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!

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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Elvis Reimagined: Duets and Remixes

Barbara. As in Streisand. Yes, it’s true, Babs and the King will duet on “Love Me Tender” as part of her new Partners album due out (Sept. 16) next week. One of the songs that helped make Elvis a household name, this reimagined duet of “Love Me Tender” has been widely praised by the music industry, considered “breathtaking” by Parade music writer Lindsay Lowe. Approved by the Presley family, a love song is reborn when two icons come together in this delightful duet. Enjoy a sneak peek at the historic track and hear from Streisand about the mutual respect she and Elvis had for each other. It was Streisand who debuted at the opening of the International Hotel, but it was Elvis who broke box office records, making Sin City a destination to see “A list” entertainment. This is not the first time an original by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll has been altered from the master recording originally pressed to vinyl. This is something that irritates a sector of the Elvis fan community, while other fans see it is a welcome adaptation of a classic, made new again and shared with future generations of fans. Regardless of what side you are on in the debate, you have to admit, it is pretty amazing what can be done with modern technology. Elvis was an innovator who always embraced and created the latest trends of his time, and still does today with these groundbreaking duets and remixes. Who can forget the stunning, not just vocal, but video duet featuring Elvis and Celine Dion for the Idol Gives Back telethon in April of 2007. The world watched as the reigning Queen of Las Vegas and the King of Rock crooned the classic “If I Can Dream” from the finale of his 1968 Comeback Special. The magical video that paired Elvis and Celine on stage together for the duet became a global sensation and wound up becoming the #1 video download on iTunes for almost a month. Even more amazing, and touching, are the duets between Elvis and his only child, Lisa Marie Presley. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Lisa surprised a crowd of 20,000 fans at Memphis’ Pyramid Arena with a duet of “Don’t Cry Daddy” during Elvis Week 1997 on the 20th anniversary of her father’s passing. This was followed up in 2007 with “In...
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Elvis: Innovator and Icon of Fashion

Stunning. Just one word sums up how Elvis Presley looked, and it was more than just his chiseled facial features. His charisma and voice are what helped catapult the boy from Tupelo to super-stardom, but you can bet  his personal style is one of the things that set him apart from other acts found on stage at the time, keeping him in the spotlight and in the hearts and minds of many. He will forever be known as an icon of music, film and fashion. As New York City kicks into high gear for Fashion Week, we revisit some of the King’s signature looks, some of them found on display here at Graceland in Memphis. One of the earliest fashions that made him the talk of any town he was in while on tour was his gold outfit originally designed for his manager Colonel Parker, but later altered to fit Elvis. The influential suit featured pants and the sparkly coat, Elvis felt restricted in the pants that also shed gold flakes when moving as he did on stage. Eventually he traded the gold pants for black ones wearing just the coat that alone still caused a stir in every city. The suit was almost as famous as Elvis, a marketing ploy by Colonel Parker involved having the suit brought into a performance venue the day prior by armored vehicle, ensuring press coverage of the delivery and pre-promotion for Elvis’ concert the following day. The jacket is presently on display in Elvis’ Hawaii: Music, Movies and More exhibit at the Graceland Crossing which through February of 2016, displayed the way he wore it when making his first appearance in the Aloha State in 1957. It is virtually impossible to forget Elvis’ steamy performance in Viva Las Vegas with co-star Ann Margaret, the signature tune has become the official anthem of Sin City. As Elvis crooned this classic tune in the finale of what would be his highest grossing film ever, he was wearing a custom red shirt with zipper that is now featured in the 60 Years of Elvis Exhibit at Graceland. The swivel of Elvis’ hips while dancing was known to make his shirts come un-tucked at times, and this particular piece of wardrobe is more of a costume piece comes with straps sewn to the bottom of the shirt that buttoned into the lining of his pants, ensuring his...
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Top 10 Moments of Elvis Week 2014

By Jon Waterhouse With the whirlwind of Elvis Week 2014 now at a close, the task of putting it all into words remains a challenge. Having another opportunity to be dropped in the eye of this event’s hurricane gives me the unique perspective of what an enormous impact Elvis has and continues to have on millions. Elvis Week is the embodiment of that impact and a celebration like no other. Yet probably the most amazing result of Elvis Week is the overflowing feeling of camaraderie, generosity and love. It’s all because of Elvis. Those lines from “If I Can Dream” play out before our eyes at Elvis Week. Our respect for Elvis’s life’s work bulldozes the walls of diversity, creating a place where all of our brothers and sisters do “walk hand in hand.” At Elvis Week, I’ve seen friendships fostered from around the world. I’ve seen unselfish acts of giving in an attempt to make the world a better place. I’ve seen dreams blossom to life and amazing people triumph over tragedy. Elvis Week isn’t simply an event honoring a man and his music. It glorifies the beauty found in humanity and a person who keeps allowing us to see it more clearly. The heartfelt hard work by the staff of Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises certainly goes noticed, and it’s always an honor to work alongside such wonderful people. The passion and dedication coming out of the Elvis Radio studio and heard over the airwaves on SiriusXM is truly unrivaled. Having the chance to collaborate with that crew continues to be a career highlight for me. A sincere thanks to all who took care of business as part of Elvis Week 2014, something I’m so grateful to have been a part of. Don’t forget you can always catch daily videos from Memphis Jones and see more blogs and photos by visiting ElvisWeek.com. See you next year! TCB Elvis fans! MY ELVIS WEEK 2014 TOP 10 So what amazing memories did I chalk up at Elvis Week? The list could take up volumes, but here’s a concise round up of my Top 10. 10. Elvis Night At The Ballpark With Memphis Redbirds Gathering at AutoZone Park for an Elvis-themed ball game with approximately 10,000 fans proved amazing enough. But getting a mini dance lesson from 2013’s Ultimate ETA, Dean Z, took things over the top. Maybe a little...
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Elvis Week Day 8: Elvis Takes the Big Screen

By Jon Waterhouse Walk a mile in my shoes? Yesterday I ran three miles in my shoes for the Elvis Presley 5K. After defying my snooze button, I barely made it to the race on time. I arrived to find Elvis Presley Boulevard packed to the gills with runners ready to slap sneakers on the pavement. Before long we were all off and running down Elvis Presley Boulevard. Soon we cut down a residential street. As I fought to keep a steady pace, I looked up to see a guy running in a full Elvis jumpsuit and flowing cape. His feet were making loud, scraping sounds with each step. That’s when I noticed the dude was running in blue suede shoes. Each time he’d pass a volunteer or a police officer, he’d throw out a “Thank you, thank you very much.” Huffing and puffing along the way, he’d periodically whinny like a horse. Sweat poured from his brow and it was painful just watching him shuffle in those shoes. I said a silent prayer that he didn’t whinny himself into exhaustion. With the temperature beginning to rise, a resident graciously sprayed a garden hose into the air at the mile two marker. The welcomed mist helped me take care of business and amp it up for the final mile. Crossing the finish line, I found a volunteer draping a TCB medal around my neck. Basking in the medal’s coolness, I realized I would’ve run an entire marathon to score something so high on the awesome scale. But no medal could replicate the joy I saw as Becca and Tyke Harrison of Austin, Texas crossed the finish line. I had met the couple at Elvis Week 2013 when Becca was still recovering from a brain tumor and the resulting surgery. Last year she couldn’t walk. This year, however, she was determined to run the 5K. It all resulted in a tear-filled finish with her sign-waving cheering section waiting as she arrived. It’s moments like these that help make Elvis Week more beautiful than words can describe. While chatting with Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist finalist David Allen, who finished the race in a flat 25 minutes, I noticed that Mr. Blue Suede Shoes survived the race. The McKenzie, Tenn. resident, who’s real name is Jeff Sass, tipped back a libation and shrugged off my concerns. “It wasn’t too bad,” he said....
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Elvis Week Day 7: Remembering the King – Elvis Presley

By Jon Waterhouse We’ve heard the old adage “time flies when you’re having fun.” Yet Tom Brown, host of yesterday’s sold-out Conversations on Elvis, proved there’s a reason we’re still saying it. Elvis Week’s ace host has the ability to make three hours feel like 15 minutes. Time breezed by as he chatted with Elvis’s “Kissing Cousins” co-star Cynthia Pepper; Joe Moscheo and Terry Blackwood of The Imperials; Elvis’s conductor Joe Guercio; and Priscilla Presley. Presley’s appearance proved to be the grand finale. Although Brown joked about trying to get Presley to reprise her role on the new version of the TV series “Dallas,” she did reveal several projects she has completed and in the hopper. Fans were treated to larger-than-life images on the big screen taken from her new book “Shades of Elvis,” featuring the photographs of Christopher Ameruoso. In the book, pop culture stars from Cher and Adam Lambert to Tom Jones and Elton John are featured wearing Elvis’s actual sunglasses. For those who would’ve never imagined Priscilla singing onstage, she explained she’s doing just that in a special stage production of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” this holiday season in Manchester, England. Presley plays the Wicked Queen, and she even croons a bar or two from the Elvis classic “Trouble.” Closing out Conversations on Elvis, Brown invited Joe Guercio back on stage to conduct the audience in a sing-along rendition of “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Q&A WITH CYNTHIA PEPPER Q.: How did Elvis break the ice when you two worked together? A.: Well, when I first met him he actually had roses in my dressing room. He didn’t know me, but he had asked for me to be in the picture. I thought, “Elvis has a crush on me!” But that’s not what happened. He gave all of his leading ladies roses. And it was that day I walked down the dressing room stairs, and there he was as the bottom of the stairs with the assistant director. The assistant director introduced us. He said, “Elvis this is Cynthia Pepper. She’s playing Midge Riley.” I put my hand out and he said, “Don’t give me that hand. I want a hug.” When someone does that, it just melts the ice and makes you feel comfortable. I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck, and he really was one of us. Q.: He...
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Elvis Week Day 6: Big Things Happening at Graceland

By Jon Waterhouse     BREAKING GROUND AT THE GUEST HOUSE With the Memphis sun beaming down its approval, fans, Graceland staff and dignitaries gathered for the groundbreaking of The Guest House at Graceland, a resort hotel planned to open in fall of 2016. After Jack Soden unveiled a large rendering of the property and several speakers followed, Priscilla Presley offered closing thoughts. She explained that Elvis always wanted this property, and acquiring it was a dream come true. The plan, she said, is to design it with Elvis’s taste in mind. “When we lived at Graceland, my parents would have to stay at [a nearby hotel],” she said. “Now we have a guest house [for fans].” Gripping a shovel straight from the Graceland grounds, Priscilla, along with other shovel-wielders, officially dipped their tools in the dirt, signaling the beginning a new era of the Graceland experience. Like any great celebration, surprises always spring out of the box at Elvis Week. Yesterday at the Official Insiders Event, we scored a big one. Main stage emcee Tom Brown, the Johnny Carson of Elvis Week, introduced Jack Soden, President and CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises. After some pleasantries, Soden welcomed a living, breathing bonus feature to the Main Stage: Priscilla Presley. Although she’s appearing at today’s Conversations on Elvis, Presley treated fans to an extra sit-down session with Soden and Brown. The gist of the conversation steered toward all of the new enhancements and mega plans for Graceland, from the tablet tour to the auction to the Guest House at Graceland. Despite the new business configurations, both Soden and Presley assured everyone they’re both still heavily involved at the top and have the fans’ interests at heart. For more than two hours, Brown welcomed a string of guests. Highlights included an appearance by Jerry Schilling, one of Elvis’s closest friends and business associates. He recounted several stories, including meeting Elvis for the first time at a pick-up football game and what it was like living behind the gates of Graceland. Other guests followed such as representatives from Sony and Warner Bros. who talked about the new “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” DVD, Blu-ray, CD and theatrical release. The Memphis Boys members Bobby Wood, Gene Chrisman and Reggie Young chatted about jamming with Elvis on iconic cuts at American Sound Studio. Guests were then given another surprise when songwriter Mark James,...
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