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!

Inside Elvis at The O2

Many Elvis fans know the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll never performed outside North America, but that didn’t stop the spread of his global popularity. Across Europe where he maintains superstar status, Elvis fans are now celebrating his long-awaited arrival with a new London exhibition, direct from Graceland in Memphis. Over 300 artifacts have been pulled from the vast Graceland Archives – and a few from Graceland mansion – to create a retrospective of the king’s career and a unique look into his life at Graceland. If you have ever moved once in your life, you know that packing up 300 items and shipping them to a foreign country is no easy task, especially when sending such precious items, including two classic cars. Such was the task for the talented Graceland Archives team, which rose to the occasion in planning the exhibition along with pulling and packing of artifacts and the painstaking task of installation once in London. The timeline for exhibition development and installation was accelerated by space availability at a prime London venue, the famous O2, known during the Olympics as the Arena at Greenwich. If there is ever a must-see concert in London, it is always at The O2, which made it the perfect place for a king-sized Elvis exhibition. Twenty-thousand square feet of space at London’s main stage now houses a nine-month run of an amazing exhibition that traces the steps of the Presley family from Tupelo to Memphis all the way through his record-breaking performances in Las Vegas. Most personal is the Graceland section of the exhibit which features a select few artifacts from the mansion, including a bust of Elvis made by a fan. This artifact has been seen by millions of visitors to Graceland over the years, and while you might miss it if you blink during the mansion tour, it takes center-stage in London sitting in front of a larger than life photo of the living room covering an entire wall. For visitors, this and other artifacts are the closest some will ever come to seeing Graceland. On opening day, one fan that travelled two hours by train to London remarked that her husband who was battling terminal cancer would never make it to Memphis. To them, this exhibit was a dream come true. During what is a difficult time for families, this was a rare, joy-filled day, and it was all because...
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Remembering the Attack on Pearl Harbor

As much as Elvis Presley gave back, he could have been nicknamed the King of Generosity. This week marks the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Today, millions visit the USS Arizona Memorial, thanks, in part, to Elvis. More than 2,400 were killed and 1,178 were wounded in the surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy  against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The USS Arizona was sunk, and 1,177 of its crewmen were killed. The attack led to the United States’ entry into World War II. Elvis performed for service personnel and their families at Pearl Harbor on November 11, 1957, his last public performance before he entered the Army. Elvis was drafted into the Army that year, and he served two years before being honorably discharged in the spring of 1960. Later that year, Elvis and his manager, Col. Tom Parker, learned that there was a fundraiser for a memorial to the USS Arizona, which was sunk at Pearl Harbor. The pair decided to raise money for the memorial with a benefit concert. Col. Parker announced the concert on January 11, 1961, at the Hawaiian Village Hotel in Honolulu. Every dime raised at the concert would go to the benefit, he said, and even Elvis himself would have to buy a ticket to get in – and he did. “You know,” Parker told the crowd, “Elvis is 26, and that’s about the average age of those boys entombed in the Arizona. I think it’s appropriate that he should be doing this.” Elvis’ trip to Hawaii was all about TCB – not only was he going to raise money for the memorial, but he also started filming “Blue Hawaii.” Elvis flew to Honolulu with his co-star for the show, Minnie Pearl, on March 25, 1961. Fans lined up to greet him, of course, and he spoke at a press conference. The show took place that night at Pearl Harbor’s Bloch Arena, and Elvis was accompanied by the Jordanaires, Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana. Seats closest to the stage sold for $100, while other tickets were sold for $3-10. It was Elvis’ last public performance until his iconic 1968 television special. It was also the last time he wore his gold lamé suit. Elvis’ concert raised awareness of the fundraiser, and the remaining funds needed were raised quickly. The memorial was completed a year later, and...
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Unseen Graceland: In the Details

In October, we took you “Beyond the Ropes” with our first Unseen Graceland post. We’re back again with another Unseen Graceland feature, and this time we’re focusing on the details of Elvis’ home, cars and more. Thousands of fans visit Graceland, the car museum and other exhibits on the property, and they see so much, but there’s still even more to discover. From hidden fixtures to used appliances, let’s dig into the details of some of Elvis’ most beloved parts of his home.   The kitchen was a busy hub at Graceland, and Elvis was always happy to have his guests’ favorite meals prepared for them. Fans simply walk through the kitchen on the way to the basement, but if you open the drawers – and we ask that you don’t, because the drawers are beyond the ropes – you’ll find all of the utensils that were used to cook delicious meals at Graceland. As fans move from the dining room to the kitchen, they walk by – and usually don’t even notice – a staircase that leads upstairs. That’s OK, because upstairs is off limits, but fans do miss this stunning light fixture that hangs in that stair way. The beautiful jewels provide a colorful show when it’s turned on. Hay, hay and more hay – what else can you expect to find in a barn loft? The horses here at Graceland, several of which are rescues, would surely love this photo. The horses currently kept at Graceland are Bandit, a rescued Quarter Horse; Candy, a Tennessee Walking Horse; and Max, another rescued horse. A Golden Palomino named Tucker is here in honor of Elvis’ Golden Palomino, Rising Sun, which inspired him to name the barn the House of the Rising Sun. Now let’s take a peek inside Elvis’ rides – there are plenty of surprises in the car museum. Elvis’ pink Cadillac is a sight to behold. The cool thing is, it’s just as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside. Elvis purchased his famous pink Cadillac in 1955 and later gave it to his mother, Gladys. The matching pink interior still looks flawless. The “E” in the floorboard is the perfect finishing touch. It’s definitely a Cadillac fit for a king – or his mama. Elvis had the latest and greatest technology of his time, including this smooth car phone in his Mercedes limousine, on display at the car museum....
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Merry Mail: Elvis’ Christmas Cards from Celebrities

Imagine making a list of your Christmas card recipients, and one of the people on that list is none other than Elvis Presley. Plenty of celebrities and entertainers sent cards to Elvis and his family during the holiday season. Some cards included personalized notes, but some didn’t. Some included family portraits. Some were funny; some were sacred. Elvis kept these special cards, and sent some out himself, which often included happy holiday wishes from  his manager, Col. Tom Parker. The Colonel was fond of sending telegrams to wish stars a happy holiday or happy birthday, as well as wishing them a good opening night on a performance. He often signed such messages from himself and Elvis, but he also sent Elvis a “Happy Thanksgiving” message one year. (Click the photos to enlarge.) Elvis received a sweet card from actress Jayne Mansfield, her husband Matt Cimber and her four children. Another card with a family portrait is this gem from the Nelson family, sent at Christmas 1967. It’s from Rick Nelson and his wife Kris, and their (at the time) three children, Tracy and twins Matthew and Gunnar. Elvis also received this card from his drummer, DJ Fontana, and his family. Comedian George Burns wanted to wish a happy holidays in many languages. Singer Sammy Davis Jr. sent Elvis a beautiful spiritual scene. Some celebrities couldn’t resist a laugh, even at the holidays. Bob Hope and Sophie Tucker’s cards surely made Elvis smile. As the year rounded out, Elvis didn’t just receive holiday mail, but also Happy New Year cards and messages. Here’s a telegram to the Colonel from “Casablanca” director Michael...
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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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