Inside Elvis’ Record Collection

Fans have enjoyed Elvis’ music for decades, whether it was on vinyl, 8-track, cassettes, CDs or on their iPhones. But what music did Elvis listen to? Elvis’ personal record collection, which includes more than 2,000 singles and albums, is diverse: There’s rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, doo wop, country, soul, classical, Christmas tunes, jazz and much more. The following photos are from Elvis’ collection here at Graceland. A great portion of Elvis’ collection is made up of gospel records. Elvis loved the Blackwood Brothers. Some of the group’s albums he enjoyed include “Paradise Island,” “Oh Happy Day,” “Roll on Jordan,” “His Hands,” “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” and “Hymn Sing,” from 1956. His expansive collection of gospel albums includes records by Mahalia Jackson, The Stamps Quartet, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, The Statesmen Quartet and Jimmy Dean, to name just a few. Elvis had plenty of Christmas and holiday music, too. His collection includes secular and sacred seasonal music; he owned Christmas albums by the likes of the Jackson 5, Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, Gene Autry and The Temptations. Elvis loved the twang of country music. He had several records by his pal Johnny Cash, as well as records by Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams. His collection includes a 45 of “Ode to Billie Joe” by fellow native Mississippian, Bobbie Gentry. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll had plenty of rock records, too. He had records such as a Dave Clark Five greatest hits album, “Magical Mystery Tour” by The Beatles and “Eat a Peach” by the Allman Brothers, and his 45s included “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On” by Jerry Lee Lewis, “All I Have to Do is Dream” by the Everly Brothers and B.J. Thomas’ “Hooked on a Feeling.” He also had a copy of Mott the Hoople’s 1972 album, “All the Young Dudes,” and “Piece of My Heart” by Big Brother and the Holding Company. Elvis enjoyed plenty of popular artists as well, like the Bee Gees, Tom Jones, Neil Sedaka and Peter, Paul & Mary. Ray Charles is an artist whose music pops up repeatedly in his collection. Elvis had 45s of Charles’ “America the Beautiful,” “Hit the Road, Jack,” “Hardhearted Hannah” and “In the Heat of the Night,” as well as several albums. Elvis loved his R&B, soul and blues records. He had albums and singles by the likes of John Lee Hooker,...
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Remembering Al Wertheimer

Elvis lives on today through his music, movies and even photographs of the man they called the king. Earlier this week, famed Elvis photographer Alfred Wertheimer passed away peacefully at his home in New York. Al was a friend to Elvis fans and the man often times behind the camera never turned down a request for someone to have their picture made with him at any one of the dozens of fan events he has participated in over the years. His images of the icon, Elvis, are themselves iconic. His style was simple: be a fly on the wall and capture what was happening around him. The shots were rarely posed and only at Elvis’ request. In March, June and July of 1956, Wertheimer was hired by RCA to capture photos of their rising star named Elvis Presley. From that three month assignment, over 3,800 memorable images came out of the time spent with Elvis. One of the more notable photographs is “The Kiss,” taken in Richmond, Virginia at the Mosque Theatre minutes before a performance in the summer of 1956. Wherever Elvis went, Al went. Following a record-breaking ratings performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and RCA recording sessions that produced “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel,” Elvis hopped on a train from New York to Memphis. Wertheimer was there with his camera for ALL 27 hours of the train ride. He later remarked that it was Elvis’ willingness to get close that allowed him to capture some memorable photos, including Elvis as he was listening to the recordings from his recent RCA sessions. Following that train ride to Memphis, Wertheimer found himself at home with the Presley family on Audubon Drive. It was a casual side of Elvis rarely-seen in photos following his rise to superstardom.   Upon hearing the news of Wertheimer’s passing, Priscilla Presley issued this statement on behalf of the family: “I’m deeply saddened by the death of Alfred Wertheimer. He was a dear friend and special soul. I feel he was a gift for all who knew him, especially Elvis Presley. There has been no other photographer that Elvis ever allowed to get as up close and personal in his life through photos as he did with Alfred.” A mantra of sorts around Graceland is “Long live the King,” and Elvis’ legacy certainly lives on because of people like Alfred...
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Unseen Graceland: Beyond the Ropes

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to explore every inch of Graceland? Kind of like a “win the lottery” type golden ticket to Graceland that allows you to really check out every square inch, go through drawers and cabinets, walk around in the rooms and really take a good look at things? Before we get your hopes up, sadly, no such thing exists, nor will it anytime soon. Sorry if you thought this was the lead in to the end all, be all Graceland sweepstakes contest. However, we were able to take a look at a few unseen, off the tour path spots recently that we know true fans might find of real interest, especially if they have been on the tour more than once, OK, who are we kidding, more than a dozen times. First stop, the dining room. Little did you know that there is actually a doorbell type buzzer under the table so Elvis or whoever was at the head of the table could summon the staff in the kitchen. There were no cords to pull that rang bells in the basement like we see on Downton Abbey. Pretty fancy stuff for the 70s. Speaking of the kitchen, let’s take a look inside the cabinets. Here we see a glass etched with the name “Minnie” for Minnie Mae who was Elvis’ grandmother, not Minnie Mouse. However, we also see a glass from EPCOT at Walt Disney World in Florida. What this souvenir from the happiest place on earth really tells us is that Graceland was – and still is – a family home even after Elvis passed and opened to the public. Five years after his passing, the first visitors made their way through the front door of Graceland in June of 1982, however EPCOT didn’t open until October of the same year. A young Lisa Marie would often travel to Memphis and spend time at her childhood home with family, including her great grandmother Minnie Mae. In fact, someone lived at Graceland up until 1993, 11 years after it first opened for public tours. Today the Presley family still makes frequent visits to Graceland in Memphis, often having dinner at their famous home after tours for the day have ended when some of these very glasses may be put to use. In the kitchen we can also open a drawer to see where it appears Lisa Marie...
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All Elvis, All The Time. Elvis Radio: Guest Blogger

It’s amazing to think about how much has happened at Elvis Presley’s Graceland since 2004, when we began broadcasting LIVE from Graceland on SiriusXM’s Elvis Radio.  There are so many incredible memories, events and highlights with Elvis’ friends, musicians, family and especially with the millions of fans around the globe who love the King of Rock & Roll! Let’s shine the spotlight on some of the most memorable, as birthday boy George Klein (October 8, 1935) would say, from the “World of Presley”! Fans still marvel and talk about the “Elvis 30th Anniversary Concert” at FedExForum during Elvis Week 2007.  Hosted by Priscilla Presley and a surprise starring cameo from Lisa Marie Presley and her incredible LIVE duet performance with her dad of “In The Ghetto” with an inspirational gospel choir.  The energy in the air for Elvis Week, whether it was the Candlelight Vigil, the Insiders VIP’s or the “Elvis 30th Anniversary Concert” made it feel like the whole universe was revolving around Graceland and Memphis. Priscilla Presley’s frequent LIVE visits on Elvis Radio over the years with Argo, Big Jim, and her long time buddy, George Klein.  As a matter of fact most recently on October 3, 2014, Priscilla spent almost 90 minutes one-on-one with George Klein as she was in town to be part of the Blues Ball’s salute to the “60th Anniversary Of That’s All Right Mama and Rock & Roll”. Lisa Marie Presley’s birthday broadcast with Argo on February 1, 2012, when she announced she would be back to record and film songs from her Storm & Grace album at the legendary Sun Studio, where Elvis first recorded in downtown Memphis, and her return on May 14, 2012 to share her brand new release with Elvis fans around the world with Big Jim Sykes. Elvis Week, August 13, 2006 Sunday Morning Gospel time Show with original Jordanaire member Gordon Stoker hosted by Big Jim Sykes, with a live audience of fans on the Graceland plaza. Listen here: http://blog.graceland.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Gordon-Stoker-Peace-In-The-Valley-Story-081306-2.mp3 Live coverage of the phenomenal Collingwood Canada’s Elvis Festival with the largest presentation of Elvis Tribute Artists and a Guinness World Record of the most ETA’s performing All Shook Up on one stage! And the absolute best part of ten years of Elvis Radio is spending time and getting to know the hundreds and thousands of Elvis fans that come to be part of the Elvis Presley experience...
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Royal Selfies from the King’s Castle

Back in August while Elvis fans and the Graceland staff were all celebrating Elvis Week 2014, we missed the news that the word “selfie” has been added to the Oxford Dictionary. So was twerking, but we won’t go there, for now. Selfie wasn’t even a word when the version of Microsoft Word being used to write this blog entry was created, therefore it still shows up with squiggly red lines underneath it. Just so you know, the definition of “selfie” according to the Oxford Dictionary is: A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media. Around Graceland, we see plenty of selfie action, daily. When employees see guests taking selfies, we offer to snap a photo and sometimes the offer is politely refused in preference of the extended arm close up. With the realization that selfies are here to stay, we have suggestions for the best selfie spots on your future visits to the King’s castle. Take a look at these #Graceland selfies submitted by our guests to @VisitGraceland on Instagram.      ...
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