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!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Rebel: Elvis Presley on the Milton Berle Show

“Beware of Elvis Presley” Can you imagine such a headline? For a while in 1956, those sorts of headlines dominated the media, following Elvis Presley’s June 5, 1956 performance on the “Milton Berle Show.” Looking at his performance today, it’s downright tame, but in 1956, it was downright scandalous. They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and this performance proved that to be true. No matter what anyone thought about Elvis’ performance, everyone was talking about it, and suddenly, Elvis was in the spotlight. He was a star, a true rock ‘n’ roll rebel.   Elvis kicked off 1956 with his national television debut on the Dorsey Brothers’ “Stage Show,” and he’d make six total appearances on the program. On April 3, 1956, he made his first appearance on the “Milton Berle Show,” performing on the deck of an aircraft carrier. He returned to perform on the show again on June 5, and his fellow guests included “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle” star Irish McCalla, actor Arnold Stang and actress Debra Paget, who, in a few months, would co-star with Elvis in his first film, “Love Me Tender.”   In a fun skit, Berle played a record store manager trying to calm down a group of girls excited to meet Elvis at the store. When Elvis arrived, Berle mistook him for another excited teen, until Elvis proved he was the real deal. Elvis then sang his hit, “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.” Elvis’ performance of “Hound Dog” was what had people talking the next day. Elvis had performed on television before, but he’d often had his guitar with him or had sang ballads. The world simply hadn’t seen him bust out his soon-to-be-famous moves. Toward the end of “Hound Dog,” he and the band tore into a half-time ending to the song, and he gave it his all, in full Elvis swagger, his hips shaking and and black hair shining. The girls in the audience swooned and squealed. Berle interviewed Elvis after his performance and asked him how he liked being the center of attention. Elvis, playing along with the skit, said he didn’t like all of the attention from his female fans and he wanted to date a quiet girl like Debra Paget. Berle introduced him to Debra, who, also playing along, squealed at the sight of Elvis and gave him a huge hug and kiss. The next day,...
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Smile! You’re at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

Here at the king’s castle, we love Instagram. We love seeing pictures of Elvis fans rocking and rolling at Graceland, taking selfies in front of the house, snapping a kaleidoscope-like shot in Graceland’s many mirrors or taking a family portrait in front of the blue Graceland sign. We’re on Instagram, too, and we share our favorite moments and photos of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. As the travel season kicks off, we can’t wait to see what creative photos Elvis fans come up with next. We ask that fans use #Graceland so we can easily find your photo in Instagram. In that tag, you’ll see photos from lifelong Elvis fans, celebs who visit Graceland to even a few world-traveling inanimate objects. Wait – what? Some creative fans have brought along their stuffed or plastic touring companions to Graceland, and we’ve seen them all, from puppets to stuffed animals to Legos to dolls. Check out a few recent favorites: When Elvis fan misslocalinda visited the king’s castle, she brought along the most appropriate traveling companion – #travelingelvis. According to her Instagram, #travelingelvis has also visited New Orleans and New Mexico. This world-traveling teddy has its own Instagram account – teddytravelling, of course – and it’s been to Spain, Miami, New Orleans and Chicago, as well as the Bluff City. This doll named Penny – found on Instagram as adollnamedpenny – is a Canadian doll who has seen the world. Penny has traveled to Iceland, Brazil, Germany, Cuba, China and Hawaii – a favorite vacation spot of the king himself. Enrique Monkey (on Instagram as enriquemonkey) is from Spain, lives in England and recently visited Graceland. Enrique has also enjoyed the sights in Hollywood, Iceland and Slovenia, and he’s toured the Grand Canyon and the White House. patrick_the_starfish2016 – the Instagram account of a plush version of the “Spongebob Squarepants” character Patrick – stopped to sign the wall at Graceland. In addition to Memphis, he’s also toured Oklahoma, New Orleans and St. Louis, Missouri. Of course, we love photos with our living, breathing Elvis fans. Graceland is the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll experience, so you’ll want a photo of yourself here somewhere to capture the moment. Whether it’s at the famous wall, in the Jungle Room or at the blue Graceland sign, you have to snap a selfie to share with your friends (and, of course, make them jealous). Last year, our Elvis Week...
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Elvis Presley’s Day Off

Picture it: Memphis, Tennessee. The sun is shining, there’s a cool spring breeze, and the smell of honeysuckle (and maybe a little barbecue) is in the air. The weather has been gorgeous in the Bluff City for the past few weeks. In fact, it’s been the perfect weather to blow off responsibilities – deadlines, emails, assignments and the like – and enjoy everything Memphis has to offer. As the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley didn’t have average responsibilities; his office was anything from the concert stage to the movie set to the recording studio. But when he wanted to take the day off and have fun, Elvis spent his time at local parks and movie theaters. If Elvis were to have a Ferris Bueller-style day off, what would he do? How did Elvis spend his days off in Memphis? When Elvis wanted to have fun in Memphis, he could usually be found at a movie theater, at the Fairgrounds and at a park playing football. He often had to go late at night or rent a theater or park out at night so he could enjoy his time without being mobbed by thousands of fans. He’d often arrive at about midnight and stay until 3:30 or 4 a.m. – sometimes until dawn. Despite his efforts, fans still often found out about his late-night adventures. In a British fan magazine in June 1962, it was reported he spent one night in Memphis playing football, watching “West Side Story” at a local theater, the Memphian, and enjoying the rides at the Fairgrounds until dawn. Elvis also rented bowling alleys, like the Whitehaven Plaza, and rollerskating rinks, such as the Rainbow Rollerdome. He’d often rent these spaces for a matter of days or weeks at a time, just as he did with movie theaters and amusement parks.   In July 1960, Elvis enjoyed time with friends at McKellar Lake with a new waterskiing boat he’d recently purchased. That same month, he rented out the Fairgrounds to enjoy with his girlfriend, Anita Wood, and friends. The movie theater was Elvis’ home away from home. He loved just about every genre of film. Long before the days of DVDs and BluRays, the only way to see a film was in the theater, so Elvis often watched some of his favorite movies multiple times in a theater. He visited several theaters in Memphis, but the...
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Elvis Presley’s Graceland – Top 20 Moments

3764 Highway 51 South, Memphis, Tennessee. The house at that address – now better known as 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard – has become more than just a house. It’s the home of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley. Millions of fans have made the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll pilgrimage to his home to celebrate and honor him, to light candles in his name and to write messages to him on the wall. Musicians, world leaders and dignitaries have found inspiration on its grounds. This past week, Elvis Presley’s Graceland celebrated 20 million visitors since the house opened to the public in 1982. That’s just the latest milestone during the house’s celebrated and storied lifetime. To continue our 20 Million festivities, check out Graceland’s Top 20 Moments. 1939 – Graceland Built Dr. Thomas Moore and Ruth Brown Moore built Graceland in 1939. The home was named Graceland in honor of Ruth’s aunt, Grace. Learn more about Graceland’s history.   1957 – Elvis Purchases Graceland In March 1957, 22-year-old rock star Elvis Presley purchased Graceland and its grounds for just over $102,000. Elvis had just skyrocketed to fame thanks to hits like “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Don’t Be Cruel,” and he’d already made his first film, “Love Me Tender.”   1957 – Graceland Gates Installed One of the most iconic features of Graceland is its gates, which feature Elvis’ silhouette and music notes. The gates were installed at Graceland in April 1957, and Elvis often greeted fans and signed autographs at the gates. Today, it’s one of the most popular locations for a selfie for Graceland guests. Learn more about Graceland’s gates.   1960 – Elvis’ ‘Home from the Army’ Press Conference at Graceland  Elvis was drafted into the Army at the height of his fame in 1958. When he returned home from active duty, he held a press conference in his father, Vernon’s, office at Graceland. He tells reporters he has no plans to leave Memphis and that “I’m going to keep Graceland as long as I possibly can. …Somebody asked me this morning what I missed about Memphis, and I said, ‘Everything.’”   1968 – Lisa Marie Presley Comes Home from the Hospital Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie was born on February 1, 1968, in Memphis. Elvis and Priscilla brought Lisa Marie home to Graceland a few days later.   1976 – Elvis Records in the...
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Elvis Presley’s Graceland by the Numbers

Put on your party hats, Elvis fans – we’re celebrating. This week, Elvis Presley’s Graceland celebrated 20 million visitors to the king’s castle since opening to the public in 1982. That’s 20 million who have passed through the famous gates of Graceland, 20 million who have rock ‘n’ rolled in the Jungle Room, 20 million who have admired their reflection in Graceland’s mirrors, 20 million who have paid their respects to the king. We have plenty of ways you can help us celebrate, and we’ll get to that in a minute. First, learn more about Graceland’s numbers – because 20 million is just one of our many fascinating numbers. Built in 1939, Graceland is currently 77 years old Graceland has been open to the public for 34 years 20,000,000 visitors have toured Graceland since opening to the public Fans from more than 140 countries have visited Graceland Approximately 3,000 groups (both adult and student) tour Graceland annually The Graceland tour is translated into 9 languages 55 performance groups performed at Graceland in 2015 More than 815 celebrities have visited Graceland 450 rooms at the new Guest House at Graceland (Want to know more about The Guest House at Graceland by the Numbers? Watch this.) Graceland Details: Elvis lived in Graceland for 20 years Elvis was 22 years old when he purchased Graceland Graceland is 17,552 square feet Graceland sits on 13.8 acres of land Elvis purchased Graceland for $102,500 The sofa in the living room is 15 feet long and the coffee table is 10 feet long 14 TVs in the mansion 5 staircases 3 fireplaces 1 pool, which is 10 feet deep 2 lions in front of Graceland 4 horses currently live at Graceland 1 jukebox, which holds 100 45s 3 record players 1 pull-down movie screen 350+ yards of fabric in the Pool Room, which took 3 people 10 days to hang 19 pillows on the sofa in the TV Room In the Graceland Archives: 88 jumpsuits 90,000 images 3,000 pieces of wardrobe 1,000,000+ documents On display are: 14 Grammy nominations 3 Grammy Awards 18 Golden Boot Awards 9 cars 3 Harley Davidson motorcycles 2 Rolls Royces 1 dune buggy 2 super trikes 1 golf cart 2 airplanes 1 grass mobile 1 black leather suit The numbers continue with our 20 Million Elvis Fans Celebration! We have 3 ways to celebrate: 1) Enter our Graceland’s 20 Million Elvis Fans giveaway....
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The King’s Horses

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was a cowboy at heart. And if home is where the heart is, his heart was at Graceland – especially at Graceland’s barn. Elvis and his family owned several horses during their years here at Graceland, and there are still horses that live in the stables behind the king’s castle. When Elvis wasn’t working, he loved to spend time riding horses all over the Graceland grounds. In celebration of the 144th Kentucky Derby next week, let’s meet the horses who call Graceland home. It was almost destined for Elvis to own horses. In 1957, Elvis purchased Graceland, which included the barn behind the mansion itself. The barn, like the house, was built in 1939. Graceland was originally a cattle farm, and the barn actually had air conditioning before the mansion did, to keep the prize bull cool. When Elvis moved in, he kept a few animals in the barn – he owned a few horses and a donkey. But he became a serious horse owner in 1966. That Christmas, Elvis purchased a Quarter Horse named Domino for Priscilla, his soon-to-be wife. He also purchased a horse named Sheba for Priscilla’s friend Sandy, so the pair could ride their horses together. Elvis soon bought a horse that would become his favorite, a golden palomino Quarter Horse named Rising Sun. Of course, the barn had to get a new name, too, and it became House of the Rising Sun. It wasn’t long before the barn was full of horses. One of Elvis’ favorites was a Tennessee Walking Horse named Bear. He also loved Mare Ingram, a grand mare he named after Memphis Mayor William B. Ingram. He purchased horses for his friends and family, too. A few of Elvis’ horses include Ebony’s Double, Beauty, Buckshot, Lady, Golden Sun, Star Trek, Sun Down, Thundercloud, Memphis, Flaming Star (doesn’t that name sound familiar?) and Traveler, who had been previously owned by Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary. Elvis’ daughter Lisa also had her own horse, Moriah. The last horse Elvis purchased was a Tennessee Walking Horse named Ebony’s Double. Alene Alexander rode Ebony’s Double in the horses’s retirement ceremony in 1983 at the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration. Alene started working as a tour guide at Graceland when it opened to the public in 1982, and she still works at Graceland as the stables ambassador. She and her...
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Stop, Look and Listen: Elvis Presley’s Stereos

Every April, the world celebrates Record Store Day, which focuses on vinyl records and the physical shops that sell them. This month’s Gates of Graceland episode shows off a few of Elvis Presley’s favorite 45s. But what’s a record without a record player? Elvis loved music, and he made sure you could hear it all over Graceland. He could play selections from his extensive record collection anywhere, whether he was in his bedroom, downstairs in his colorful TV Room, in the Jungle Room and even in his own racquetball court. Let’s take a look at  some of the stereos and record players here at Graceland. The TV Room at Graceland was really Elvis’ place to enjoy entertainment. In addition to the room’s three TV sets, this room is also home to a stereo, jukebox and record player. Elvis owned thousands of records, and most of them were housed in the TV Room. At Graceland, music is actually built right into the walls. Check out the jukebox in the TV Room: It’s easy to spot Elvis’ music in the TV Room, but the record player in the Jungle Room is hidden. Find out where the record player is in the Jungle Room in this “Hidden Graceland” episode of our web series, Gates of Graceland:   Anyone who’s been inside Elvis’ Racquetball Building knows it wasn’t just used for that sport. It also includes a pinball machine, piano, and this stereo system: This system is made by Crown International – pretty fitting for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, huh? A fire destroyed most of the Crown manufacturing facility in November 1971. It was rebuilt as soon as possible, and this stereo is one of the first ones manufactured following that fire. Another record player that’s housed inside Graceland is the one in Elvis’ bedroom. This is that record player, complete with the record Elvis left on it. That record is an untitled one by The Stamps. What else did Elvis listen to? Check out this month’s Gates of Graceland episode:   Want to know more? See where Elvis listened to music, where Elvis relaxed, where Elvis called home, where Elvis lives – visit...
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Money, Honey: Elvis Presley and Taxes

Just pity all those millionaires, they never can relax Because they’re always worryin’ about their income tax Why waste time on high financin’? I’d rather spend it on good romancin’ What if my pockets are empty as can be? Who needs money? Not me. – “Who Needs Money?” Elvis Presley In so many ways, Elvis Presley was like everyone else. He loved his family, he enjoyed his career, he had fun with his friends, he loved music and he gave back to his community. But he was also the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and he lived like rock ‘n’ roll royalty, with his own airplanes, gorgeous cars, stunning stage wear and, of course, his own castle, Graceland. Here in the United States, tax day is April 18 this year. And while Elvis was the king, he still had to pay his taxes, like his fellow Americans. But his receipts and deductions were definitely a little more unusual than that of the average Joe. Besides, how many of us can claim couture jumpsuits as office attire? But before he was a star, he was like a lot of other blue collar workers in Memphis. Check out his very first tax return from 1953: In 1953, Elvis’ refund was for a whopping $5.10. In 2016 dollars, that equals $45.18. Just four years later, though, Elvis had purchased Graceland. Elvis wasted no time turning the mansion into a home fit for a rock star. Here’s one invoice for the gates of Graceland: Of course, as Elvis’ career blossomed, so did his bank account – and the amount he paid to Uncle Sam. For example, in 1958, Elvis’ income was $1,001,727.89, with an income tax of about $360,000. In 1961, his income was $902,610 from movies and $775,078 from music publishing and recording. In today’s money, Elvis’ 1958 income equals about $8,342,735, and his income tax equals $2,998,204. His income from films in 1961 would be about $7,164,088 in today’s money, and his income from music would equal about $6,151,856 in 2016. In 1962, Elvis made $902,000 from movies and $775,000 from music and recording, and he paid out more than $800,000 in income taxes. In 2016 dollars, that’s $7,111,518 in income from films, $6,110,229 in income from music and $6,307,333 paid in taxes. Of course, Elvis had expenses like no on else. Check out the invoice below for his gorgeous jumpsuits. In 1973, Elvis made $3,860,000 from personal appearances, $4,214,000 from...
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Paradise, Memphis Style

Maybe it’s our mouth-watering barbecue. It could be our blues music, always in the air on Beale Street. Maybe it’s the mighty Mississippi, maybe it’s our museums… and, oh yeah, maybe it’s because this is where the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll called home. Vacation season is just around the corner and for many travelers, Memphis is their ultimate destination. The Bluff City has gotten a lot of love from travel writers and vacationers lately, and it’s no wonder – Memphis has it all. Money Magazine recently named Memphis as one of its 7 Best Domestic Destinations because it offers so much at a great value. “With the drop in airfares, a new Graceland hotel, and all that great barbecue, you won’t be singing the blues here,” the magazine says of Memphis. Speaking of the blues:   If you love Memphis music – and who doesn’t? – check out The Sound and Soul of Memphis Music during Elvis Week. (psst – Elvis Week tickets are on sale now!) We’ll have some of the best musicians in Memphis celebrating the city’s unique sounds and, of course, the king himself. The music feeds the soul, but what if you’re actually hungry? Oh, we have that covered, too:   Three Memphis barbecue restaurants, Payne’s, Cozy Corner and Central,  were in the running in Thrillist’s Best Barbecue Spot in America bracket this March. Payne’s made it to the finals, but was defeated – but Memphis was the only city with three restaurants in the race. And how will you spend your time here in Memphis? Here’s an idea:   Graceland is ground zero for everything Elvis. Experience the Jungle Room, see his plane, the Lisa Marie, check out his cars (including the famous Pink Cadillac) and check out his incredible jumpsuits and movie costumes. Our new VIP exhibit, “Elvis in Hollywood: From Teen Idol to Leading Man,” is a must-see for those who can’t get enough of Elvis’ movies. Plus, this spring Graceland is in full bloom – check out all of the gorgeous flowers and trees on the property. Did you know about the arboretum at Graceland? Of course, you’ll need a place to stay when you travel to Memphis. Opening in October 2016 is The Guest House at Graceland.   The Guest House has been racking up plenty of accolades, and it isn’t even open just yet. Speaking of accolades, Graceland continues to make headlines. The king’s...
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Guest Blogger: Elvis Presley’s Recordings

BY JOHN JACKSON Vice President of A&R and Content Development at Legacy Recordings As a follow-up to the liner notes in the new box set, “Elvis Presley: The Album Collection,” I was asked to write a series of blog posts about Elvis’ recordings.  I wanted to highlight some specific songs from Elvis’ legendary career and relate how we see them now to how they were originally brought to the mass public’s attention. “That’s All Right” is a prime example of a confusing recording when looking through the lens of 2016.  Any of us Elvis aficionados rightly regard “That’s All Right” as Ground Zero – the original moment when rock ‘n’ roll first exploded out of the mouth of a nineteen-year-old truck driver from Tupelo, Mississippi.  Some (myself included) regard it as literally the very first rock ‘n’ roll recording – the perfect, natural amalgam of blues, country and gospel that flowed unconsciously like lightning through this unknown talent.  First jammed between takes of more tame material, “That’s All Right,” recorded July 5, 1954, is, in retrospect, the spark that lit the proverbial fuse.  But that’s only in retrospect. Sure, Elvis’ singles recorded for the great Sam Phillips’ Sun Records in Memphis were regionally popular.  They may have sold thousands of copies in local shops and out of the trunk of Sam’s car (some estimates are as many as 20,000 of Sun 209), and the song may have been played on regional radio stations, but it was by no means a “hit” record.  It did give Elvis’ career momentum and the ability to record subsequent singles for Sun. That momentum increased for a little over a year, which led to RCA Records purchasing Elvis’ contract and all of the Sun material from Phillips in November 1955.  Once Elvis began cutting sides for RCA – with the intention of releasing his first LP (long player) album in 1956 – he had the national promotion and marketing reach that Sun could never dream of.  RCA would turn him from regional novelty act into the world’s most famous person, complete with a Hollywood movie deal, in just one short year.  The first RCA LP, “Elvis Presley,” was a mix of newly recorded songs and some previously unreleased recordings from the Sun sessions. Elvis was heading full-steam into the future, while “That’s All Right” (despite having been re-issued by RCA as a single) was old news and not really...
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