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 and Country Music

Elvis Presley is the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, but he ruled country music, too. Elvis was raised on country, gospel and blues music. He brought all of those influences with him when he stepped into Sun Studio to record his early music. His music had the soul of blues music and the twang of country, and because the term “rock ‘n’ roll” was still in its infancy, Elvis’ music was initially labeled as country. Throughout his life, Elvis loved playing, listening to and recording country music, even if his name became synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll. Elvis spent much of his early career on tour with great American country stars. He performed at the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium – the “mother church of country music” – in 1954 and sang the classic country tune “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” His rock ‘n’ roll swagger wasn’t a perfect match with the traditional country crowd, and a few weeks later he joined the Opry’s competitor, the Louisiana Hayride. Between the Hayride and other tours and performances, Elvis toured and shared the stage with the likes of Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Hank Snow, Slim Whitman and Faron Young. “I Forgot to Remember to Forget,” a single Elvis released in 1955 on Sun, was his first No. 1 single, and it topped the country charts. (“Heartbreak Hotel,” which he released on RCA, was his first single to go Gold, and his first No. 1 on the pop chart.) Elvis’ success paved the way for other young country stars to find national success, too. Elvis’ extensive personal record collection is full of gospel, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, classical and, of course, country. He had records by his fellow Memphis musicians such as Johnny Cash and his old touring partners like Marty Robbins and Hank Snow. His collection also includes music by country stars like Ray Price, Conway Twitty, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Ronnie Milsap, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Elvis and his producer Felton Jarvis recorded many songs during several recording sessions in 1970 and realized many of the tracks were country, or had a country flavor. It was out of these sessions that the idea for “Elvis Country,” a complete album full of country tunes, was born. They recorded several more country songs that fit the bill and the album was released on January 2, 1971. The album includes tracks such as the singles “I Really Don’t...
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Celebrating Elvis Presley’s ‘Spinout’

Buckle up: Dangerous curves ahead! Elvis Presley’s colorful 1966 musical romantic comedy saw Elvis, starring as the singing, race-car driving bachelor Mike, dodging three beautiful, marriage-minded women. “Spinout” is Elvis’ 22nd feature film, and the sixth time he teamed with director Norman Taurog, who directed nine Elvis films. Let’s take a look at one of Elvis’ most fun flicks, which will get some love at this year’s Elvis Week – but more on that in a bit. “Spinout” was released in late 1966. Elvis’ co-stars in this film include Diane McBain, Shelley Fabares, Dodie Marshall, Jack Mullaney and Deborah Walley. In the movie, Elvis is a single, singing race-car driver who loves his bachelor lifestyle, but he runs into trouble when he meets three women, all of whom are looking to become his wife. Hilarity ensues as he tries to avoid a walk down the aisle – oh, and he has to race a few cars, too. If Elvis playing a guy named Mike sounds familiar, it should: This was the third film in which Elvis played a character named Mike. In “It Happened at the World’s Fair,” he was Mike Edwards, and in “Fun in Acapulco” he played Mike Windgren. In “Spinout” – the final film in which he’s a Mike – he’s Mike McCoy. “Spinout” was an especially fun movie for Elvis, who, when he wasn’t starring as a race-car driver on screen, loved slot car racing off-screen. He loved it so much that his wife Priscilla purchased a slot-car racing set for Elvis to have at Graceland in 1965. Later, he purchased a larger professional track and he enclosed what was a patio area to house the track. After he grew tired of the hobby, he turned that building into a space to house his awards and trophies – fans know it today as the Trophy Building here at Graceland. The “Spinout” soundtrack includes “Stop, Look and Listen,” “Adam and Evil,” “Beach Shack” and “Never Say Yes.” The soundtrack is Elvis’ 27th album. Elvis recorded the soundtrack in February 1966, just as principle production on the movie started. Elvis’ “Spinout” co-star Shelley Fabares starred alongside the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll a year earlier in “Girl Happy,” and in the following year in “Clambake.” Shelley also starred on “The Donna Reed Show,” and actor Carl Betz played her father on both the TV show and in “Spinout.” A very young Rita Wilson, who went...
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Ways to Save at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

Elvis Presley’s Graceland is an absolute must: It’s a must-see, must-tour, must-experience travel destination. There’s only one place in the world that the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll called home, and that’s Graceland. From his iconic gates and wall covered in fan signatures to his famed Jungle Room and everywhere in between, Graceland is an unforgettable rock ‘n’ roll adventure, a sacred place for remembrance and a glimpse into the life of a music and pop culture legend who lived like no one else. There are several ways to experience Graceland, too. Die-hard fans will want to experience it all on the VIP tour, while casual fans with little time may choose to only tour the mansion. It never hurts to save a few bucks, too. Here are some excellent ways to experience the king’s castle and save your hard-earned money when planning Graceland getaways. Graceland’s Summer Family Savings   Now through August 31, families can save up to $40 on their Graceland experience. Get a discount of 50% off each child or student Platinum Tour for each adult Platinum Tour ticket purchased. The Platinum Tour – our most popular – takes fans through the mansion, Elvis’ car museum and other exhibitions at the Graceland Plaza. Click here for offer details and information on how to score this excellent deal.   Get Closer to Rock ‘n’ Roll Package   Our Get Closer to Rock ‘n’ Roll Package is the best way to experience Graceland AND Memphis. The package includes two nights at Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel, two VIP tours of Graceland, two tickets to Sun Studio, Stax Museum of American Soul Museum and the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, lunch for two at the Hard Rock Cafe on Beale Street and free shuttle service to Beale Street. This incredible package even offers an Elvis gift pack and Graceland Insiders membership. Oh, and this package saves you more than $120 off the regular price. Sweet. Book this package today!   Book a Hotel Package   Get a hotel, tour Graceland and save some money with our hotel packages, which are designed for just about any kind of traveler. The Graceland Package and Graceland VIP Entourage Package are great for those who want to focus on Elvis and Graceland, and stay at Heartbreak Hotel. In love? The Love Me Tender Package is for you. It includes a night at Heartbreak Hotel, tours of Graceland, a...
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Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Our Favorite Memories of 1993 Elvis Stamp

Graceland loves to celebrate “firsts,” but on August 12, 2015, we’ll be celebrating the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s second commemorative stamp. The first Elvis Presley stamp, which debuted in 1993 and featured a young Elvis, currently holds the record for the most popular U.S. commemorative stamp of all time. Thousands of Elvis fans and stamp enthusiasts from around the world gathered on Graceland’s front lawn on January 8, 1993, Elvis’ birthday, as special guests Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley revealed the Elvis stamp image.  After nearly 1.2 million votes were cast in the contest jokingly termed “Decision ’92,” America had spoken and the choice was clear: the face of young Elvis won by nearly 75 percent. In fact in that year more people voted for their favorite Elvis stamp than voted for President.       The cold, wet weather that day couldn’t keep fans away as a US Postal Service van sold postage stamp sheets and issued cancellations at the Graceland Plaza. At 12:01 a.m., the first Elvis stamp was sold here at Graceland and started a national frenzy of people buying the Elvis stamp. Special guests such as Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter, and Mayor of Shelby County Bill Morris—a close friend of Elvis’—drew a crowd so large that extra seating was available in the Elvis Presley Car Museum, where guests sat on vintage automobile seats and enjoyed a cocktail reception, live music and more.   This ceremony marked the first time Lisa Marie Presley spoke publicly at Graceland. She had just had her second child, Benjamin Keough, but made time to come to her Memphis home to thank all the Elvis fans there at 12:00 a.m. on a rainy January night. Although Lucille Ball and her character Lucy Ricardo are each the subject of a stamp, Elvis remains the only individual to have two commemorative stamps dedicated to him. The dedication ceremony for the second Elvis stamp is August 12, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. on the front lawn at Graceland during Elvis Week 2015. Priscilla Presley and Postmaster General Megan Brennan will both be guests at the ceremony. The public is encouraged to attend this event and use the hashtag #ElvisForever. Are you planning on coming to Graceland for Elvis Week? Do you have a favorite 1993 stamp memory? Share it with us in the comments section...
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Elvis Presley’s “Tickle Me” at 50

Yes, it’s Elvis – as a singin’, swingin’ cowboy! Elvis Presley’s “Tickle Me” turns 50 this month. “Tickle Me” was released June 30, 1965, followed by a nationwide release on July 7. The movie, a musical-Western-romance-comedy, has fans LOL’ing with its sight gags and Elvis’ innate comedy timing. “Tickle Me” was Elvis’ 18th movie. It was released between “Girl Happy” and “Harum Scarum.” Elvis, who was 29 when he filmed the movie, plays Lonnie Beale, a singing rodeo rider who moonlights between rodeos as a horseback-riding instructor at a weight-reducing dude ranch for wealthy women. His co-stars include Julie Adams, Jack Mullaney, Jocelyn Lane and Merry Anders. His friend Red West also has a small, uncredited role. Though “Tickle Me” is fun from start to finish, its behind-the-scenes story is a bit more serious. The film was produced by Allied Artists Studio, which at the time was in deep financial trouble. Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker, cut a deal to make everyone happy: He cut Elvis’ normal $1 million pay for 50% of the profits. He also saved money by releasing a soundtrack full of already-recorded songs, rather than recording a whole new soundtrack. Another cost cut was made by filming the movie on a studio back lot instead of filming on location. All of this cost cutting, plus the film’s success at the box office, saved Allied Artists Studio for a while longer. Elvis’ leading lady, Jocelyn Lane, stars in “Tickle Me” as Pam Meritt. She retired from acting in 1971 to become a real princess when she married a Spanish prince. Today, she designs jewelry. Julie Adams, who stars as Vera, has enjoyed a decades-long career in Hollywood. Many movie fans know her from the classic horror flick “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Norman Taurog directed “Tickle Me” – in fact, he directed the most Elvis movies, with a total of nine. Norman also directed “G.I. Blues,” “Double Trouble,” “Girls! Girls! Girls!” “Blue Hawaii,” “It Happened at the World’s Fair,” “Speedway,” “Live a Little, Love a Little” and “Spinout.” Norman worked with many of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Deborah Kerr, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. He directed six Lewis and Martin films. The tag line for “Tickle Me” is everything any film-goer would want in a movie: “It’s Fun! It’s Girls! It’s Songs! It’s Color! It’s ELVIS!” Sounds like a winning combination. Col Parker got RCA to...
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A Father’s Day Tribute: Vernon Presley

One of the constants in Elvis Presley’s life was his father, Vernon Presley. Elvis’ dad was always there, raising his son in Tupelo, supporting his early career in Memphis and working behind the scenes as his son became the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. This Father’s Day, on Sunday, June 21, we celebrate Elvis’ father, Vernon Presley. Jesse D. and Minnie Mae Presley welcomed their son, Vernon Elvis Presley, into the world on April 10, 1916, in Fulton, Mississippi. As a teenager, Vernon met the lovely Gladys Love Smith at church, and quickly fell in love. The young couple wanted to get married, but a little detail slowed them down: Vernon’s age. He was 17, and Gladys was 21. They changed their ages on their marriage license to say he was 22 and she was 19, and the pair were married in Verona, Mississippi, by a Pontotoc County circuit clerk on June 17, 1933. Vernon, his brother Vester and their father built a two-room house for the growing Presley family. Gladys gave birth to Elvis (and his twin, Jessie, who was stillborn) on January 8, 1935, in the home. Vernon worked odd jobs and manual labor to support the family. They never had much money, but they had plenty of love. The Presleys went to church and loved singing gospel music together around the family piano. Elvis was very close to his mother Gladys, but he was close with Vernon, too. On Elvis’ 14th birthday, Vernon gave Elvis a paperback book of cartoons by George Price, and he inscribed it: “May your birthday be sprinkled through ‘n through with joy and love and good times too, Daddy.” Elvis kept this book and brought it with him to Germany when he served there in the Army, but he lost it there. Elvis was so close with both of his parents that he brought them along for the ride when he became a superstar. Vernon and Gladys Presley moved in with Elvis when he purchased Graceland in 1957. Vernon managed his son’s business affairs in an office behind the mansion. Graceland was truly a family home. Vester and Vernon Presley, who worked at the gates of Graceland, often greeted fans at the gates. Elvis’ grandmother (and Vernon’s mother) Minnie Mae lived there, as did Vernon’s sister, Delta, who also helped open Graceland to the public. Many of the documents pertaining to Graceland and Elvis’...
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The Man Who Dressed the King: Bill Belew and Elvis Presley

Rock stars love the grungy look: sweat-stained T-shirts, ragged jeans, worn-out shoes. But Elvis Presley was no ordinary rock star. He was, after all, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and he dressed like it. Fans never saw Elvis on stage in anything less than the best. Even early on in his career, he carefully chose his fashionable stagewear. He wanted to give the audience a thrill – not just with his music, but with his look. All these years later, Elvis’ style is as iconic as his music. Elvis had great fashion sense, but it was designer Bill Belew who helped take Elvis’ fashion to the next level. Belew designed clothes for Elvis to wear both on and off the stage. “You could be daring as a designer and put anything on Elvis and he could make it work,” Belew said. “And the simplest outfits that didn’t seem particularly remarkable on the rack transformed into something spectacular when Elvis put them on. He was that beautiful and powerful a presence.” On June 11, 1968, Elvis met with costume designer Bill Belew to go over ideas for his upcoming TV special. Elvis’ famous black leather suit was designed by Belew, as were several other pieces that were seen in that special. The suit is on display at Graceland; it was recently exhibited at Elvis at The O2 in London. Belew designed for other musical acts and celebrities, such as Gladys Knight, The Band, The Jacksons, Brooke Shields and the Osmonds, but he’s especially remembered for his designs for Elvis. Elvis is known for so much – his velvet voice, his Southern generosity, Graceland, his pink Cadillac and, of course, his eye-catching jumpsuits. Belew designed them all, and many of them featured elaborate embroidery by Gene Doucette. There are actually two versions of Elvis’ Flame jumpsuit; the other version’s kick pleats are red, while this version’s is orange. Belew said that many of Elvis’ jumpsuits were white to allow the stage lights to truly capture Elvis on stage. They experimented with several colors, however, such as red, black and blue. Another of Belew’s celebrated jumpsuits is the American Eagle, which Elvis sported in the 1973 “Aloha from Hawaii” special. Eagles show up in several other of Belew’s jumpsuits. He also created a colorful Chinese Dragon jumpsuit, four Phoenix jumpsuits (white with turquoise, dark blue with silver, white with red and white with black) and one...
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33 Years of Elvis Presley’s Graceland

Elvis Presley’s Graceland opened to the public on June 7, 1982. Sunday, June 7, 2015, is our 33rd anniversary. To say we’ve been busy in those 33 years is an understatement. In 33 years,  over 19 million Elvis fans have walked in the footsteps of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll at Graceland. Guests come from around the globe to see the house Elvis called home. Some of those guests have been celebrities, like Sir Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift, and some have been royalty, such as Princes William and Harry. The Graceland property has grown to include the plaza across the street, a new Archives Studio near the home and a Chapel in the Woods. Fans explore more than just the home – they can step inside Elvis’ airplanes and see his cars. It all started one spring day, 33 years ago, right on the steps of Graceland. When Elvis purchased Graceland in 1957, he didn’t buy it just for himself, but for his family. His parents, Vernon and Gladys, lived there, as did his grandmother, Minnie Mae (all of whom are now buried at the Meditation Garden at Graceland). Several family members lived at Graceland over the years, including Elvis’ aunt, Delta Presley Biggs, Vernon’s sister. In fact, she still lived at Graceland when it opened for tours, and she lived there with her dog, Edmond, until her death in 1993. Delta and Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden cut the ribbon to open Graceland in 1982, and Priscilla Presley was on hand to welcome guests to the home. Fans lined up to tour Graceland on its first day – 3,024 fans, to be exact. The kitchen was not added to the Graceland tour until 1993. Today, fans can see the living room, dining room, Elvis’ parents’ bedroom, the kitchen, pool room, TV room and Jungle Room. Upon its initial opening, the tour featured guides in each room, who shared facts about Elvis and his home. Today, fans are guided through Graceland with a state-of-the-art iPad tour, narrated by Elvis fan and actor John Stamos. The iPad tour includes exclusive video and photo of Elvis and his family at Graceland. A lot has changed in 33 years, but one thing hasn’t: Graceland is ground zero for fans who want to celebrate, learn more about and pay tribute to Elvis Presley. Here are a few of the different ways...
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The Arboretum at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

There’s something for everyone at Elvis Presley’s Graceland – especially if you love nature. Graceland is surrounded by beautiful trees, flowers and plants, all of which are maintained and cared for by our grounds-keeping staff. Not only do these trees and flowers make the property even prettier, but they are also educational. The Graceland Mansion was named the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council’s first corporate arboretum on June 7, 2013. It’s also the first National Historic Monument to be certified as a corporate arboretum. Here’s a video from 2013 about Graceland’s arboretum. An arboretum, for any non-nature fans in the audience, is a collection of trees cultivated for educational, scientific or aesthetic purposes and labeled with information including genus, species and common name. All of the trees at Graceland are labeled. This is especially educational when school groups visit, or when it’s Scout Day, and troops are encouraged to explore the different types of trees at Graceland. Graceland includes 20 identified species of trees, including Southern Magnolia, American Elm, Willow Oak, Red Maple, Pecan, American Holly, Tulip Poplar and Black Cherry. A recent addition to the trees at Graceland is a Somei Yoshino Cherry Tree. The tree was a gift to Memphis in appreciation  for Memphis’ relief efforts after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Motohiko Kato, Consul General of Japan in Nashville, and the Japanese delegation attended the tree planting ceremony at Graceland. “I hope that the cherry blossom trees at Graceland will become living reminders of our thanks and also symbolize the continued growth of the friendship between Memphis and Japan just like the cherry blossom trees in Washington D.C.,” Kato said at the ceremony. Graceland’s trees and plants make the property even more special. The next time you visit Graceland, be sure to take the time to appreciate the trees (and learn more about them, thanks to their labels!), flowers and other plants that make Elvis Presley’s home even more beautiful. Here are a few more shots of the gorgeous greenery here at Graceland and Graceland’s Chapel in the Woods. http://blog.graceland.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/giphy-instagram.mp4    ...
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An Elvis Presley Scavenger Hunt

Sunday, May 24 is National Scavenger Hunt Day, so we’re asking you: How well do you know Elvis Presley’s Graceland? Graceland is more than just the King’s castle. Graceland was Elvis’ home, his private piece of paradise in a very public world. It feels both like the home of a Southern gentleman and a rock ‘n’ roll legend. There are family portraits, cozy couches and plush carpets, but there are also lush green shag carpet (on the ceiling), a room entirely covered in gorgeous fabric (which also covers the ceiling) and mirrors, everywhere (…yes, even on a few ceilings). Elvis definitely shows off his rock ‘n’ roll style at Graceland, but the home is also just that – a home for his family. It’s truly a place that must be experienced. Below are a few beloved pieces of Graceland, from its exterior to its interior and out on the grounds. Do you know where these things can be found in and around Graceland? Play along here or on the VisitGraceland Instagram account. You can also print this blog post and bring it with you on your next trip to Graceland, and see if you can spot these items! Have fun!     Feel free to leave you guesses in the comments, or bring this blog post with you when you tour Graceland so you can find these items for yourself. Plan your visit to Elvis Presley’s Graceland today! Have fun!   Here are the answers to the Scavenger...
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