on the charts and in the public’s attention span. But his fans, back in America and all over the world, were never far from his heart. In December 1957, the Memphis Draft Board announced that Elvis would soon receive his draft notice. Elvis told reporters that his service was “a duty I’ve got to fill and I’m going to do it.” Ahead of his March 1958 induction into the Army, another reporter asked Elvis if he believed his popularity would fade while he served. “That’s the $64 question,” Elvis said. “I wish I knew.” Elvis’ last recording session for two years was in Nashville in June 1958, and he and his band cut five tunes between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. The future hits included “A Big Hunk o’ Love” and “I Need Your Love Tonight.” Parker and RCA made a deal to slowly release the collection of singles over the next two years, so fans could still get fresh Elvis music while Elvis focused on being a soldier. RCA wanted Elvis to continue recording while in Germany, but Elvis wanted to be like any other soldier while he was there. One of Elvis’ best-reviewed films, “King Creole,” and two volumes of soundtrack EPs were released in summer 1958, as Elvis completed Basic Unit Training. A Christmas EP, “Christmas with Elvis,” shipped to stores in September. At a press conference just before he left for Germany, Elvis again thought of his fans. “I hope I’m not out of their minds,” he said. “And I’ll be looking forward to the time when I can come back and entertain again like I did.” That fall, Parker released “Elvis Sails,” a special EP featuring Elvis’ embarkation press conference. The album art’s reverse side featured a 1959 calendar – a smart way to keep Elvis...
read more

Vote Elvis Presley for President

The 2016 United States Presidential election is only one year away. Have you decided which candidate will get your vote? Consider Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. As you’ll find at the Elvis for President campaign website, Graceland.com/President, Elvis for President isn’t a new idea. Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker, often handed out “Elvis for President” buttons, and fans often made “Elvis for President” signs. They were all on to something: Elvis for President is a great idea. Elvis was the ideal presidential candidate: He was a proud American who served in the United States Army; he gave back to his community; and he actually had the backing of, and connections with, a few U.S. Presidents. In 1961, President Lyndon Johnson wrote Elvis a letter to thank him for his fundraising efforts for the USS Arizona memorial. When Elvis learned Johnson kept three TVs in the White House, he was inspired – he immediately purchased three TVs for Graceland, too. Those three TVs are in the TV Room at Graceland. Elvis starred alongside President Ronald Reagan’s daughter Maureen in the 1964 comedy “Kissin’ Cousins.” On December 21, 1970, Elvis famously met President Richard Nixon at the White House. The historic meeting is one of the most famous moments in both presidential and pop culture history. Also in attendance were Elvis’ friend Jerry Schilling and Egil “Bud” Krogh, a White House official and FBI liaison. The pair recalled the historic meeting at Elvis Week 2012. Watch below. In January 1971, Elvis was honored by the United States Jaycees as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in the Nation. It was the only award Elvis ever accepted in person, and it was at the awards luncheon that he met U.N. Ambassador George Bush (who would later become President). Bush warned politicians to “watch out” if Elvis ever decided to enter politics. “They would have to regroup their forces,” he said. When the world mourned Elvis’ death in 1977, President Jimmy Carter eloquently summed up Americans’ feelings. “Elvis Presley’s death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique and irreplaceable,” he said. Elvis “permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense, and he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness and good humor of his country.” Presidents continue to pay respect to the king. President Bill Clinton admires Elvis so much he’s adopted the...
read more

Giving in Elvis Presley’s Name

Elvis Presley’s influence is worldwide and never-ending. If you need proof, just look at the hundreds of Elvis fan clubs across the globe. These groups, made up of fans of every age, celebrate the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and honor his memory with charitable donations. Each year, fan clubs hold special events, raise money and donate to thousands of organizations – both in their own hometowns and in Memphis – and donate the money in Elvis’ name. They’re simply following the excellent example set by Elvis himself. In celebration of Make a Difference Day on Saturday, October 24, here are just a few of the fan clubs who are doing great charitable work.   Tupelo Elvis Fan Club   The fan club in Elvis’ hometown seems to work endlessly at raising money for good causes. The group spearheaded the effort to get an Elvis Presley specialty license plate in Mississippi, and the money raised from that – as well as many other efforts – help fund their donations. The Tupelo Elvis Fan Club donates $10,000 in yearly scholarships for Mississippi high school seniors, and they also donate $10,000 a year to the North Mississippi Regional Rehab Center. The group has pledged to give $13,000 a year for 10 years to the Tupelo Aquatic Center, a new facility that is located near the Elvis Presley Birthplace. And speaking of the birthplace, the fan club gives $5,000 a year to the Elvis Presley Birthplace Foundation to fund a child enrichment program. The group also donates to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, a hospital Elvis always supported. Overall, this one club donates $40,000 annually to charitable organizations.   Taking Care of Presley Memorial Fan Club   Fans may know this group by its annual event, the Elvis FANtasy Festival. The 23rd annual festival recently took place in Portage, Indiana. The group recent partnered with an Elvis festival organizer, but for 20 years, it was run entirely as a volunteer project of the fan club. The group donates to the Porter County Special Olympics. While totals are not in from this year’s event, last year’s raised $14,640.   We Remember Elvis Fan Club   This Pittsburg, Pennsylvania-based fan club focuses its efforts on helping folks get healthy. The group, which started in 1982, started by donating money to a children’s hospital in Pittsburg. Now, the group donates to food banks, the West Penn Burn...
read more

Page 11 of 19« First...910111213...Last »