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!

Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Elvis Fans 2014

Ready or not, the holiday season is here. If you’re shopping for the Elvis fan in your life (or for yourself), never fear – here are the Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Elvis Fans. From CDs and DVDs, from jewelry to collectibles, Shop.Graceland.com has it all. You’ll keep your Elvis-loving friends and family from having a – pun intended – “Blue Christmas.”   1) 2014 Elvis Presley On Stage CD – $19.99 It all comes back to that incredible voice and those fan-favorite songs. In spring 2014, Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises presented a new tour, “Elvis Presley – On Stage,” which performed in 35 European cities. Through the seamless combination of a live band, singers and orchestra with the iconic voice and video imagery of Elvis, the result was an immersive stage performance that demonstrated why Elvis was the greatest entertainer of the 20th century – and beyond. This two-disc, 32-track CD features songs performed on the “Elvis Presley – On Stage”  tour. Tracks include “Hound Dog,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” “The Wonder of You,” “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” “In the Ghetto and “How Great Thou Art.” Elvis’ gift to the world was his music, and you can pass this gift along to the Elvis fan in your life. See this product on Shop.Graceland.com.   2) Christine Alexander Women’s Spa Jacket- $145 The amazing detail and craftsmanship make this upscale jacket a true show-stopper. The “Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii” image on the back of the blended hoodie is made of clear and hermatite Swarovski crystals and metallic tone embellishments. Elvis’ American Eagle jumpsuit is garnished with red rim-set crystals, and his iconic signature on the front of the jacket  is applied in the same crystal treatment as the back image.  Prepare to be stopped on the street and asked where you bought this fashionable piece: Only at Graceland! See this product on Shop.Graceland.com.   3) Lowell Hays Gold Plated TCB Necklace – $60 Now you too can feel like one of Elvis’ VIP with this classic, must-have TCB necklace. Elvis and Priscilla originally designed the TCB and TLC necklaces given to Elvis’ friends. In 1971, Elvis flew Lowell Hayes to Las Vegas to perfect the designs. He did, and from that time on Lowell made all of the necklaces for Elvis. These necklaces are made from the original mold layered in warm 18K gold and 24” rope chain. How...
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Giving Back

Many folks have given thanks for Elvis Presley’s generosity. Not many people realize what a generous and giving legacy Elvis left behind. Not only did he give the world his time and talent, he also gave back to those in need. He donated thousands to charities, nonprofits and those who needed a helping hand. Elvis started giving back as soon as his career began, and this was a trend that continued throughout the rest of his life. Early in his career, he donated toys to a Marine drive for children and gave $1,050 to Humes High School so that all 1,400 students could go to the annual E.H. Crump Memorial Football Game for the Blind. In 1959, he donated blood at the Wartturm Barracks in Friedberg for the German Red Cross. Never one to forget his roots, Elvis performed in his hometown, Tupelo, in 1956 and 1957 to raise money for a youth center and park. Following a devastating tornado in McComb, Mississippi in January 1975, Elvis performed a benefit concert for the city in May of the same year. At the show, Elvis presented a check for more than $100,000 to Mississippi Governor Bill Waller. In 1961, he performed a concert to build the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and raised more than $65,000. And 12 years later,  Elvis donated the proceeds from his 1973 “Aloha from Hawaii” satellite-concert to the Kui Lee cancer fund. He loved Memphis and wanted the best for the city. On Dec. 1, 1967, he pledged $10,500 to the Memphis Jewish Community Center Building Fund and paid a $2,500 installment on that date. On Dec. 12, 1966, he donated checks totaling $105,000 to various Memphis charities. September 29, 1967 was declared “Elvis Presley Day” by Memphis Mayor William Ingram and Tennessee Governor Buford Ellington in recognition of the King’s many charitable contributions. A massive wooden plaque was given to Elvis by the City of Memphis in recognition for his contributions to more than 50 local charities. That plaque, along with numerous checks he wrote to charities, are on display at Graceland. Elvis was known to give plenty of gifts – there are countless stories of surprising friends, family and even total strangers with brand new cars – but he also helped his friends pay their medical bills (and often sent personal get-well notes, too). In 1974, he contributed to a fund for singer-songwriter Ivory...
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Preparing for ‘Elvis at The O2’ Exhibit

It takes a lot of thought and care to create an exhibit as extensive as “Elvis at The O2.” “Elvis at The O2: The Exhibition of His Life” is the largest Elvis retrospective in Europe, and it’ll open in London on Dec. 12. The nine-month exhibit will showcase more than 300 artifacts from the Presley Family’s Graceland Archives, some of which have never been exhibited outside of Graceland in Memphis. “Elvis at The O2” chronicles the rise of the rock ‘n’ roll icon and how Elvis impacted pop culture around the world through his music, movies and personal style. Angie Marchese, Graceland’s director of archives, decided to start at the beginning of Elvis’ story. “First you develop a story line. We met with several design firms, told them what we were looking for and how we want to best represent Elvis. Our goal is to have an immersive exhibit one that really grabs the guest and draws them into the story. So we picked out artifacts that helped tell that story – pieces that really had meaning. We want the visitor to get not only Elvis the entertainer, but to see Elvis the son, the father, the friend. We want the visitor to really understand who he was and why he is still so relevant today,” she said. To tell the story about the King, you also have to tell the story of the King’s castle. “We wanted to give the guest at The O2 an authentic Graceland experience and leave them wanting to learn and see more,” she said. Some of Marchese’s favorite pieces are in The O2 exhibition. “They are so personal,” she said, “like Elvis’ 1st grade crayon box, his graduation program and tassel, a dress of Gladys’, his wallet with photos of Lisa in it. These are things that really showcase Elvis the man.” Her favorite part of The O2 experience so far? “The best part is getting to pick out all of the amazing photos we will feature in the exhibit, editing together the video content to help bring each area to life and putting together the closing concert experience.” The first collection of artifacts is almost packed now, and soon everything will be ready for Dec. 12. “All of the artifacts have had the conditioning reports done, the images have been taken and they have been prepped for display,” she said. “Now it...
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Inside Elvis’ Record Collection

Fans have enjoyed Elvis’ music for decades, whether it was on vinyl, 8-track, cassettes, CDs or on their iPhones. But what music did Elvis listen to? Elvis’ personal record collection, which includes more than 2,000 singles and albums, is diverse: There’s rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, doo wop, country, soul, classical, Christmas tunes, jazz and much more. The following photos are from Elvis’ collection here at Graceland. A great portion of Elvis’ collection is made up of gospel records. Elvis loved the Blackwood Brothers. Some of the group’s albums he enjoyed include “Paradise Island,” “Oh Happy Day,” “Roll on Jordan,” “His Hands,” “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” and “Hymn Sing,” from 1956. His expansive collection of gospel albums includes records by Mahalia Jackson, The Stamps Quartet, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, The Statesmen Quartet and Jimmy Dean, to name just a few. Elvis had plenty of Christmas and holiday music, too. His collection includes secular and sacred seasonal music; he owned Christmas albums by the likes of the Jackson 5, Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, Gene Autry and The Temptations. Elvis loved the twang of country music. He had several records by his pal Johnny Cash, as well as records by Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams. His collection includes a 45 of “Ode to Billie Joe” by fellow native Mississippian, Bobbie Gentry. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll had plenty of rock records, too. He had records such as a Dave Clark Five greatest hits album, “Magical Mystery Tour” by The Beatles and “Eat a Peach” by the Allman Brothers, and his 45s included “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On” by Jerry Lee Lewis, “All I Have to Do is Dream” by the Everly Brothers and B.J. Thomas’ “Hooked on a Feeling.” He also had a copy of Mott the Hoople’s 1972 album, “All the Young Dudes,” and “Piece of My Heart” by Big Brother and the Holding Company. Elvis enjoyed plenty of popular artists as well, like the Bee Gees, Tom Jones, Neil Sedaka and Peter, Paul & Mary. Ray Charles is an artist whose music pops up repeatedly in his collection. Elvis had 45s of Charles’ “America the Beautiful,” “Hit the Road, Jack,” “Hardhearted Hannah” and “In the Heat of the Night,” as well as several albums. Elvis loved his R&B, soul and blues records. He had albums and singles by the likes of John Lee Hooker,...
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Remembering Al Wertheimer

Elvis lives on today through his music, movies and even photographs of the man they called the king. Earlier this week, famed Elvis photographer Alfred Wertheimer passed away peacefully at his home in New York. Al was a friend to Elvis fans and the man often times behind the camera never turned down a request for someone to have their picture made with him at any one of the dozens of fan events he has participated in over the years. His images of the icon, Elvis, are themselves iconic. His style was simple: be a fly on the wall and capture what was happening around him. The shots were rarely posed and only at Elvis’ request. In March, June and July of 1956, Wertheimer was hired by RCA to capture photos of their rising star named Elvis Presley. From that three month assignment, over 3,800 memorable images came out of the time spent with Elvis. One of the more notable photographs is “The Kiss,” taken in Richmond, Virginia at the Mosque Theatre minutes before a performance in the summer of 1956. Wherever Elvis went, Al went. Following a record-breaking ratings performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and RCA recording sessions that produced “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel,” Elvis hopped on a train from New York to Memphis. Wertheimer was there with his camera for ALL 27 hours of the train ride. He later remarked that it was Elvis’ willingness to get close that allowed him to capture some memorable photos, including Elvis as he was listening to the recordings from his recent RCA sessions. Following that train ride to Memphis, Wertheimer found himself at home with the Presley family on Audubon Drive. It was a casual side of Elvis rarely-seen in photos following his rise to superstardom.   Upon hearing the news of Wertheimer’s passing, Priscilla Presley issued this statement on behalf of the family: “I’m deeply saddened by the death of Alfred Wertheimer. He was a dear friend and special soul. I feel he was a gift for all who knew him, especially Elvis Presley. There has been no other photographer that Elvis ever allowed to get as up close and personal in his life through photos as he did with Alfred.” A mantra of sorts around Graceland is “Long live the King,” and Elvis’ legacy certainly lives on because of people like Alfred...
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Unseen Graceland: Beyond the Ropes

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to explore every inch of Graceland? Kind of like a “win the lottery” type golden ticket to Graceland that allows you to really check out every square inch, go through drawers and cabinets, walk around in the rooms and really take a good look at things? Before we get your hopes up, sadly, no such thing exists, nor will it anytime soon. Sorry if you thought this was the lead in to the end all, be all Graceland sweepstakes contest. However, we were able to take a look at a few unseen, off the tour path spots recently that we know true fans might find of real interest, especially if they have been on the tour more than once, OK, who are we kidding, more than a dozen times. First stop, the dining room. Little did you know that there is actually a doorbell type buzzer under the table so Elvis or whoever was at the head of the table could summon the staff in the kitchen. There were no cords to pull that rang bells in the basement like we see on Downton Abbey. Pretty fancy stuff for the 70s. Speaking of the kitchen, let’s take a look inside the cabinets. Here we see a glass etched with the name “Minnie” for Minnie Mae who was Elvis’ grandmother, not Minnie Mouse. However, we also see a glass from EPCOT at Walt Disney World in Florida. What this souvenir from the happiest place on earth really tells us is that Graceland was – and still is – a family home even after Elvis passed and opened to the public. Five years after his passing, the first visitors made their way through the front door of Graceland in June of 1982, however EPCOT didn’t open until October of the same year. A young Lisa Marie would often travel to Memphis and spend time at her childhood home with family, including her great grandmother Minnie Mae. In fact, someone lived at Graceland up until 1993, 11 years after it first opened for public tours. Today the Presley family still makes frequent visits to Graceland in Memphis, often having dinner at their famous home after tours for the day have ended when some of these very glasses may be put to use. In the kitchen we can also open a drawer to see where it appears Lisa Marie...
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All Elvis, All The Time. Elvis Radio: Guest Blogger

It’s amazing to think about how much has happened at Elvis Presley’s Graceland since 2004, when we began broadcasting LIVE from Graceland on SiriusXM’s Elvis Radio.  There are so many incredible memories, events and highlights with Elvis’ friends, musicians, family and especially with the millions of fans around the globe who love the King of Rock & Roll! Let’s shine the spotlight on some of the most memorable, as birthday boy George Klein (October 8, 1935) would say, from the “World of Presley”! Fans still marvel and talk about the “Elvis 30th Anniversary Concert” at FedExForum during Elvis Week 2007.  Hosted by Priscilla Presley and a surprise starring cameo from Lisa Marie Presley and her incredible LIVE duet performance with her dad of “In The Ghetto” with an inspirational gospel choir.  The energy in the air for Elvis Week, whether it was the Candlelight Vigil, the Insiders VIP’s or the “Elvis 30th Anniversary Concert” made it feel like the whole universe was revolving around Graceland and Memphis. Priscilla Presley’s frequent LIVE visits on Elvis Radio over the years with Argo, Big Jim, and her long time buddy, George Klein.  As a matter of fact most recently on October 3, 2014, Priscilla spent almost 90 minutes one-on-one with George Klein as she was in town to be part of the Blues Ball’s salute to the “60th Anniversary Of That’s All Right Mama and Rock & Roll”. Lisa Marie Presley’s birthday broadcast with Argo on February 1, 2012, when she announced she would be back to record and film songs from her Storm & Grace album at the legendary Sun Studio, where Elvis first recorded in downtown Memphis, and her return on May 14, 2012 to share her brand new release with Elvis fans around the world with Big Jim Sykes. Elvis Week, August 13, 2006 Sunday Morning Gospel time Show with original Jordanaire member Gordon Stoker hosted by Big Jim Sykes, with a live audience of fans on the Graceland plaza. Listen here: http://blog.graceland.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Gordon-Stoker-Peace-In-The-Valley-Story-081306-2.mp3 Live coverage of the phenomenal Collingwood Canada’s Elvis Festival with the largest presentation of Elvis Tribute Artists and a Guinness World Record of the most ETA’s performing All Shook Up on one stage! And the absolute best part of ten years of Elvis Radio is spending time and getting to know the hundreds and thousands of Elvis fans that come to be part of the Elvis Presley experience...
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Royal Selfies from the King’s Castle

Back in August while Elvis fans and the Graceland staff were all celebrating Elvis Week 2014, we missed the news that the word “selfie” has been added to the Oxford Dictionary. So was twerking, but we won’t go there, for now. Selfie wasn’t even a word when the version of Microsoft Word being used to write this blog entry was created, therefore it still shows up with squiggly red lines underneath it. Just so you know, the definition of “selfie” according to the Oxford Dictionary is: A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media. Around Graceland, we see plenty of selfie action, daily. When employees see guests taking selfies, we offer to snap a photo and sometimes the offer is politely refused in preference of the extended arm close up. With the realization that selfies are here to stay, we have suggestions for the best selfie spots on your future visits to the King’s castle. Take a look at these #Graceland selfies submitted by our guests to @VisitGraceland on Instagram.      ...
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Peeking Inside the Vaults of the Graceland Archives

The Presleys weren’t hoarders, but they also didn’t get rid of many things they owned pre- or post-fame, including report cards, receipts and grocery store lists. Thankfully most of their collection was organized and today all of those documents, furniture, clothing and more are part of the famous Graceland Archives. Launched during Elvis Week 2014, a fascinating new addition was made to the tour offerings at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, and no we aren’t talking about the new iPad tour which is ALSO pretty neat. The newest attraction added to the Graceland tour, the first in over 20 years since the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum, is the Graceland Archives Studio Experience. After finishing the mansion tour, visitors are taken by shuttle to a new state of the art archives facility where they get a unique presentation of artifacts that are found in the vaults of the Graceland Archives. A variety of shows have been developed to take visitors on a journey through the archives that utilize the various categories that include audio, video, documents, textiles, etc. While one show might focus on his time in the Army or his groundbreaking debut in Las Vegas with his tablecloth contract and a jumpsuit, another show may focus on his movies with a presentation of costumes, publicity photos and personal scripts. One audience favorite show about Elvis being an early adopter and features his Zenith remote from a 1957 TV called the Space Commander 400, and of course his famous briefcase phone is included in this technology-focused entertaining show. On any given day, you don’t know what show you will see, but you can be certain that there will be two different shows presented in one day, a morning and afternoon show. For hardcore Elvis fans who arrive first thing in the morning for a tour and purchase the Platinum Tour, be sure ask the ticket agent when you arrive how you can be sure to see the afternoon show during your visit. One of the great things about this new attraction presentation is that you can actually get up close to the artifacts, no gold ropes separating you from the cherished items, so close you could almost touch, however we advise you don’t get handsy with the artifacts. Seriously, don’t touch. Pictures are allowed, but no flash photography. It has been amazing to see faces light up just being so close...
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Homecoming: Return to Tupelo

Memphis is Elvis mecca – home to his famous mansion Graceland, Beale Street where he would buy his clothes and soak up the blues, and of course Sun Studio where he would cut his first record that put both Elvis and Sam Phillips’ tiny studio on the music map. When you read a book though, you don’t start in the middle, which is where Elvis and Memphis intersect. You start at the beginning, and that can be found in Tupelo, the birthplace of royalty and the would-be King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Tupelo is by no means an American metropolis, nor is it a one stoplight town, but somewhere in between and perfectly pleasant to visit. A vibrant community of people who all know, or know of each other – it is the South after all. Sweet tea is on the menu in every restaurant in town and if you are nice and just as charming as the Tupelonians you encounter, you might get a hug before you leave the city limits along with a “Thanks for coming, y’all.” This may all sound cliché Southern, but Tupelo is anything but cliché, offering a unique look at the roots of rock ‘n’ roll. Born January 8, 1935, Elvis Aaron was the surviving twin born to Gladys and Vernon Presley. Jessie Garon was stillborn and buried near the shotgun shack in Tupelo where the Presley brothers were born. Today, that historic home is part of the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum in Tupelo that tells the story of how he learned to play his first guitar purchased at Tupelo Hardware and was inspired by the music of his church and the Shake Rag community. While the Presley family moved to Memphis when Elvis was just 13, he never forgot where he came from, returning to Tupelo in September of 1956 for a memorable performance at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. In 1943, a young Elvis stood on a chair at a microphone  to sing “Old Shep” in the youth talent contest. Elvis came in fifth place and received $5.00 in fair ride tickets. As an international star, he made his triumphant return to the same fair in his hometown of Tupelo 11 years later, this time surrounded by the National Guard to help keep the crowd, mainly young girls, under control. Even after that triumphant return to Tupelo, Elvis would on occasion drive down...
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