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!

Elvis Presley and the Grammy Awards

Seeing Elvis’ many awards and Gold and Platinum Records is one of the most memorable aspects of touring Graceland. Whether it’s the Hall of Gold – a long hallway full of Gold records and awards – or the Trophy Room in the Racquetball Building – where awards and Gold, Platinum and Diamond Records cover the walls up to the ceiling – both locations leave fans in awe of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Right now at Graceland, fans can see three of Elvis’ most prestigious awards: his Grammy Awards, all of which he won for his gospel music. He was nominated for many more songs and albums, though – do you know which ones? The 58th annual Grammy Awards are Monday, February 15, so let’s take a look at these awards and how Elvis has been honored. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences present the Grammy Awards to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry. It’s the music equivalent to the Academy Awards, given for achievement in film, the Emmy Awards, for television, and the Tony Awards, for stage performance. The first Grammy Awards ceremony was in the spring of 1959, so some of Elvis’ earliest hits (like “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and many more) couldn’t have been nominated. But Elvis was nominated in that first year: “A Fool Such as I” was a nominee for Record of the Year (which lost to Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife”) and “A Big Hunk O’ Love” was nominated for both Best Performance by a Top 40 Artist and Best Rhythm and Blues Performance. In 1960, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll earned several Grammy nods. “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” was nominated for Record of the Year; Best Vocal Performance Single Record or Track, Male; and Best Performance by a Pop Single Artist. The instrumental “The Theme from A Summer Place” won that year for Record of the Year. Also in 1960, “G.I. Blues” was nominated for Best Vocal Performance Album, Male; and Best Sound Track Album or Recording of Original Cast from a Motion Picture or Television. The next year, “Blue Hawaii” was also nominated for Best Sound Track Album or Recording of Original Cast from a Motion Picture or Television. It lost to the “West Side Story” soundtrack. Elvis became a Grammy winner in 1967. His second gospel record, “How Great Thou Art” won Best Sacred Performance....
read more

The Artist and the Businessman: Elvis Presley Meets Col. Tom Parker

Elvis Presley wasted no time winning over fans right from the beginning, thanks to his voice, energetic stage show, style, revolutionary sound and charm. But the music business is just that – a business – and every artist needs a manager to help take care of the details. From mapping out a tour route to arguing for higher appearance fees, the manager takes care of the business side of things so the artist can focus on the music. At the beginning of Elvis’ career, he met a man who would help him see his goals through to fruition. On February 6, 1955, Elvis met the man who would become his third and final manager: Col. Tom Parker. On February 6, 1955, Elvis and his band performed two shows at Memphis’ Ellis Auditorium, a venue the guys knew well. At both the 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. shows, Elvis and his band, Bill Black and Scotty Moor, shared the bill with country star Faron Young, “Beautiful Gospel Singer” Martha Carson, Ferlin Huskey “and many more,” as the poster promised. Elvis, still a young performer, is billed last, as “Memphis’ Own.” The poster included that he’d perform his regional hits “Heartbreaker” and “Milk Cow Boogie,” which he did, along with “That’s All Right” and “Good Rockin’ Tonight.” A bit of history happened in between those shows. Oscar Davis, an associate of Col. Tom Parker, had seen Elvis perform in October 1954, and met Elvis backstage through Elvis’ manager, Bob Neal. Neal knew Parker, who had many, many connections in the entertainment business, could take Elvis to the next level, and wanted the young singer and the promoter to meet. Davis raved about Elvis to Parker and his fellow associate, Tom Diskin. Parker and Diskin checked out Elvis’ performance on the Louisiana Hayride on January 15, 1955, but didn’t meet Elvis and his band just yet. He did, however, reach out to Neal. That fateful meeting took place on February 6, in between Elvis’ two sets. Neal, Parker, Diskin, Davis and Sun Records’ Sam Phillips met across the street from Ellis Auditorium at a café called Palumbo’s. Elvis and his bandmates sat in for a portion of this meeting. The meeting wasn’t exactly a success. Parker explained he had the connections to take Elvis’ career to the next level, connections that a small label like Sun didn’t have. Naturally, Phillips didn’t like hearing...
read more

From Coast to Coast: Elvis Presley’s First National TV Appearance

Elvis’ 1956 was full of firsts: his first album, his first movie and his first national television appearance. Elvis made appearances on local and regional TV shows before his first national appearance on the Dorsey Brothers’ “Stage Show.” But for many fans across the United States, “Stage Show” gave them the first look at the young Elvis. “Stage Show” started in 1954 as a summer replacement for “The Jackie Gleason Show.” Gleason served as the show’s executive producer, and he brought it back in 1955 with bandleaders Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey as hosts. Elvis’ first appearance on “Stage Show” was January 28, 1956. He traveled with his bandmates, Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana and Bill Black, from Memphis to New York by car and arrived the day before. The band rehearsed on the morning of January 28, and show time was 8 p.m. It was a rainy night, and Elvis was still relatively unknown, so there wasn’t a big crowd there to see the 21-year-old. Other guests on the show were singer Sarah Vaughan and comic Gene Sheldon. Cleveland DJ Bill Randle introduced Elvis: “We’d like at this time to introduce you to a young fellow who, like many young performers – Johnny Ray among them – came out of nowhere to be an overnight big star. This young fellow we saw for the first time while making a movie short. We think tonight he’s going to make television history for you. We’d like you to meet him now – Elvis Presley.” On that first performance, Elvis sang “Shake, Rattle and Roll” – and segued into “Flip, Flop and Fly” in the middle of it – and “I Got a Woman.” Elvis’ “Heartbreak Hotel” was just released, but he didn’t perform it. Elvis appeared on “Stage Show” five more times: February 4, February 11, February 18, March 17 and March 24. On his second performance, Elvis performed “Tutti Frutti” and “Baby Let’s Play House.” A week later, Elvis finally performed “Heartbreak Hotel,” as well as “Blue Suede Shoes.” For his fourth performance a week later, he again sang “Tutti Frutti” and “I Was the One,” a B-side to his new single. By the time of his sixth performance on March 17, “Heartbreak Hotel” was becoming a huge hit, so he performed it again, along with “Blue Suede Shoes.” For his last “Stage Show” performance on March 24, Elvis sang “Heartbreak...
read more

Top Valentine’s Day Gifts for Elvis Fans

Happy (early) Valentine’s Day, Elvis fans! Show your sweetie how much you care with a gift from Shop Graceland. We’ve listed the best Valentine’s Day gifts for any Elvis fan, so start shopping! And if you’re celebrating Singles Awareness Day, treat yourself and pick up something special just for you. Look for a special Valentine’s giveaway in this post, too! For Her Graceland Elvis Collage Tote Bag – $24.99 Everyone has a favorite Elvis era, whether it’s his early years, the late 60s or the Vegas era. You can celebrate them all with this great designer bag by Robin Ruth. It’s accented by a metallic Gold imprint that covers exterior pockets around the entire bag. This tote bag is as handy as it is stylish. See this item on Shop Graceland.   Lowell Hays Gold Plated Pavé Heart Charm – $40.00 You can never go wrong with something sparkly for Valentine’s Day, and this charm delivers. The heart features 40 pavé set crystals and Elvis’ name engraved on the back. The charm comes in both silver and gold, so you can easily match it with your honey’s other accessories. See this item on Shop Graceland – gold or silver.   Elvis Pink Serenity Women’s T-Shirt – $24.99 Move over, Valentine – you know, deep down, that Elvis rules her heart. This sweet, sentimental pink Elvis shirt makes for a terrific Valentine’s Day gift. See this item on Shop Graceland.   Lowell Hayes Gold Plated Crystal TLC Necklace – $100.00 Tender, loving care – that’s how Elvis believed ladies should be treated. Elvis gave “TLC” necklaces to the women in his life, and you can do the same for your Valentine. This 18-karat gold plated crystal TLC necklace is made from the original mold Elvis’ jeweler, Lowell Hays, used when making jewelry for Elvis. See this item on Shop Graceland.   Heart Elvis Crystal Embellished Silvertone Watch by Sandy Martindale – $170.00 Wear your love for Elvis on your sleeve with this eye-catching, sparkling watch. The watch is part of Sandy Martindale’s line of accessories dedicated to her former boyfriend and longtime friend, Elvis. The meticulously placed Swarovski Crystal Elements encircle the face and, on either side of it, spell out Elvis and create a beautiful heart design. It’s a very special, gorgeous gift that your fashionista Valentine will adore. See this item on Shop Graceland. For Him Elvis Presley’s Graceland...
read more

Elvis Presley’s 1956

Elvis Presley accomplished more in one year than many artists do in a lifetime. He released both his first album and movie. He made his national television debut. He recorded hit songs, collaborated with some of the most talented musicians of his day and toured relentlessly. He purchased his first home in Memphis. 1956 was a big year for Elvis Presley, personally and professionally. This year marks the 60th anniversary of these accomplishments, and we’ll tackle some of them in-depth in future blog posts. For now, prepare to be amazed at how the 21-year-old King of Rock ‘n’ Roll conquered the world in 1956. “Heartbreak Hotel” The world was still trying to figure out the young king in ’56, but he was out to prove himself as a force to be reckoned with. In just this one year, he recorded and released classic songs, such as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Blue Suede Shoes.” “Heartbreak Hotel” was recorded on January 10 at Elvis’ first recording session for RCA. King of the Road Elvis’ busy touring schedule carried over from 1955 into 1956. He crisscrossed the country countless times, performing everywhere from baseball parks to large auditoriums. He played small communities and big cities alike. Just a few of the places he played in ‘56 include Raleigh, North Carolina; San Diego, California; Richmond, Virginia; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Austin, Texas; Sarasota, Florida; Dayton, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; Phoenix, Arizona; Savannah, Georgia; St. Paul, Minnesota; New Orleans, Louisiana; Denver, Colorado; Louisville, Kentucky; Miami, Florida; Houston, Texas; St. Louis, Missouri; and, of course, Memphis. He actually collapsed from exhaustion on February 23, 1956, after performing in Jacksonville, Florida. The doctor who treated him recommended that he slow down. That’s easier said than done, of course. Elvis was still part of the Louisiana Hayride, but he made his last regular appearance in March 1956. His final Louisiana Hayride performance was December 15, 1956. Elvis also made his debut in Las Vegas in April 1956. On the Small Screen Elvis’ first national television appearance was on January 28, 1956, on “Stage Show,” and he continued to appear on the show through February and March. He made two appearances on the “Milton Berle Show,” followed by a “Steve Allen Show” appearance. He finished out 1956 with two appearances on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” “Elvis Presley” Elvis’ first album hit record stores on March 23,...
read more

How Elvis Presley Celebrated His Birthday

Happy birthday, Elvis! Elvis Aaron Presley was born January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi, to Gladys and Vernon Presley. That’s just the beginning of Elvis’ legendary life, one full of music, movies and memorable birthdays. For all of the celebrating Elvis did at Christmas and New Year’s Eve, though, Elvis usually celebrated his birthdays pretty quietly. But there were a few extra special birthdays – complete with special gifts and parties – that meant a lot to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. One of the most special birthdays Elvis ever celebrated was his 11th. He actually didn’t get what he wanted for his birthday, but maybe he got what he needed. Some say Elvis asked for a rifle or a bicycle that year, but Elvis’ mother, Gladys, instead bought him a guitar. He spent the next year teaching himself how to play the guitar – a skill that would become handy in his career. In 1949, for his 14th birthday, Elvis received a book of cartoons by George Price from his father. Vernon wrote inside the book, “May your birthday be sprinkled through ‘n’ through with joy and love and good times, too. Daddy.” Elvis loved this book, and even took with with him to Germany when he was there serving in the U.S. Army- but, unfortunately, Elvis lost the book there. Speaking of Germany, Elvis’ fans celebrated the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s birthday even while he was away serving the country. “American Bandstand,” hosted by Dick Clark, aired a special birthday tribute to Elvis in 1959. Elvis was filming “Wild in the Country” in 1961, and on his birthday, the cast and crew threw him a birthday party on the set. The festivities included a cake and they gave him a plaque that read, “Happy Birthday, King Karate.” The next year, Elvis celebrated his 27th birthday at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, cutting a huge cake from Sahara owner Milton Prell. Many years, Elvis chose to celebrate his birthday quietly at his beloved Graceland. He often rented out a local movie theater so he and his friends could watch the latest movies. In 1974, the king turned 39, and the mayors of Memphis and Shelby County declared it “Elvis Presley Day.” The day included a parade down Elvis Presley Boulevard to Graceland, and his high school alma mater, Humes, had their band play “Happy Birthday.” Elvis watched...
read more

Elvis Presley’s Guitars

It’s hard to picture Elvis Presley without a guitar in his hand. From his iconic first album cover to his many movies, from the ’68 Special to “Aloha from Hawaii,” from Graceland to Vegas, Elvis always had a guitar nearby, and he was always ready to play. He enjoyed playing both the guitar and bass guitar. Elvis received his first guitar when he was 11, and for many years, that was his only guitar. But as he grew older – and eventually became the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll – he started collecting guitars, and many of them are part of pop culture history. Here are a few of the guitars made famous by the king.   1955 Martin D-28   Elvis used a 1942 Martin D-18 in 1954-55, until he traded it in for the newer D-28 in 1955 at O.K. Houck Piano Co. in Memphis, and he used it for a little over a year. Elvis often purchased his instruments from that store. This guitar is the one Elvis is playing on the cover of his first album. It’s also well-known for its gorgeous leather cover, handmade by an employee at the music store where Elvis purchased the guitar.   1956 Gibson J200   This guitar definitely looks like it belongs to a member of rock ‘n’ roll royalty. Elvis loved this guitar and used it often. He used it in many of his 1957 concerts and appearances. After returning home from the Army, he asked his guitarist Scotty Moore to send the well-worn guitar out to be refurbished. The work wasn’t done in time for Elvis’ March 20 recording session in Nashville, so he was given a brand-new 1960 J200 that looked almost identical. Meanwhile, the 1956 model got a beautiful facelift: Gibson replaced the red pick guard with a new black one, and Elvis’ name was inlaid on the finger board. The stylish new guitar was debuted in publicity shots for “Wild in the Country” and can be seen in “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is.” He loved the 1960 J200, too, so he kept it. He used it in the ’68 Special and many live performances. These guitars were favorites of the king. They’re both part of the permanent archival collection at Graceland. See the 1956 guitar on display now at Elvis at The O2 in London (which closes on January 10, 2016!).   Fender Precision...
read more

Elvis Presley’s Graceland – Top 15 Moments of 2015

Wow – where did the year go? It seems like yesterday we were celebrating Elvis Presley’s 80th birthday, and now we’re just a few weeks from the 2016 Elvis Birthday Celebration. 2015 was a busy year here at Graceland, full of many special and unforgettable moments. From new music to new exhibits, from Elvis’ birthday to Elvis Week, 2015 gave us many reasons to celebrate. Stroll down memory lane with us as we look back at our top 15 moments of 2015. Elvis Turns 80   We kicked off 2015 with the Elvis Birthday Celebration. The Presley family celebrated at the Elvis Birthday Proclamation Ceremony, where Lisa and Priscilla cut Elvis’ beautiful birthday cake. The festivities continued with the Official Graceland Insiders Reception, Fan Club Presidents’ Event and screenings of “Jailhouse Rock” and “Viva Las Vegas.” Elvis’ First Acetate   Elvis’ very first acetate went on the auction block at the Auction at Graceland in January. The winning bidder was none other than award-winning musician, songwriter and producer Jack White, who, through his Third Man Records label, reissued copies of the acetate for Record Store Day on April 18 (the acetate was also put on display at Third Man Records in Nashville for Record Store Day only). It was just announced that the acetate reissue’s packaging – which also an exact copy of the original packaging – is nominated for a Grammy for Best Recording Package. Graceland: World’s Best Music Attraction   In summer 2015, Graceland was voted # 1 in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice contest for World’s Best Musical Attraction from a field of iconic music-themed landmarks. USA Today readers were asked to cast their online ballot for their favorite global music attraction from a pool of 20 museums, historic studios and epic record stores – and the king’s castle was voted as the world’s must-see. As the king himself would say, “Thank you, thank you very much.” Graceland was also named Best Southern Historic Attraction in this year’s 10Best Readers’ Choice. Elvis Commemorative “Forever” Stamp   In 1993, the first Elvis commemorative stamp was released, and it became the best-selling commemorative U.S. stamp of all time. In 2015, Elvis was honored with a second U.S. commemorative stamp – a very rare honor. The Elvis Forever stamp is part of the United States Postal Service’s Music Icons series. The stamp was officially released with a ceremony at Graceland during Elvis...
read more

Memphis Jones’ Favorite Things to Do at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

There’s a tour of Elvis Presley’s Graceland… and then there’s a Memphis Jones tour of Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Memphis Jones loves Elvis and Graceland, and he sees the king’s castle like no one else. Even when he’s not hosting one of our online videos for Elvis Week or any of our other special events, he loves visiting Graceland, where he can soak up even more Elvis knowledge and meet Elvis fans from across the globe. Memphis isn’t an official tour guide here at Graceland – we have our award-winning iPad tours narrated by John Stamos for that – but we asked Memphis to give fans his own tour of Graceland. Check out his Favorite Things to Do at Graceland video below, and follow Memphis on Facebook and Twitter.     Experience Graceland for yourself! Book your visit...
read more

The Chairman and The King: Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley

When the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll returned from his stint in the Army, he was welcomed home by none other than the Chairman of the Board. Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, two of the most beloved and respected artists in music, teamed up for a television special back in 1960, and the show resulted in a truly unique and special duet. In celebration of Sinatra’s 100th birthday on Saturday, December 12, let’s look at this historic “Welcome Home Elvis” special. It was announced in July 1959 that Elvis would appear on Frank Sinatra’s variety TV show upon his release from the Army. He didn’t have to wait long: He was released on March 5 and returned home to Graceland on March 8, and the show was taped on March 26. “The Frank Sinatra Timex Show” – the variety show was sponsored by Timex –  was filmed at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, Florida. Elvis traveled to Miami on March 21, and rehearsed for several days before the March 26 taping. He shared the stage with, of course, Sinatra, as well as his daughter, Nancy, who would later become his co-star in “Speedway” in 1968. Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford were also special guests. On the show, Elvis performed “Stuck on You” and “Fame and Fortune,” the two sides of his first post-Army single. Jazz and rock ‘n’ roll collided when Frank Sinatra and Elvis sang a mash-up of their hit singles, “Witchcraft” and “Love Me Tender,” respectively. Sinatra sang “Love Me Tender,” while Elvis crooned “Witchcraft.” It’s so interesting to see these two great singers offer such different versions of each other’s greatest hits. See this duet in the video below. Elvis was paid $125,000 for this show, an unheard of amount in the entertainment industry in 1960. The special aired on May 12, 1960 with high ratings, drawing an impressive 41.5 percent of the American viewing audience that evening. While Elvis and Sinatra never worked together again, they often kept in touch over the years. Sinatra let Elvis and Priscilla borrow his private jet in 1967 to go from Palm Springs to Las Vegas to get married, and travel back to Palm Springs for their honeymoon. Elvis’ personal record collection here at Graceland contains many Sinatra records, and, of course, both men sang powerful versions of “My Way.” Want to learn more about the King of...
read more

Page 1 of 1012345...10...Last »