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!

Love Letters

It’s February. Love is in the air and, hopefully, in the mail. Elvis received thousands of love letters and fan mail throughout his career. That tradition continues this year: We’re asking fans to write love letters to Elvis, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Fans can write about how he impacted their lives, why they love him and his music and their connection to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Visit Graceland.com for details on how you can send your love letter to Elvis (a few lucky fans may even score an Elvis-themed Valentine’s basket!) – but let’s take a look back at some of Elvis’ more memorable fan letters. This letter arrived in 1958, when stamps cost about three cents each. One of the most charming parts of the letter is the closing line: “We’re counting on you.”   This next letter, sent in the ’60s, is a heartfelt note from a fan. It doesn’t get much more sincere than this.   This letter, from 1964, is from someone who isn’t a fan of Elvis’ music, but instead appreciated his patriotism. Elvis purchased President Franklin Roosevelt’s U.S.S. Potomac early in 1964, and gave it to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis to sell as a fundraiser. “Americans of all ages should be proud of you, and with our nation in the hands of young people such as you, we should not fear the future,” Mrs. R.S. Stevens wrote to Elvis.   Few letters are as heartfelt as those from Elvis’ youngest fans. This 12-year-old loved Elvis’ ’68 TV special, and she wished him a merry Christmas, too. It would’ve cost Becky about six cents to mail this letter.   Some Elvis fans were serving in Vietnam and had to miss that iconic TV special. That didn’t stop a few of them from sending him a letter from the other side of the world, expressing their love for his music. In 1969, air mail cost about 10 cents. These fans, Mike and Patrick, also shared their condolences on the death of Dewey Phillips.   Not all letters from fans were happy ones – especially if they thought he’d changed his appearance. Many fans wrote in to Elvis after they saw pictures of him at Sonny West’s wedding. They thought he’d grown his hair out to his shoulders, and they hated the look. In fact, he had not grown his hair out – the collar...
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Best Valentine’s Day Gifts for Elvis Fans

You love her tender. He’s your teddy bear. You wear his ring around your neck. She’s got you all shook up. Valentine’s Day is almost here, and if your valentine loves Elvis, you can do no wrong with a gift inspired by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. We’ve found the best Valentine’s Day gifts for the special Elvis fan in your life at Shop Graceland. Take a look at our suggestions below, and visit Shop.Graceland.com for even more options. FOR HER   Elvis Crystal Embellished Brown Sunglasses by Sandy Martindale   Does it get more stylish than this? These sparkling sunglasses are a must for the trendy Elvis fan. Each pair is meticulously crystalized by hand using Swarovski Crystal Elements on both earpieces and modeled after a black pair worn by the designer, Sandy Martindale. This Graceland exclusive comes with a protective hard shell zipper case and cleaning cloth, as well as UV400 Polarized lenses, so they’re both protective and stylish. See this product at Shop.Graceland.com.   Lowell Hays Sterling Silver Plated Heart Pave Charm   This charm speaks right to the heart. This gorgeous heart charm was inspired from a necklace Lowell Hayes made for his soon-to-be-wife, Linda. Elvis loved the idea and asked Lowell to create one for him. This heart features 40 pavé set crystals in sterling silver, complete with Elvis’ name engraved on the back. It’s a perfect addition to a charm bracelet, or it can be worn as a necklace. See this product at Shop.Graceland.com.    Elvis Heart Women’s T-Shirt   This adorable scoop-neck shirt features a glittery silver and navy design that’s sure to catch the eye. The lightweight fabric makes it perfect to wear by itself in the summer, or it can be paired with a cute cardigan in the colder months. See this product at Shop.Graceland.com.    Pink Hearts Square Compact   This Elvis compact is a great addition to a large gift, or a cute, stand-alone happy. This pink 1950s compact features two mirrors inside – one standard mirror and one 2X magnifying mirror – and is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, in a purse or in the pocket of a pair of jeans. It’s sleek and stylish, and it goes with everything. See this product at Shop.Graceland.com.   Elvis Kisses Heart Frame   What says love more than hearts and kisses – and Elvis? This...
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The Gates of Graceland

One of the most iconic features of Elvis Presley’s Graceland isn’t even in the home: it’s the gates of Graceland. Elvis fans from all over the world travel to Memphis to see the mansion, with its famous Jungle Room, totally rock ‘n’ roll TV and pool rooms, its spacious yard and impressive car collection. But the gates of Graceland are instantly recognizable, with their one-of-a-kind sheet music design. Fans tour the mansion, of course, but part of the Graceland experience also means snapping a photo of the gates -or in front of the gates – and signing the wall. Elvis purchased Graceland on March 25, 1957, and he wasted no time turning it into his own castle. In fact, the gates were installed less than a month later, on April 22. The Graceland Archives have an invoice from Tennessee Fabricating Company for the gate at $1,339.00 in April 1957.  There are also invoices and checks  for Dillard Door Company for the gate operators, which includes three car controls. Fans would often line up and hope to catch the world’s most famous entertainer leave or enter those gates. Sometimes he’d sign autographs from behind them, and fans could see him and his family horseback riding on the Graceland property. Today, the gates still serve their original purpose: to protect the rock ‘n’ roll mansion of Elvis Presley, and they still look as gorgeous as ever. Fans snap selfies in front of the gate, and take a minute to leave a personal message to Elvis on the wall. Fans from across the world have left heartfelt messages over the years. The gates of Graceland have stood the test of time, and fans love this unique feature of the King’s castle. Have you left a message on the wall, or taken your picture at the gates? If so, tag us on Twitter or Instagram – we’re @VisitGraceland on both – or use the hashtag #GracelandGates. You could be featured on...
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Play the Graceland Trivia Game

Think you know everything Graceland? Put your knowledge to the test with a Graceland Trivia game! Find out if you make it to the gates of Graceland, the grounds, the front door or inside...
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Young Elvis

The young king grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, an east Mississippi town with sweltering summers, rolling clay hills, dirt roads and sweet Southern charm. Elvis lived with his family in Tupelo until he was 13; after that, it was off to the big city of Memphis. Still, Elvis never forgot Tupelo, and his childhood friends and playmates have never forgotten him and the happy times they shared. A few of Elvis’ childhood friends often spend time at the Elvis Presley Birthplace, greeting fans from all over the world and sharing personal stories of Elvis’ young days. “As they would say in Tupelo, he was just a little snotty-nosed boy when I was born,” Elvis’ lifelong friend Guy Harris told the North Mississippi Daily Journal in 2010. Guy was a few years younger than Elvis, but that didn’t stop the two boys from becoming good friends – such good friends that, when Elvis introduced Guy to Priscilla, he said Guy “was my best friend growing up.” “I sat right behind him in class in the sixth grade at Milam, and we run around together. I rode him around on my bicycle all over town,” his friend James Ausborn said in an interview with the Daily Journal. “We’d go fishing together down on the creek, on Mud Creek, and he would start singing. I’d get on to him singing. I’d tell him, ‘We ain’t gonna catch no fish, you keep singing.” Guy remembers swimming with Elvis at the swimming hole, and fibbing to Gladys about where they’d been. Gladys was protective of her only son, Guy said, so she didn’t like him playing too far from home where she couldn’t keep an eye on him. Sam Bell remembers fun, carefree days playing with a young Elvis in Tupelo. At a Fan Club event during the 2015 Birthday Celebration, Sam recalled the pair hiding out in a tree house, Elvis’ mother Gladys making them snacks (“She made the best Kool-Aid,” Sam said) and Elvis’ early fascination with music. Gladys purchased a guitar for Elvis from Tupelo Hardware for his 11th birthday. Tupelo heard Elvis’ first attempts on the instrument, and his first chords at singing in public. He carried his beloved guitar to school and competed in a talent show – taking home the fifth place award. But Gladys wouldn’t let Elvis take the guitar outside, where it could get damaged or dirty, Sam said. Elvis...
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Graceland’s Top 14 Moments of 2014

Fans got closer to Elvis than ever before, thanks to the new Archives Studio. Elvis’ favorite car shines again. Priscilla shared her vision for Graceland. Elvis’ contribution to music history was celebrated. A few royals came to visit the King’s castle. 2014 was an exciting  year for Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Take a look at our wonderful year, and share some of the  memories you made at Graceland in 2014. From our family to yours, Happy New Year!   iPad Tour Launch   Elvis loved technology, so no doubt he would approve of Graceland’s state-of-the-art upgrade: the new interactive iPad tour. Launched during Elvis week, the iPad tour gives guests a 21st century view of one of the world’s most historic landmarks. Fans can explore content hotspots, which, when activated, allow them to dive deeper into Elvis’ life through unique archival video, audio and photo elements. Elvis fan and celebrated actor John Stamos narrates the tour. John Stamos Lights Up Graceland   Speaking of Stamos, our iPad tour narrator turned on the Christmas lights at Graceland this year, and what a magical night it was. Patients from Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital helped him flip the switch on Elvis’ original decorations, and Santa made an appearance, too. The holiday decorations are on display through Elvis’ birthday. Archives Studio Opens   Fans can get closer to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll than ever before, thanks to the new Archives Studio. The studio opened in August and is home to the Graceland Archives Experience, which gives fans a peek into the archives vault to see artifacts not seen on the traditional tour. Fans have enjoyed seeing photographs, outfits, documents, film clips and more, some of which is being displayed for the first time. 60 Years of Elvis Exhibition Opens   The big bang of Rock ‘n’ roll was in July 1954, when Elvis recorded his first song, and fans all over the world celebrated the 60th anniversary this year. To celebrate the milestone anniversary, a new exhibit, “60 Years of Elvis,” debuted at Graceland as a part of the Graceland VIP tour. Rare artifacts on display include Elvis’ personal “That’s All Right” 45 RPM record, a pay stub from his early days as a driver at Crown Electric, an original script from “Jailhouse Rock” and much, much more. The exhibit is open through February 2015.   60th Anniversary Concert Rock ‘n’ roll’s diamond anniversary was...
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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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