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!

The Concert Seen Around the World: ‘Aloha from Hawaii’

Forty-five years ago, this month, Elvis made history in Hawaii. Elvis’ iconic special, “Aloha from Hawaii,” aired on January 14, 1973, and it was the first entertainment special by a solo artist to be broadcast live around the world. 1972 and 1973 were great years to be Elvis fans. In 1972, Elvis released the documentary “Elvis on Tour,” giving fans a good long look at his concerts and the work that went into producing them. In fact, the “Aloha from Hawaii” concert was supposed to take place in November 1972, but MGM, who produced the documentary, feared it was too close to the movie’s opening. “Aloha” was pushed to January 1973. The November 1972 concerts happened, anyway, but they weren’t filmed. Two press conferences were held to promote “Aloha.” The first was on September 4, 1972, in Las Vegas, followed by a second on at Hawaiian Hilton Village in November 1972. Elvis arrived in Hawaii on January 9, 1973, to begin rehearsals. Naturally, such a big production needed a few back-up plans and extra precautions. Elvis had two of the exact same jumpsuits made for the show, including one to wear in the dress rehearsal on January 12. In fact, that dress rehearsal was also filmed, just in case there were issues with the satellite broadcast and the rehearsal show needed to be broadcast instead. Elvis took the stage just after midnight, Hawaii time, on January 14. Naturally, Elvis wanted to use the concert to give back. There was no set ticket price for the concert; instead, donations were given. The more the donation, the better the seat. Elvis actually purchased a ticket for himself and his entourage at $100 each (which, with inflation, would be over $575 in today’s money). He asked that donations and merchandise sales go to the Kui Lee Cancer Fund, which had been established following the songwriter’s death in 1966. Lee wrote hits like “Ain’t No Big Thing,” “The Days of My Youth” and “I’ll Remember You,” which Elvis covered in many of his concerts, including in the “Aloha” special. The goal was to raise $25,000, but – of course – that goal was surpassed. A total of $75,000 was raised for the fund. Elvis’ “Aloha from Hawaii” aired in more than 40 countries across Asia and Europe. The special didn’t air in the United States on January 14, though. There was another major...
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ABCs of E(lvis) – The Trivia Game

This weekend is the Elvis Birthday Celebration at Graceland! We have a weekend full of special events and festivities to celebrate the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s birthday on January 8. How well do you know Elvis, his music, his movies and his personal life? Take the quiz below and find out if you know the ABCs of...
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Graceland’s Top 20 Moments of 2017

No matter what year it is, our New Year’s Resolutions here at Graceland are always the same: Celebrate the life and legacy of Elvis Presley. Find new and interesting ways to tell Elvis’ story so that it’s always fresh, even to Elvis fans who have visited the king’s castle a hundred times. Introduce Elvis to a new generation of fans. This year, 2017, we can say we did all those things – and on a much larger, more grand scale than ever before. This year, Graceland and Elvis fans celebrated Elvis in amazing ways that were – you guessed it – fit for a king. Let’s look at our best moments of 2017 – in no particular order! 20. Make Room in the Hall of Gold And with new music releases comes more awards for the king! At Elvis Week, Priscilla Presley accepted new Gold and Platinum Awards for Elvis’ two albums with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, “The Wonder of You” and “If I Can Dream.” The awards are now on display at – where else? – Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum. 19. New Elvis Tunes Can’t get your fix of Elvis? No worries – you had plenty of new music to keep you satisfied this year. If you love Elvis with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, you must own the new Christmas album, which pairs the orchestra’s beautiful arrangements with Elvis’ best holiday performances. Earlier this year, a new set, “Elvis Presley – A Boy From Tupelo – The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings,” celebrated the king’s earliest recordings. A vinyl package, “A Boy From Tupelo: The Sun Masters,” was also released in 2017 and featured Elvis’ Sun recordings. You can pick up all of these releases now at Shop Graceland, or at gift shops here at Graceland. 18. Elvis on Tour This year, you could travel across America, over to Europe and down to Australia and find an Elvis concert happening. Several tours celebrating Elvis’ collaboration with a live orchestra took place all around the world. The “Wonder of You” tour featured a live orchestra with Elvis on the big screen. Fans loved having the chance to see the king “live in concert” again. 17. Elvis on Tour: The Exhibition Dig deep into Elvis’ touring years at Elvis on Tour: The Exhibition, on display now at The O2 in London. This incredible exhibition showcases more than 200 artifacts from Elvis’ live shows and tours,...
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Elvis Presley and the Gold Cadillac Tour

Here at Graceland, we understand how thrilling it can feel to get up close and personal with the king’s things. Whether it’s the black leather suit from the ’68 special, the Pink Cadillac, his Grammy Awards or Graceland itself, fans love getting a glimpse of the things Elvis owned, loved and appreciated. And this trend didn’t start in 1982, when Graceland was opened to the public for tours. In 1965 and 1968, Elvis’ gold Cadillac hit the road to promote Elvis. The Cadillac was purchased from Southern Motors, Inc., of Memphis, for $11,064.25 on December 22, 1959 and delivered on December 29, 1959. Elvis put down a deposit of $2,000 for George Barris to customize it in November 1961, and he paid an additional $3,000 for more work in March 1962. Elvis was promoting his latest movie, “Tickle Me,” but his manager, Col. Tom Parker, knew he couldn’t send the very busy King of Rock ‘n’ Roll on the road for a promotional tour. Instead, he and RCA sent the Cadillac on tour in the spring of 1965. Gabe Tucker, driver and tour manager for RCA, helped oversee the project. The Cadillac’s 1965 spring tour made these stops in the Southeast: Rialto Theater, Atlanta, Georgia – May 28 – On display for four days. Estimated attendance: 50,000. Cobb Theater, Atlanta, Georgia – June 4 – Daytime display Estimated attendance: 5,000. Toco Theater, Atlanta, Georgia – June 4 – Evening display. Estimated attendance: 1.500. Lenox Square, Atlanta, Georgia – June 5 – Displayed for one day. Estimated attendance: 27,000. Belvedere Theater, Atlanta, Georgia – June 6 – Displayed for one day. Estimated attendance: 2,000. Dealer Showing, Atlanta, Georgia – June 8-11 – All dealers from the Atlanta region attended the showing. John Lee’s Music Store, Anderson, South Carolina – June 12 – On display for one day. Estimated attendance: 50,000. Broadcasters’ Convention, Calloway, Georgia – June 13 – On display for one day. Station managers and program directors from the area attended the convention to see the car. S&W Music Store, Aniston, Alabama – June 24 – On display for one day; no record of attendance. Eastwood Mall, Birmingham, Alabama – June 25 – On display for two days; no record of attendance. Roebuck Shopping Center, Birmingham, Alabama – June 26 – On display for the evening; no record of attendance. Capri Theater, Birmingham, Alabama – June 27 – On...
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Elvis Presley’s #1 Hits – Part 4

Performing to sold-out crowds of adoring fans. Winning awards and accolades. Topping the charts. Elvis Presley, like so many musicians before and since, had those same dreams – and he accomplished his goals in dazzling, legendary fashion. Elvis didn’t just top the charts once, or even a few times – he did it repeatedly. He scored so many No. 1 hits that we’re on part four of our series about Elvis’ hit singles. Check out part one, part two and part three – and now, on to part four. “Don’t” This you can believe I will never leave you Heaven knows I won’t Baby, don’t say don’t On September 6, 1957, Elvis was at Radio Recorders in Hollywood and was scheduled to record material for a Christmas album. It was September, though, and Elvis wasn’t in the Christmas spirit just yet. Instead he recorded “Don’t,” written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who wrote a slew of Elvis hits such as “Jailhouse Rock,” “Bossa Nova Baby,” “Trouble” and “Treat Me Nice.” Musicians Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana, Bill Black and Dudley Brooks perform on the track. Elvis’ regular back-up vocalist group, The Jordanaires, were teamed up with soprano Millie Kirkham for the first time at this session. “Don’t” was paired with “I Beg of You,” and the single was released in January 1958. The song topped the Billboard pop singles chart for five weeks. It performed well on other charts, too: “Don’t” peaked at No. 2 on the country chart, and it peaked at No. 4 in its 10-week run on the R&B chart. The track hit No. 2 on Britain’s pop singles chart, and it stayed on the charts for 11 weeks. “Hard Headed Woman” I got a woman, a head like a rock. If she ever went away I’d cry around the clock. Oh yeah, ever since the world began a hard headed woman been a thorn in the side of man. This hit single is from the “King Creole” soundtrack. It was written by Claude DeMetrius, and Elvis recorded it on January 15, 1958 – just a few days following his 23rd birthday – at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. Elvis had already received his military draft notice, but was allowed a deferment on his induction date to have time to make “King Creole,” since Paramount had already spent a lot of pre-production money on the movie. Elvis...
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55 Years of “Girls! Girls! Girls!”

“The Swingin’-est ELVIS + Girls (Girls Girls) + Songs (Lots of Them) – Who Could Ask for Anything More?” That’s what the poster says for Elvis’ 1962 hit musical, “Girls! Girls! Girls!” – and the movie certainly delivered on that promise. Hawaii became a state in 1959, and Elvis was quick to celebrate the lovely state with “Blue Hawaii” in 1961 and “Girls! Girls Girls!” in 1962, followed by “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” in ’66. “Girls! Girls! Girls” was released nationally on November 21, 1962 –  making this year its 55th anniversary. A few of the working titles for this movie include “A Girl in Every Port,” “Welcome Aboard” and “Gumbo Ya-Ya.” Elvis stars in the film alongside Laurel Goodwin, Stella Stevens and Jeremy Slate. Elvis stars as Ross Carpenter, a sailor and Hawaiian fishing guide. He wants to buy a boat, but his plans slow down when he becomes involved with both Robin (Stella Stevens), a young singer, and the sweet-natured Laurel (Laurel Goodwin). His romantic rival, Wesley (Jeremy Slate), owns the boat he wants – and he’s chasing Laurel, too. Jeremy Slate also had a role in “G.I. Blues.” Stella Stevens was, like Elvis, a Mississippi native. She got her start in modeling and acting after moving to Memphis to go to college. Laurel Goodwin shared her memories of working with Elvis at Elvis Week 2017. Robert Strauss, who stars in “Girls! Girls! Girls!” as Sam, appears in another Elvis film, “Frankie and Johnny.” The three Ling children were played by siblings Ginny Tiu, Elizabeth Tiu and Alexander Tiu. Another sibling, Vicky Tiu, also starred with Elvis in “It Happened at the World’s Fair.” As with many of his films, you can spot Elvis’ friends and band members in the background. Legendary drummer Hal Blaine, who played on many of Elvis’ hits, is in the film as – of course – a drummer in the lounge band. Elvis’ stand-in, Lance Le Gault, plays the bass in the band. And Allan Fortas can be spotted catching a fish, while Red West plays guitar on a fishing boat.   One of Elvis’ least favorite tunes on the soundtrack was “Song of the Shrimp.” But it was Col. Tom Parker who found one of the most famous songs on the soundtrack – “Return to Sender” – which is still an Elvis fan favorite. When he wasn’t on the set, Elvis could often be...
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‘Jailhouse Rock’ – The Trivia Game

Just last week, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of one of the most iconic moments in Elvis’ long, legendary career: “Jailhouse Rock.” We’re keeping the festivities going this week with a “Jailhouse Rock” trivia game. How well do you know the movie? Find out if you’ll be dancing to the jailhouse rock or if you’ll be sentenced to a year in jail (just kidding). If you love playing Elvis trivia games, check out these games on the Graceland Blog: Get an A in Elvis Elvis’ 1957 Elvis 101 Graceland Trivia Elvis’ 1956 Elvis’ Television...
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Flippy, Real Flippy: ‘Jailhouse Rock’ at 60

One of Elvis’ earliest and most prolific pop culture-changing moments happened 60 years ago this month: “Jailhouse Rock” was released on November 8, 1957. “Jailhouse Rock” was Elvis’ third movie, but thanks to the electrifying dance scene, Elvis’ leading man status and the iconic inmate costume, the film is one of the most famous Presley pictures. It’s more than a highlight of time in the movie business; it’s one of the most well-known and beloved moments of his entire career. In “Jailhouse Rock,” Elvis stars as Vince Everett, a construction worker who is sentenced to jail after accidentally killing a man in a bar fight. After his release from prison, Vince becomes a singing sensation, thanks to his country star cellmate, Hunk (Mickey Shaughnessy) and Peggy (Judy Tyler) who helps manage his career. Elvis plays the part well, taking Vince from a young man with a hot temper to a rebellious rock star. Fans still swoon at Elvis’ most famous lines from the movie, like “It ain’t tactics honey – it’s just the beast in me.” The famous dance scene is often considered the first “music video.” Choreographer Alex Romero had originally planned for the scene to be full of smooth, Fred Astair-type dancing, but of course, Elvis is Elvis – not Fred Astair. He asked Elvis to perform a few songs as if he was performing on stage at a concert. After watching Elvis’ natural dance moves, he redesigned the entire number. That dance sequence would impact the film in more ways than one. While filming the number, Elvis aspirated a cap off one of his teeth, and it lodged in his lung. He was hospitalized, and his doctor had to part his vocal cords to retrieve it from his lung. Thankfully, Elvis’ golden voice was not harmed, but the incident did influence the movie – that’s why Vince suffers a throat injury toward the end of the film. Elvis was released from the hospital in California the same day as his parents moved into their new home: Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. When filming wrapped, Elvis boarded a train for Memphis. He was excited to see Graceland, so he left the train in Louisiana and rented a car to drive the rest of the way to Memphis. He spent his first night at Graceland on June 26, 1957. Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” co-star Judy Tyler was killed in a...
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‘Elvis on Tour’ Turns 45

Elvis Presley’s award-winning, final film, “Elvis on Tour,” was released 45 years ago this week. “Elvis on Tour” covers Elvis’ 15-city tour in the United States in April 1972. It’s Elvis’ second concert documentary, a follow-up to the 1970 documentary, “Elvis: That’s the Way It Is.” “Elvis on Tour” features concert, rehearsal and backstage footage, interviews with Elvis and his father, Vernon, plus footage of fans’ reactions at various venues. There are also clips from Elvis’ appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and Elvis’ movies. The concert footage included in the documentary was shot in Hampton Roads, Virginia; Richmond, Virginia; San Antonio, Texas; and Greensboro, North Carolina. Robert Abel and Pierre Adidge directed “Elvis on Tour,” and Martin Scorsese worked on the movie, too, overseeing the montage sequences. Fans well-versed in everything Elvis can have fun picking out members of Elvis’ TCB Band, like Ronnie Tutt, James Burton and Glen D. Hardin; members of Elvis’ entourage, such as Jerry Schilling and Charlie Hodge; and the king’s back-up vocal groups, The Sweet Inspirations and J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet. Songs included in “Elvis on Tour” include “A Big Hunk O’ Love,” “Never Been to Spain,” “Polk Salad Annie,” “Burning Love,” “An American Trilogy,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Love Me Tender.” “Elvis on Tour” was a hit upon its release on November 1, 1972, hitting No. 13 on Variety’s National Box Office Survey. Critics loved the documentary, too: the movie won the 1972 Golden Globe Award for Best Documentary. “Elvis on Tour” is a fan favorite, as it showcases Elvis’ powerful live concerts while giving a bit of insight into the man in the jumpsuit. If you’re an Elvis fan in the UK, be sure to check out the new “Elvis on Tour” exhibition at The O2 in London. The exhibition will cover Elvis’ tours from 1969-1977, and will feature artifacts such as jumpsuits, guitars, tour trunks still filled with silk scarves, costume sketches by Elvis’ designer Bill Belew and more. Get your tickets to the exhibition now. If you love Elvis’ music, concerts and movies, the Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum at Elvis Presley’s Memphis at Graceland will soon be your favorite, too. You can see artifacts from Elvis’ film and music careers, including jumpsuits, movie costumes, awards and much more. Learn more about the man himself when you visit Graceland and see how the king lived...
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Step Up Your Selfie Game at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

When you visit a location as iconic as Elvis Presley’s Graceland, you have to take time to take the perfect selfie. After all, what’s better than having your photo made in front of the king’s castle, or with his gorgeous Pink Cadillac, or with his Gold Records? We love seeing the creative photos and selfies that guests have snapped at Graceland – in fact, we’ve dedicated several past blog posts (here and here) to the best shots taken here. But back in March, we opened up our new exhibit and entertainment complex, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, which also opened up a new world for selfies. In this week’s blog, we’ll take a look at the best places to snap a selfie at Elvis Presley’s Memphis – and at Graceland, too, because there is no shortage of places to take a great photo at Elvis’ beloved mansion. As soon as you enter Elvis Presley’s Memphis, you’re greeted with our “Welcome to Graceland” sign. We love that this sign alone makes fans want to jump with joy!       Once inside Elvis Presley’s Memphis, there are a ton of great locations for a photo, especially in the new car museum, Presley Motors, or in Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum, where you can find Elvis’ jumpsuits, awards, promotional photos, early albums and much more.           But of all of the wonderful places for a selfie at Elvis Presley’s Memphis, the most-photographed place is, hands down, a red, light-up ELVIS sign in Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum. This sign brings out everyone’s inner rock star. Check out a few of these incredibly fun photos:           Elvis Presley’s Memphis is great, but you still have to take the perfect selfie at the king’s mansion across the street. Here are a few of our favorite recent selfies snapped at Graceland.             And finally, don’t forget to… We want to see YOUR photos next! Start planning your Graceland experience now – just go to Graceland.com to get your tickets, follow us on Instagram, and when you tag your perfect Graceland selfie, tag it with #Graceland – and you may see yourself on Graceland.com or on a future Graceland Blog post. Happy...
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