Elvis Presley in Memphis

By Alyssa Long When people think of Memphis, oftentimes the first thing that comes to mind is Elvis Presley’s Graceland. However, the entire city of Memphis played a very important role in Elvis’ life both personally and professionally. Here are some other Memphis places that were significant to Elvis Presley:   Chisca Hotel It was here, in the Chisca Hotel on July 8, 1954, that Elvis Presley was played on the radio for the very first time. Popular disk jockey Dewey Phillips played “That’s All Right” and everything changed. For music, for Memphis, and for Elvis. Today, the Chisca Hotel is undergoing a facelift. While it is still standing, it has been sitting vacant since the 1980s. It is currently in the process of undergoing a major historic renovation and is being converted into apartments, retail, and restaurant space.   Humes High School In 1953, 18-year-old Elvis Presley graduated from Humes High School. Even though he had not officially recorded any music yet, many of his classmates have fond memories of Elvis performing at their annual talent show. Today, this building serves as a middle school, but you can still imagine young Elvis Presley walking in and out of those doors to go to class.   Overton Park Shell At this outdoor theater located in Overton Park, Elvis Presley performed his first official on-stage performance (not counting school talent shows) on July 30, 1954. The Overton Park Shell, Graceland and the Mid-South Coliseum (see below) all have something in common (besides Elvis, that is):  They were designed by the same architect! Today, the Overton Park Shell is known as the Levitt Shell and is still the home of many outdoors concerts.   Audubon Drive Graceland wasn’t Elvis’ only home in Memphis. Before purchasing Graceland, he lived on Audubon Drive with his parents. In 1956, 21-year-old Elvis bought this home after “Hearbreak Hotel” became his first Number 1 song. He lived there with his parents for a little over a year. Today, the house is overseen by the Mike Curb Institute at Rhodes College.   Mid-South Coliseum Exactly 22 years to the day after recording “That’s All Right,” Elvis performed his last concert in Memphis on July 5, 1976 at the Mid-South Coliseum. He gave an incredible performance covering all of this hit songs from his 22-year career, all while wearing a stunning white jumpsuit. Today, the Mid-South Coliseum stands empty and is not open,...
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10 Best Places to Take a Selfie at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

By Alyssa Long If you visit Elvis Presley’s Graceland and take lots of pictures, but you weren’t in any of them, were you really there? Well, of course you were! But I bet you wish you’d taken a few selfies to remember your trip. Here are some of the best places to take a selfie while at Elvis Presley’s Graceland, whether you’re there for the tour or experiencing Elvis Week. And if you’re in Memphis for Elvis Week, play along with the Elvis Week Instagram Challenge – but more on that in a bit.   1) Before you begin your tour   Before you start your tour of Graceland, I suggest snapping a picture out front! There’s even a little patch of sidewalk in the front yard that’s the perfect spot to get most of the house in your selfie.   2) The TV Room’s Mirrored Ceiling   Elvis’ TV Room (which is my favorite, by the way) is in the basement, but it doesn’t feel cramped. I bet the mirrored ceiling helps with that, it also lends a hand in being a great place to capture a creative selfie.   3) The Jungle Room   Easily the most memorable room in Graceland, the Jungle Room is a great place for a selfie. Even though you can’t actually walk through the Jungle Room, you can take a picture to capture the uniqueness of the room. Don’t leave out the shag carpet on the ceiling!   4) With Elvis’ Grammys   Elvis won three Grammy Awards in his life, and all three were for his gospel records. Why not snap a picture with these amazing awards when passing through the Hall of Gold.   5) With Elvis   While you’re there, also grab a quick pic with the King himself, well a picture that is. There’s a great picture of Elvis right by the Grammys. I mean, just look at that smile!   6) Racquetball Court   At Graceland, the racquetball court is not for playing. It’s for admiring some of Elvis’ jumpsuits, gold records, and other achievements. It’s also another perfect spot for a selfie!   7) With a Graceland Lion   Standing guard outside the front doors of Graceland are two friendly lions. Don’t worry, they’re friendly and more than happy to smile for a selfie.   8) In Front of the Gates   The gates of Graceland are iconic,...
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Elvis Week: Fans, Friends, Family

Elvis Presley has the best fans in the world. They supported him throughout his decades-long career, buying every record, seeing every movie, experiencing live performances and collecting memorabilia. Today, they’re still listening to his music (even if it’s on an iPhone instead of a record player), watching his movies, collecting memorabilia, touring his home and gathering in Memphis every August to celebrate him. And it’s during Elvis Week that fans become more than just fans – they become friends, and they become family. That’s the power of Elvis. Elvis Week brings together fans from all over the world. Even if they don’t speak the same language or see eye-to-eye on anything else, they can all agree on one thing: Elvis. Friendships are formed. Year after year, Elvis Week becomes like a family reunion, as fans and friends all travel to Memphis to pay tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and see their fellow Elvis fans again, and they welcome the newest members of the Elvis Week family. In celebration of International Day of Friendship, let’s look at some terrific friendships that have been made at Elvis Week.     Are you an #ElvisWeekAlum? If so, share photos of yourself with your friends at Elvis Week, use the #ElvisWeekAlum hashtag, and tag us on Instagram, or share this blog post on Facebook and tag your Elvis Week friends. If you’ve made friends at Elvis Week or by being a Graceland Insider, share that story in the comments. And don’t forget to get your Elvis Week tickets if  you haven’t...
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Five Things to Expect at Elvis Week 2015

By Alyssa Long Somebody please pinch me. As I sit here to write my first official Elvis Week blog post, I can hardly believe this is real life. Can you say “dream come true”? Anyway, allow me to introduce myself! I am Alyssa Long, a Memphis lifestyle blogger and this year’s Elvis Week blogger. As a fan of all things Memphis and all things Elvis, having the opportunity to play this special role during Elvis Week is a huge honor and something I am beyond thrilled to be doing! You’ll be hearing from me right here throughout Elvis Week where I’ll be highlighting, recapping, and talking about all the fun things going on at Graceland. So, speaking of Elvis Week, whether this is your first visit or your fifty-first visit, here are some things you can expect this year.     1) To Meet Elvis Fans from All Over the World   Elvis Week is truly something remarkable. People travel from all over the world to spend the week in Memphis with other Elvis fans. The best part about it? Everyone who is here has at least one thing in common, they all love Elvis. So, don’t be shy! Make some new friends and if you see me around, definitely say hello!   2) Honor the King   Elvis Week allows everyone to remember the incredible life of Elvis Presley. The Candlelight Vigil is a special time set aside to honor the King of Rock ‘n’Roll. I get goosebumps just thinking about the candlelight procession up the Graceland driveway. Elvis is still influencing people every single day. It’s amazing.   3) Do Things You Can Only Do in Memphis   There’s only one Graceland and that’s in Memphis. There are things to be done during Elvis Week that you can’t do anywhere else. I mean, you can’t walk through the Jungle Room anywhere else! That’s pretty awesome if you ask me.   4) Learn Something New and Interesting About Elvis   The amazing people behind Elvis Week have really outdone themselves this year. Throughout the week there are so many different events, special guests, and unique experiences that even the biggest Elvis fans are sure to learn something new.   5) Have the Time of  Your Life   Bottom line, Elvis Week is fun. Whether you’ve been an Elvis fan your entire life or you’re new to the party, you will...
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Elvis Presley and Country Music

Elvis Presley is the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, but he ruled country music, too. Elvis was raised on country, gospel and blues music. He brought all of those influences with him when he stepped into Sun Studio to record his early music. His music had the soul of blues music and the twang of country, and because the term “rock ‘n’ roll” was still in its infancy, Elvis’ music was initially labeled as country. Throughout his life, Elvis loved playing, listening to and recording country music, even if his name became synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll. Elvis spent much of his early career on tour with great American country stars. He performed at the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium – the “mother church of country music” – in 1954 and sang the classic country tune “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” His rock ‘n’ roll swagger wasn’t a perfect match with the traditional country crowd, and a few weeks later he joined the Opry’s competitor, the Louisiana Hayride. Between the Hayride and other tours and performances, Elvis toured and shared the stage with the likes of Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Hank Snow, Slim Whitman and Faron Young. “I Forgot to Remember to Forget,” a single Elvis released in 1955 on Sun, was his first No. 1 single, and it topped the country charts. (“Heartbreak Hotel,” which he released on RCA, was his first single to go Gold, and his first No. 1 on the pop chart.) Elvis’ success paved the way for other young country stars to find national success, too. Elvis’ extensive personal record collection is full of gospel, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, classical and, of course, country. He had records by his fellow Memphis musicians such as Johnny Cash and his old touring partners like Marty Robbins and Hank Snow. His collection also includes music by country stars like Ray Price, Conway Twitty, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Ronnie Milsap, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Elvis and his producer Felton Jarvis recorded many songs during several recording sessions in 1970 and realized many of the tracks were country, or had a country flavor. It was out of these sessions that the idea for “Elvis Country,” a complete album full of country tunes, was born. They recorded several more country songs that fit the bill and the album was released on January 2, 1971. The album includes tracks such as the singles “I Really Don’t...
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