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!

50th Anniversary: Elvis Presley’s ‘Double Trouble’

Double the Elvis movies, double the fun! Just a few weeks after “Easy Come, Easy Go,” was released, Elvis Presley’s next movie, the musical comedy “Double Trouble,” followed. Like “Easy Come, Easy Go,” the “Double Trouble” movie doesn’t top many fans’ lists of favorite Elvis films, and it performed well – but not great – at the box office. Still, fans enjoy the laughs, the music and, of course, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, in this romp about a rock star who gets mixed up with an heiress, jewel thieves and detectives. “Double Trouble” is Elvis’ 24th film. He actually filmed it before he filmed his 23rd film, “Easy Come, Easy Go,” although “Easy Come, Easy Go” was released just before “Double Trouble.” Elvis filmed “Double Trouble” in July – August 1966, and it was released April 5, 1967. The original working title of the film was “You’re Killing Me,” but “Double Trouble” worked better. Norman Taurog directed these nine Elvis’ films, more than any other director: “Double Trouble” “G.I. Blues” “Blue Hawaii” “It Happened at the World’s Fair” “Spinout” “Tickle Me” “Speedway” “Live a Little, Love a Little” “Girls! Girls! Girls!” Other Norman-directed movies are “Skippy,” “Boys Town” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” He also cast many of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Dean Martin, Donna Reed and more. Elvis’ “Double Trouble” co-star Annette Day made her film debut in this movie. She was working at an antique shop when she was discovered by a producer but “Double Trouble” was the only movie Day ever made. Stage, film and TV actor John Williams, who stars in “Double Trouble,” also starred in “Sabrina” (as the chauffeur) and Alfred Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief.” While the movie took place in Belgium and Britain, it wasn’t filmed there. Elvis made the movie entirely on the MGM lot in Culver City, California. While Elvis was filming this movie, he went to a Jackie Wilson concert and met the singer backstage. Elvis invited him to the set of “Double Trouble.” At the Jackie Wilson show, Elvis also met singer James Brown. Elvis was good friends with both Jackie and James for the rest of his life. Speaking of James Brown, you can check out a suit James sported on stage at our new exhibit, Icons: The Influence of Elvis Presley. The exhibit features artifacts from artists who were...
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Elvis Presley’s ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ Turns 50

Romance, comedy and an underwater treasure – what more do you need? It’s the 50th anniversary of Elvis’ 23rd movie, “Easy Come, Easy Go.” The movie premiered in March 1967. While it didn’t make a huge impression at the box office, Elvis fans were happy with the colorful, adventurous plotline, Elvis tunes and, of course, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll himself. In “Easy Come, Easy Go,” Elvis stars as Ted, a former U.S. Navy frogman and singer. He discovers a treasure in a sunken ship and sets out to get it for himself. Standing in his way are Gil (Skip Ward) and Dina (Pat Priest), who aim to claim the treasure for themselves. The movie was filmed in September and October 1966. “Easy Come, Easy Go” was directed by John Rich, who also directed “Roustabout.” This musical comedy was the last movie he directed; he went on to gain fame as a comedy TV director. He directed shows like “All in the Family,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Gilligan’s Island” and many more. Speaking of folks Elvis worked with previously, Dodie Marshall played Jo in “Easy Come, Easy Go,” and she also starred in “Spinout.” Pat Priest starred as Marilyn Munster in “The Munsters,” and she’s the daughter of Ivy Baker Priest, the former Treasurer of the United States. Madame Neherina was played by Elsa Lanchester, who enjoyed an extensive career in film. She’s most famous for starring in the title role of “Bride of Frankenstein.” If you want to learn even more about Elvis’ movies, visit Graceland. Our new exhibit and entertainment complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, houses Presley Motors, which is home to many of Elvis’ cars – including vehicles used in movies, like the colorful “Mongrel T” seen in “Easy Come, Easy Go.” You can also see movie costumes, props and more at the Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum, the world’s largest Elvis museum, at the complex. Make your plans today to see all of this for...
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Elvis Presley’s Graceland

Sixty years ago this month, Elvis made one of his most important purchases: Graceland. In the spring of 1957, Elvis was filming his second movie, “Loving You,” and his home address was on Audubon Drive in Memphis, Tennessee. He’d had a slew of hits on the charts, and he’d appeared on many national television shows – including, most recently, his third and final “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance. Elvis had outgrown the nice home he enjoyed on Audubon. It was a good home, but his neighbors complained about the seemingly constant stream of fans and the family’s chickens, which lived in the yard (things that never bothered Elvis). Elvis considered buying every neighboring house, but instead, he and his parents decided to find a larger home out in the country. On Saturday, March 16, 1957, Elvis’ parents, Gladys and Vernon, took a tour of Graceland, which was a bit more secluded than the Audubon home. It sat high up on a hill off Highway 51, not far from the Mississippi-Tennessee State line. The Presleys fell in love with the home, which had been built in 1939 by the Toof family. Named Graceland after the owners’ aunt, Grace, the beautiful, two-story home was exactly what they were looking for in a home for their family. They called Elvis, who was filming in Hollywood, and told him the good news. Elvis arrived in Memphis on March 18, and the next day, he put a $1,000 down payment on the home. The purchase was finalized on March 25 for $102,500. Elvis paid $10,000 in cash, received $55,000 from the realty company for the Audubon Drive home and got a 25-year mortgage for the remainder. Elvis purchased the home as well as 13.8 acres of the surrounding farm land. The Presley family had Graceland renovated before moving in, so Vernon, Gladys and Elvis’ grandmother didn’t move in until May 16. Elvis was filming “Jailhouse Rock” by this time, so he didn’t spend the first night there until June 26. Before owning and living in Graceland, Elvis and his parents had lived in several homes and apartments. But with the purchase of Graceland, Elvis found his home. He lived there for the remainder of his life – another 22 years – and made it his own. He redecorated and expanded – Graceland was 10,266 square feet when he moved in, and it’s 17,552 square feet now –...
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The King’s Gold: Elvis Presley’s Gold Lamé Suit

Elvis wore some stunning stagewear during his career. Just think – you can easily name so many of his iconic outfits: the American Eagle jumpsuit from “Aloha from Hawaii,” the black leather suit from the ’68 Special, and, of course, his gold lamé suit. That gold lamé suit turns 60 years old this year, but it looks as brilliant as ever – and it has a new home at Graceland’s new entertainment complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. But more on that in a bit. Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker, commissioned famed tailor Nudie Cohn, to create a sparkling suit for Elvis to wear on stage. Nudie’s suits are famous for their intricate embroidery and rhinestones, and his client list included Hank Williams, Porter Wagoner, John Lennon, John Wayne, Cher and many more. Elvis’ gold lamé suit included the jacket, pants, shoes, necktie and belt, and it cost $2,500. Elvis first wore the suit in late February or March 1957 for a photo shoot, and then wore it on stage for the first time in Chicago on March 28, 1957, and continued to wear the suit throughout 1957. Elvis often substituted black pants for the gold pants. He only wore the full gold suit for three performances: in Chicago on March 28, in St. Louis, Missouri, on March 29, and in Toronto, Canada, on April 2. The glittery gold suit was put into storage while Elvis served in the U.S. Army. After returning from service, he wore parts of it once more, at the benefit concert for the U.S.S. Arizona memorial, on March 25, 1961. At that show, he wore the jacket and necktie, but opted for dark pants. Elvis never wore the suit again. Besides wearing it on stage, the suit is also featured on album covers. If you’d like to see this eye-catching suit for yourself, you’re in luck. It’s on display at the new Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum, the world’s largest and most comprehensive Elvis museum, at our new entertainment complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. The museum also features many of Elvis’ most iconic stage wear – including that Black Leather suit, the American Eagle jumpsuit, and many, many more. Make plans today to see it for...
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Elvis Presley and Racquetball

Elvis Presley worked hard, but when he was ready to relax, he had a plethora of hobbies and pastimes to keep him busy. He loved everything from rollerskating to rollercoasters, from karate to football. He enjoyed going to local carnivals and fairs, and he loved watching movies. In the 1970s, he became interested in a sport that was new to him: racquetball. Racquetball started in the 1950s and became popular by 1969. It’s very similar to both handball and squash. Elvis played his first game in November 1973, and he enjoyed it so much that he started playing at the local Y and at Memphis State. When Elvis was relaxing at home in Memphis, his two favorite things to do were to go to the movies and play a few games of racquetball. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll lived a true rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, so he often stayed up late, watching movies or playing racquetball until the early morning hours. In the summer of 1975, Elvis decided to bring his racquetball hobby closer to home. He began planning to build a racquetball court at Graceland, and construction of the building began in September 1975. For decades, fans have toured Graceland, including the Racquetball Building. The front half of the building looks like a swanky lobby of a racquetball court, complete with a pinball machine, exercise equipment and a piano. The second half of the building was the court, but for many years, the court was an additional trophy hall, filled from floor to ceiling with Elvis’ posthumous awards. The exhibit space also included a few of Elvis’ jumpsuits, which were regularly rotated out to allow the jumpsuits to “rest” in between displays. But we’re shaking things up at Graceland – in a good way! We’re only about a week away from opening up our new entertainment complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis. The new complex will feature new exhibits and museums, including Elvis The Entertainer Career Museum, the largest and most comprehensive Elvis museum in the world. It will include many of the awards you may have already seen in the Racquetball Building’s trophy room, or in the Trophy Building’s Hall of Gold. The museum will feature artifacts from all aspects of Elvis’ career, from his albums to concerts to movies. What does that mean for the Racquetball Building? That means it is the way it was in 1977....
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Elvis Presley and The Blue Moon Boys

At the foundation of Elvis Presley’s career is The Blue Moon Boys. That’s where it all started for Elvis, alongside guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black – and later, of course, drummer D.J. Fontana. These guys created some incredible music and helped jump start the career of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley. It all started in 1954. Scotty and Bill were working with Sam Phillips at Sun Studio with the group, The Starlite Wranglers. The band played country music, but in a few weeks, the guys would be playing rock ‘n’ roll. Elvis spent about a year hanging out at Sun Studio, stopping by to talk to Sam’s secretary, Marion Keisker, and asking about possible recording work. He’d recorded two acetates but wanted to do much more. In the summer of 1954, Marion suggested that Sam give Elvis a chance, and he did. Sam was impressed by the young singer, and he introduced Elvis to Scotty, who later introduced Elvis to Bill. The trio made history on July 5, 1954, when they recorded “That’s All Right” at Sun. A few days later, Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips played it on the radio, and listeners loved it. The guys recorded “Blue Moon of Kentucky” to go on the B-side of the single, which was released on July 19, 1954. It became a regional smash. Scotty served as the manager of Elvis and the guys. In the early days, the guys toured regionally, never going too far – they all still had their day jobs, after all. The Boys appeared regularly at the Eagle’s Nest, a club in Memphis. Sam booked the trio on the Grand Ole Opry, but the show didn’t go over well. Their next stop was the Opry’s competitor, the Louisiana Hayride, which went well – so well that the guys stayed with the Hayride until 1956. Bob Neal took over manager duties, and the guys’ careers continued to climb. D.J. (Dominic Joseph) Fontana also joined the band around this time. He was a drummer on the Louisiana Hayride show, but he played behind the curtain as drummers weren’t yet embraced by country music fans. He played for Elvis for the first time on October 16, 1954, behind the curtain, but later he played out front. He joined the band full time in August 1955. Elvis, D.J., Scotty and Bill continued to make music, tour...
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Planning Your Wedding at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

This is the moment I’ve waited for I can hear my heart singing Soon bells will be ringing… It’s time to say, “I Do,” get hitched, tie the knot, jump the broom and start your own happily ever after. Why not get married at Elvis Presley’s Graceland’s Chapel in the Woods? At Graceland’s beautiful Chapel in the Woods – and with the help of our Special Events team – your wedding dreams can come true. Graceland is one of the most unique and romantic wedding venues, especially for Elvis fans. Even if you choose to have the ceremony elsewhere, Graceland has plenty of unique Elvis-themed venues for your reception. Ready to plan your Elvis and Graceland-themed wedding? Let’s get started. To tie the knot at Graceland, couples must obtain their marriage license in the state of Tennessee. Licenses don’t have to be issued in Memphis – just in Tennessee. There are no blood tests or waiting periods in Tennessee. If you’re already in town and need your license, the Memphis office is open Monday – Friday, with the exception of federal holidays. Learn more at the Shelby County website. Graceland’s Special Events team is proud to offer ceremonies for all religions and sexual orientations. Please feel free to discuss details with your Wedding Coordinator. Speaking of a Wedding Coordinator, all Graceland Chapel in the Woods packages come with a Wedding Coordinator to book your vendors, discuss your desires and coordinate your special day. Coordinators are happy to steam your gown, zip up your dress, pin the boutonnieres and more. Coordinators also offer a complimentary cake cutting service. Now, on to the actual wedding planning – and the first step is to pick the perfect time for your wedding. Graceland has seasonal hours of operations, so you’ll want to check with the Special Events team to schedule your big day. Graceland typically offers weddings at 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Evening weddings are available, too. One of the best times of year to get married at Graceland is in the fall. The autumn leaves start turning in October, and the weather is close to perfect. Another lovely time for a Graceland wedding is the springtime. The Chapel in the Woods is covered in beautiful pink, purple and white flowers, adding a beautiful backdrop for your photos. While Memphis doesn’t typically get a lot of snow or extremely cold...
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Covered by Elvis Presley

There’s an art to covering someone else’s song. Whether you stick to the original or create an entirely new arrangement, it’s up to you to put your own stamp on it. Elvis Presley could take any song and make it his own. Elvis’ catalog included songs written especially for him and a collection of cover songs, and no matter what he sang, he always put that special ‘Elvis’ touch on each and every song. He loved all genres of music and sang songs he loved, songs that meant something to him. If Elvis covered your song, it was like the ultimate compliment. It meant he was a fan of your work. Elvis covered many terrific songs, but for this week’s Graceland Blog, we’ll take a look at just a few fan-favorite covers and covers that meant a lot to Elvis. “See See Rider” Is it C.C. Rider or See See Rider? Either way, it’s been around a while. This traditional blues song was originally recorded as “C.C. Rider” by William Lee Conley, or as he was better known, Big Bill Broonzy, in the 1920s. Ma Rainey made it popular in 1925 as the “See See Rider Blues,” and both Ma Rainey and Big Bill’s versions are much slower than Elvis’ version. Once rock bands took a hold of the song, they sped it up a bit. Both The Animals and Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels covered the song (as both “See See” and “C.C.” respectively). LaVern Baker’s 1962 version is sped up, too, but it’s also bluesy. Elvis’ version is maybe the most energetic version of them all. The king took plenty of cues from Baker’s version when he and his band readied it for his tours. Elvis actually never recorded “See See Rider” for an album, but it was used in his live concerts. You can hear Elvis’ versions of “See See Rider” on “Aloha from Hawaii” and “Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis,” to name a few. “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” If you think of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” chances are you think of Elvis’ version, or Willie Nelson’s version, or both. The beautiful country song was written by Fred Rose, who wrote a number of country hits, including a few tunes written with Hank Williams. Roy Acuff first recorded the song in 1947, and Willie Nelson recorded his slower version...
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Elvis Presley’s #1 Hits

Elvis Presley had a lot of hit singles. A lot. Seriously. A lot. If you’ve ever visited Graceland, you’ve no doubt been a little blown away by Elvis’ countless Gold, Diamond and Platinum Records. It’s fun to pick out your favorite songs on the walls and even snap a selfie with your favorite Gold Record. To celebrate Elvis’ iconic and groundbreaking music, we’re going to cover Elvis’ #1 hits here on the Graceland Blog. We’ll share the backstory of each song, who played on it, where it landed on various charts and more. We’ll tackle a few at a time, and every few months or so. Here are the stories of a few of Elvis’ #1s, picked at random. “Don’t Be Cruel” “Don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true I don’t want no other love, baby, it’s just you I’m thinking of…” Elvis recorded this song at RCA Studios in New York on July 2, 1956. The track was written by Otis Blackwell. Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker, struck a deal so that Elvis would receive a cut of the publishing ownership on many songs he recorded, so Elvis’ name appears in the writing credits for “Don’t Be Cruel.” Elvis was not happy with that deal, however, so soon this practice was scrapped. For “Don’t Be Cruel,” Elvis was backed by his band: Scotty Moore on guitar, Bill Black on bass and D.J. Fontana on drums. Shorty Long played piano, and The Jordanaires performed backing vocal duties. Ernie Ulrich was the engineer. Elvis asked for personal copies of the acetates from this recording so he could study them. He wanted to make sure his live performances had the same feel as his recordings. The single “Don’t Be Cruel” shipped on July 13, 1956 (remember – he’d only recorded it 11 days earlier). It sold so quickly that five gold records were given to Elvis on one plaque. “Don’t Be Cruel” hit #1 on all three major U.S. charts, and it was #1 on Billboard’s pop single charts for 11 weeks, staying a total of 27 weeks on the chart. It also landed at #1 on the country singles chart, where it stayed for 10 weeks, with a total of 28 weeks on the chart. It stayed at #1 on the R&B singles chart for a week and spent 17 weeks on the chart. In 2002, “Don’t Be Cruel”...
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Trivia: Elvis Presley’s 1957

Last year on the Graceland Blog, we focused quite a bit on Elvis Presley’s 1956 and his many accomplishments made during that year. But as we all know, Elvis’ incredible shot to stardom didn’t end in that year. He enjoyed many more successes in 1957, including making more movies, purchasing Graceland and recording more music. How well do you know Elvis’ 1957? Take the quiz below, and stay tuned to the Graceland Blog this year. We’ll highlight many of these milestones, as well as other important anniversaries from Elvis’ legendary life and career. Before you take the quiz, don’t forget to go head over to Graceland.com and book your visit to the king’s castle. If you want to learn everything about Elvis, Graceland is the place to...
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