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3717 Elvis Presley Blvd.
Memphis, TN 38116
Only 10 minutes from downtown and 3 minutes from the Memphis Airport.
3600 Elvis Presley Blvd.
Memphis, TN 38116
Free walk-ups to the Meditation Garden are daily from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
We're excited to announce even more guests for Elvis Week 2015!
Priscilla Presley will make an appearance at the Official Graceland Insiders Conference on August 14 as part of the Sony Panel on Friday afternoon. In addition, Elvis' back-up singers, Susan Pilkington, Mary Holladay Pederson, and Ginger Holladay - who backed Elvis on some of his greatest hits - have also been added to the event to share their stories of working with Elvis.
Elvis' friend and TV game show host Wink Martindale will share his memories of the King of Rock 'n' Roll at Conversations on Elvis on Saturday, August 15.
Below you will find a list of special guests, hosts and entertainment for Elvis Week 2015. To learn more about purchasing tickets, schedule of events and more, please visit ElvisWeek.com.
SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCE
USPS Elvis Stamp Dedication Ceremony, Official Graceland Insiders Conference
Former wife to Elvis, Priscilla Presley, helped open Graceland to Elvis fans in 1982 and continues to venture into new business opportunities. Her career as an actress includes such titles as the hit television show "Dallas," a starring role in the "Naked Gun" series, and a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars." She continues her entrepreneurial spirit with "The Priscilla Presley Collection" which features decorative linens, furniture, art and more.
Conversations on Elvis
Disc jockey and television game show host Wink Martindale has enjoyed a six-decade career, which got its start at WHBQ in Memphis. Wink was at the studio the night Dewey Phillips played Elvis' "That's All Right" on his show "Red, Hot & Blue" show, and he hosted the TV show "Teenage Dance Party," which featured Elvis as a special guest. Wink became a lifelong friend of Elvis', even writing and producing a tribute recording in his honor after Elvis' death. Wink hosted many TV game shows such as "Tic Tac Dough," "Gambit" and "Debt," and has starred in many commercials. Wink received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006 and became one of the first inductees into the American TV Game Show Hall of Fame in 2007.
Official Graceland Insiders Conference
Susan Pilkington, Mary Holladay Pederson, and Ginger Holladay, along with Jeanne Green and Donna Thatcher, sang back up for many of the top artist in the late '60's and 70's. These five vocalists (in various combinations) sang on the Memphis recordings for B.J. Thomas's "Hooked on a Feeling," Neil Diamond's "Holly Holy," The Box Top's "Cry like a Baby" and such artists as Percy Sledge, Joe Tex, Joe Simon, Sonny and Cher, Merrilee Rush and Joan Baez. However, it was Elvis Presley's 1969 American Sound Studio's recordings of "Suspicious Minds" and "In the Ghetto" that was the zenith of their careers. “Long Black Limousine,” “Kentucky Rain,” and “Any Day Now” are among the numerous songs they did with Elvis at American Sound. They also recorded backup vocals in Memphis for Elvis on both of the 1973 Stax Studio sessions. Mary and Ginger later toured with Ronnie Milsap, Linda Ronstadt and others. The two sisters also sang on Jimmy Buffet’s “Cheeseburger In Paradise," Willie Nelson's "Always on My Mind", Jerry Reed's "When You're Hot You're Hot," Dave Loggin's "Please come to Boston," Billy Swan's "I Can Help" and “Steve Young’s "Seven Bridges Road," and backed up Emmy Lou Harris, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton and many others.
Conversations and a Movie featuring "Spinout"
Diane McBain is an American film and television actress who was born in Ohio, and raised in Glendale, California. She reached her peak of popularity as a Warner Bros. contract star during the late 1950s and early 1960s. She is perhaps best known for starring in the 1960-62 hit ABC-TV series, "Surfside Six," and appearing opposite Elvis in "Spinout." Her more than 25 feature films include "Ice Palace," "Parrish," "Claudelle Inglish," "Black Gold," "The Caretakers," "Mary Mary," "A Distant Trumpet," and such cult classics as "Maryjane," "Thunder Alley," "I Sailed to Tahiti With An All Girl Crew," and "The Mini-Skirt Mob." She has guest-starred in dozens of television dramas, and numerous situation comedies, including such classics as "Maverick," "The Wild, Wild West," "77 Sunset Strip," "Hawaiian Eye" and "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." One of her most memorable television guest roles was on the original "Batman" series, playing "Pinky Pinkston." Miss McBain's personal and professional travels have taken her to Europe, South America and Asia. She supports many charitable causes, and is an outspoken advocate for victims of sexual assault. She received the "Special Service Award" from the USO for her trips to Vietnam to visit American troops in 1966 and 1967.
Dr. Michael Bertrand is an Associate Professor of History at Tennessee State University and author of "Race, Rock, and Elvis." He focuses on understanding the interrelationships between race, class, gender and generation as they have existed and evolved in the American South. He's also interested in the complex connections and dynamics between the popular music, popular culture, memory and social change from the late nineteenth through the twentieth and into the twenty-first century.
Dr. John Bakke is Professor Emeritus at the University of Memphis, and a respected and successful political communication consultant and media political analyst in the Mid-South. He is a recognized authority on the subject of Elvis. He has appeared on ABC's "Nightline," CBS's "This Morning" and "48 Hours" as an acknowledged source on the King of Rock 'n 'Roll. He taught the first university seminar courses on Elvis Presley, rock 'n' roll and Memphis music beginning in 1975. He's organized and hosted seminars, written papers and given lectures all about Elvis.
In the Studio with Norbert Putnam and David Briggs
Norbert Putnam, known as "Putt" by Elvis, played bass on the first hit records that established “Muscle Shoals” as a recording destination. In 1964 the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section opened the first American Beatles concert in Washington, D.C. Later that year Putnam moved to Nashville and quickly became Nashville’s busiest pop-rock bassist playing on thousands of recordings by such diverse artists such as Elvis and Roy Orbison. In 1970, Norbert and David Briggs opened Quadrafonic Studio and formed Danor Music Publishing. Putnam was to become Nashville’s top pop/rock producer and Quad became Nashville’s number one independent studio.
Briggs' first session was for James Joiner, and it was while working for Joiner's Tune Records that he met Jerry Carrigan, Norbert Putman and Terry Thompson. The four combined to form the original rhythm section at Rick Hall's Fame Studio, cutting hits on Arthur Alexander, Jimmy Hughes, and others. His big break came in 1965 when Floyd Cramer was late to a session with Elvis and Briggs was asked to play. He continued to play on many of Elvis’ legendary recordings in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Briggs went on the road with Elvis in 1975 and toured with his band through 1977.
Elvis Presley Fan Club Presidents' Event
Tony Brown is a pianist and record producer who worked with Elvis in the 1970s. He played keyboards on "Moody Blues," which was recorded in the Jungle Room at Graceland, and was a member of The TCB Band. He's also worked with the likes of Reba McEntire, Vince Gill and George Strait, and is one of the most sought-after and highly acclaimed producers. He's often credited as the founding father of the Americana country music movement. He's a Grammy Award winner, has won numerous Academy of Country Music Awards and has many Gold, Platinum and multi-Platinum album credits.
Former Memphis Mayor and Shelby County Sheriff Bill Morris was a personal friend of Elvis'. During his tenure as sheriff, from 1964 to 1970, Bill deputized Elvis and took him to the National Sheriff's Association meeting in Washington. He sponsored Elvis for the Ten Outstanding Young Men award given by the Jaycees. Bill served as Memphis mayor from 1978-1994. Tennessee State Route 385 in Shelby County has been renamed to the Bill Morris Parkway in his honor.
Singer Brenda Lee has been a superstar since childhood. In the course of her success worldwide, her amazing career has held "once in a lifetime" highlights - releasing her first single when she was only 11 years old, performing on stage at the Grand Ole Opry with Elvis Presley at 12, and watching The Beatles open for her on tour in Europe before she turned 20. The award-winning vocalist has sold over 100 million units of her music and is beloved around the world for her classic hits "I'm Sorry" (which has sold over 20 million copies) and "Break It To me Gently," while her multi-million selling holiday classic, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" wins new fans every year. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, Lee has been nominated for four Grammy Awards and has received both the prestigious Governor's Award and a Lifetime Achievement Grammy from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. A musical prodigy, Lee began winning singing contests at age 6 and performed on a series of radio shows until Decca Records signed her to a contract in 1956. The next year, she hit the pop and country music charts with "Dynamite," earning the diminutive singer the lifelong nickname Little Miss Dynamite. To date, Brenda Has performed in 52 foreign countries and recorded hits in six different languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Japanese. She continues to perform to the delight of a new generation of Brenda Lee fans.
Sandy became interested in show business when her parents, Mary Lou and Tony Ferra, entered the night club business. They owned several clubs which were very successful and extremely popular. The Ferra Enterprises were The Crossbow, Rag Doll, Plush Office, Red Velvet and The Melody Room. Performers such as Sam Cooke, Glen Campbell, The Righteous Brothers and many other top names were introduced in these clubs. While attending Hollywood Professional School, Sandy's best friend was singing star Brenda Lee. They have remained close friends to this day. It was at The Crossbow that Sandy met Elvis Presley, who became her first true love. When Elvis was in Los Angeles making movies, he continually called Sandy. They dated for six years, leading to her dancing in "Viva Las Vegas" and several other Elvis movies. During the 70s Sandy learned the intricacies of the live concert business as an associate with Bob Eubank's Concert Express. In this position she worked closely with Dolly Parton and Barbara Mandrell. Sandy met her husband of 40 years, Wink Martindale, in 1971. She is vice-president of Wink Martindale Enterprises, which creates, develops and produces shows for both radio and television. Several years ago Sandy created sunglasses emblazoned with her husband's name and heart. In 2014, she created an additional pair of sunglasses specially for Elvis' Birthday Celebration. The sunglasses have the name of her first love, Elvis, on one side, and the name of her last love, Wink, on the other. An Elvis version of these sunglasses are now exclusively sold at Graceland and Shop Graceland.
Mac Davis has established himself as an all-around entertainer: songwriter, singer, film and stage actor, TV and radio personality, performer and legend. In the late 60s, Mac wrote several hits for Elvis Presley, including "In the Ghetto," "Memories," "Don't Cry Daddy," and "A Little Less Conversation," which was re-released in 2002 and became a #1 hit in 26 countries around the world. Nominated three times for Grammy Awards, he has written hits for Kenny Rogers, Bobby Goldsboro, Gallery, O.C. Smith, Freddie Hart, Ray Price, Lou Rawls, Dolly Parton, Rascal Flatts, Weezer, Avicii, Bruno Mars and many others. He had his own successful television show, "The Mac Davis Show," on NBC. He's starred in films such as "North Dallas Forty," "The Sting II" and "Cheaper to Keep Her." He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has been inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville's Songwriters Hall of Fame, Texas Heritage Songwriters' Association, and the National Songwriter's Hall of Fame in New York.
Elvis 101, Official Graceland Insiders Conference
John Jackson graduated from Indiana University in 1997 with the world's first BA in Rock and Roll History via the school's prestigious Individualized Major Program. His senior thesis work concentrated on the life and music of Elvis Presley and how he shaped the multi-media age. John began working at Sony Music's Legacy Recordings in 1998 and has since worked on catalog releases with the company's biggest acts, including AC/DC, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Billy Joel, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Willie Nelson, Michael Jackson and Roy Orbison. He's currently the Vice President of A&R and Content Development at Legacy Recordings, where he oversees all audio, visual and packaging for releases.
After many years as a key figure in the Danish record business, Ernst Mikael Jorgensen joined BMG in 1988. He instantly became a member of the committee founded with the brief to restore the entire Elvis Presley catalog. With the 1992 5-CD box set "The King of Rock 'n' Roll - The Complete Masters," the project had a head start with Grammy nominations, worldwide sales of close to a million copies and a glowing Rolling Stone review calling the package "monumental." Produced by Ernst and his partner Roger Semon, with liner notes by Peter Guralnick, the box set spurred two decades of restoration (still on-going) of the Elvis Presley catalog, with Jorgensen as a central figure as both producer and researcher/historian. In 1998, St. Martin's Press published "A Life in Music," Jorgensen's ground-breaking and definitive study of Elvis' recording sessions. In 1999, Jorgensen and Guralnick collaborated on "Day By Day," a lavishly produced account of Elvis' life and music, published by Ballentine Books. In 2010 Sony Music released "The Complete Elvis Presley Masters," a 30 disc set with all of Elvis Presley's masters and 100+ rarities, a 240-page book describing Elvis' entire record/recording career, in many ways the brainchild of Jorgensen, and possibly his finest contribution to the history of Elvis Presley. In 2012, Jorgensen published "A Boy from Tupelo," his 500-page study of the earliest part of Elvis' career (1954-55), presenting more facts, stories and images than ever before. Still part of Sony's Elvis team, Ernst and his partner Roger Semon also run a collectors label, "Follow That Dream," for the truly dedicated Elvis fans, releasing rare and historical performances for those who need more Elvis than just the masters.
Meet 'n' Greet and Shows
Bringing the art of portraits to an entirely new level, Joe Petruccio has combined his drawing and painting skills to create a most fascinating and compelling style of his own. Petruccio's ever-growing series of paintings and drawings of Elvis have always been a driving force in his life. Joe is highly respected and collected among many people in the music and entertainment industry. His works hang in the collections of notables such as Dickey Betts (Allman Brothers), Roger Daltrey (The Who), Sylvester Stallone, among many others.
Lowell Hays first met Elvis in 1969 at Graceland. By Christmas of 1970, he had become the jeweler to the king. During their years together, Lowell made over 200 pieces of jewelry for Elvis. A few examples include Elvis’ TCB ring, his lion pendant and chain, the "Aloha from Hawaii" horseshoe ring, his American flag pin, Elvis’ ID bracelet and the big Maltese cross.
Hayes continues to make Elvis-inspired pieces including both his fine and fashion lines featuring items made from the original molds of the kings’ jewelry.
Known by many as the "Elvis Artist," Betty Harper has spent a majority of her career creating artwork for the Tennessee music scene. As the artist of Elvis Presley Enterprises, she is responsible for much of the art seen on Elvis mugs, postcards and other memorabilia. At the one-year anniversary of Elvis' death, Betty created the art for a billboard, called "The American Trilogy," near Graceland which acted as a memorial to Elvis. She has attended nearly every Elvis Week since its inception, and she has created more than 10,000 images of Elvis.
Drummer and session musician Hal Blaine has played on 50 number one hits, over 150 top 10 hits and has recorded on more than 35,000 pieces of music in over 40 years of work. He's best known for his work with Wrecking Crew. He played on hits by Elvis Presley, Nancy Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, John Denver, The Ronettes and many more. He recorded on six consecutive Record of the Year Grammy Award winners. A member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Musicians Hall of Fame and Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame, Hal is widely regarded as one of the most prolific drummers in music history.
Conversations and a Movie featuring "Spinout," Elvis 101, Official Graceland Insiders Conference, Conversations on Elvis
Tom Brown is the former vice president of original productions for Turner Classic Movies. While at TCM, Brown was the executive in charge of production on special Elvis Presley projects featuring Priscilla Presley, Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana, George Klein, Joe Esposito and the TCB Band. He has been the host of several Elvis Week events, interviewing Elvis' band members, personal friends and movie costars. He is one of the few producers who has been allowed to shoot at RCA Studio B in Nashville, Radio Recorders Studio in Los Angeles and inside Graceland in Memphis. Prior to his tenure at TCM, Tom worked as a reporter/producer for TNT Network on the entertainment news program "Rough Cut" in Los Angeles. Before that time, he worked at TV and radio stations in St. Louis and Shreveport. He began his television career in his hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi, at WTVA. Every June he returns home to host the Tupelo Elvis Festival. His production company, Mean Machine 22, is currently working on several TV projects and live events.
Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Event
Joey Sulipeck is a lifelong Memphian and is currently the Chief Meteorologist with FOX13, the FOX News affiliate in Memphis, Tenn. He’s been active in working with Elvis Presley Enterprises for the past decade. He was a returning host of Graceland’s annual Candlelight VigilCast and has hosted the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest since the beginning. He’s a two-time Emmy Award winner, a member of the National Weather Association, a member of Mensa, and a true-blue Elvis fan.
Fan Club Presidents’ Event
The year 2015 will mark Argos’ 10th anniversary on Elvis Radio, broadcasting live from Graceland on Sirius XM. He’s been an Elvis fan as long as he can remember and loves meeting people from all around the world who visit Graceland. In addition to his involvement in various Elvis related events, Argo produces special events with individuals and municipalities, like fireworks displays and concerts. When you’re at Graceland, stop by the studio and say “hi”. Argo will probably have you pick your favorite Elvis song and shout out to the world on Elvis Radio.
Elvis Week Kick-Off Dance Party with DJ Argo
Dance the night away with an Elvis Presley tribute as Elvis Radio's DJ Argo plays your favorite Elvis music. Argo, who spun tracks at previous Elvis Week dance parties, is celebrating his 11th anniversary at Elvis Radio and loves meeting people from all around the world who visit Graceland. In addition to his involvement in various Elvis-related events, Argo produces special events with individuals and municipalities, like fireworks displays and concerts.
A Salute to Memphis Music
Brad relocated to Memphis in the mid-90s where he performed nightly for thousands of fans. When he wasn't playing on historic Beale Street he was traveling around the world to places like Spain and France - sharing the stage with musical legends such as Carl Perkins, Wanda Jackson, James Burton, The TCB Band, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson, Billy Lee Riley, The Stray Cats, and DJ Fontana. He's performed for Presidents and Prime Ministers. Birkedahl also played the role of Scotty Moore in the highly acclaimed film "Walk the Line."
Elvis Country, In the Studio with Norbert Putnam and David Briggs
Andy has opened for Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Clint Black, Trisha Yearwood, Tanya Tucker, Charlie Daniels Band, and many other top country stars. The Memphis native has released two albums and has played in the house bands for "Nashville," "Nashville Star," "Next Superstar" and "Can You Duet." He's a managing partner and CEO of Veritable Music, an independent publishing and production company with a staff of six songwriters. He has had songs recorded by the likes of Blackhawk, Chris Cagle, George Canyon and more.
Gladys and Maybelle are Texas bred songbirds who began singing in the Fort Worth Stockyards in August 2010 when they took to the streets to raise money for their yearly voyage to Elvis Week, Memphis, Tennessee. After the warm Fort Worth welcome, they continued on with their act, incorporating favorite old-school country songs into their repertoire. They have since written and recorded "Memphis Cash," a full-length album of original songs. This singing duo is not hard to spot in their colorful, vintage dresses, petticoats and pillbox hats. For years these two sisters were heard most weekends singing their sibling harmonies and adding to that special magic that the Fort Worth Stockyards holds. Nowadays the Singing Sisters, as HGTV named them, can be spotted at various venues and events in the Lone Star State and beyond warbling their trademark Folkabilly sound.
Elvis in Vegas Tribute Concert, Elvis Sunday Morning Gospel Celebration
Terry Mike Jeffrey is a singer, Emmy-nominated songwriter, entertainer, multi-instrumentalist, musical director, arranger and actor. He was born in Paducah, Kentucky, and was singing on stage by the age of 3. Throughout childhood he'd mastered the guitar, piano, sax, and drums. Terry Mike has received critical praise from the New York Times, Variety, LA Times, and Music Row Magazine. He has had Network TV appearances on NBC's Today Show, CBS This Morning, CNN's Showbiz Today and Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.
Elvis Sunday Morning Gospel Celebration
One of the great names in Southern gospel, J.D. Sumner & The Stamps Quartet were Elvis' male back-up singers from 1971 to 1977. Members during the group's time spent with Elvis include: J.D. Sumner, Bill Baize, Tony Brown, Ed Enoch, Ed Hill, Dave Rowland, Richard Sterban, Larry Strickland, Donnie Sumner, Ed Wiedman and others. J.D. Sumner & The Stamps were part of the early tours of the recent hit show Elvis Presley in Concert and continued as a group until J.D.'s death in 1998.
A Memphis Music Salute
Will Tucker, 21, a Memphis native, was discovered at age 14 by B.B. King's Blues Club's owner Tommy Peters, who let Will play in the house band. Will has opened for B.B. King five times and has performed with the likes of Charlie Musselwhite, G. Love and Special Sauce and The Beach Boys and John Stamos. He released his second album, "Worth the Gamble," in early 2015 and can be heard every Friday and Saturday night at B.B. King's Blues Club in Memphis on world-renowned Beale Street.
Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Final Round
Jay Dupuis, the 2014 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist champion, was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At the age of three, he realized his love and passion for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. As a child, he would dress up in white pants and a shirt, flip up his collar and pretend he was Elvis. Then one day as an adult, he saw a friend performing as an ETA and thought he would like to do that one day. With the help and support of his family and friends, he was able to do just that. Jay considers being an Elvis tribute artist a true blessing and for him it is a great honor to pay tribute to the greatest entertainer of all time. His favorite Elvis song is “Suspicious Minds.”
Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Events
Elvis tribute artists from around the world will compete at Elvis Week 2015. In response to the excitement generated by previous contests, the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest features some of the most skilled Elvis tribute artists in the world. See our list of 2015 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Semifinalists.
Ultimate ETA Contest Semifinal and Final Rounds
The Change of Habit Tribute Band (COH) hails from Chicago, Illinois. They have been touring the world for the last 10 years. COH takes pride in replicating every era of Elvis Presley's magical career with professionalism, energy and authenticity. Veterans of the Elvis tribute industry, the musicians of COH have devoted over 20 years of their individual music careers to keeping the memory of Elvis alive. COH has formed special friendships and stage chemistry with the ETAs throughout the past years and they are happy to be bringing that power to the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest this year. Whether it is a contest, concert, festival or special event, COH's devotion to their craft has made them one of the most exciting Elvis Presley tribute bands in the industry.
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