Here’s Looking at You, Elvis Presley Fans

We’re days away from Christmas. Kids have sent off their Christmas lists and hoping Santa brings them everything on it. For those of us here at Elvis Presley’s Graceland, you could say that it’s Christmas for us every day. Why? Why, we get to see all of you, of course, and Elvis fans are exactly what we want for Christmas! We love seeing your smiling faces at Graceland, and we’re so thankful you choose to spend your time with us, whether it’s just for a quick tour, for an all-day adventure, to celebrate a birthday or anniversary or to join us for a special event, like Elvis Week. Thank you, thank you very much for visiting the king’s castle! For this week’s blog, we’ve collected some of our favorite guest photos that were posted to Instagram in 2016. There are many, many more – in fact, you can see our fan photos of the day daily on Graceland.com – so these are just a few of our faves. And remember – we have a lot of changes coming in 2017, so we’d love to see you back here at Graceland next year, complete with more photos and selfies. Want us to see your photo? Be sure to use the hashtag #Graceland, and be on the lookout for special events-related hashtags we’ll use throughout the year. (Speaking of Instagram, you do follow us on there, right?) Some of our favorite photos include the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll himself. You can’t come to Graceland without snapping a photo of yourself and the king!       Another popular location for selfies and photos at Graceland is, of course, the blue Graceland sign.     One of the most photogenic areas at Graceland is the famous Graceland wall, full of love notes to Elvis from fans all over the world. In fact, many of these fans’ photos look like they could be featured in a fashion magazine.       If you go anywhere really cool, you have to take a photo to prove you were there, right? Right. The cool thing about Graceland is that there’s no other place like it, so whether you snap a selfie in the Jungle Room, with one of Elvis’ cars or in Elvis’ backyard, your photo is totally one of a kind.             These shots are great, but it seems like...
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How Well Do You Know Elvis Presley’s 1956?

This year on the Graceland Blog, we’ve celebrated the amazing accomplishments that Elvis achieved 60 years ago in 1956. We’ve covered everything from his busy tour schedule to his first album to his first movie to the first home he purchased. We also discussed the Million Dollar Quartet and his many television appearances. If you’ve read these blogs – and are a good Elvis fan who knows all kinds of Elvis trivia – you probably know Elvis pretty well. But how well do you know Elvis’ 1956? Take the quiz below and find...
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Elvis Presley’s Graceland at Christmas

The holidays are – and have always been – a magical time here at Elvis Presley’s Graceland. From the colorful Nativity scene in the front yard to the Christmas wreaths at the stables, all of Graceland is decorated to celebrate the Christmas season. Graceland’s traditional Christmas decorations also include two beautiful Christmas trees – one in the living room and one in the dining room, poinsettias on the staircase and throughout the house, and decorations in the Pool Room and Jungle Room. Even the famous monkey in the pool room gets dressed up for the occasion, wearing a Santa hat and a red bow. Actually, before we go any further, let’s set the mood even more. Check out this video of Graceland’s Christmas lights, set to Charles Esten’s “The Lights at Graceland.”   Elvis loved Christmas. It was his favorite time of year. The Presleys always put up their Christmas decorations early, and because Elvis so loved the season, decorations stayed up through his birthday on January 8 (a tradition we keep alive here at Graceland). Elvis purchased Graceland in the spring of 1957, so that first Christmas at his new home was a special one. On December 12, he purchased a Santa and sleigh yard decoration that read, “Merry Christmas to All, Elvis.” We still display that sign, which he purchased for $300 from the Bain Sign Company. For Christmas, Elvis used beautiful red drapes to decorate Graceland. He had a white nylon Christmas tree which rotated on its stand and played Christmas carols, and he decorated it with red ornaments. Elvis also lined the Graceland driveway with blue lights. Elvis’ father Vernon joked that with the lights lining the driveway, and the airport nearby, that pilots may get confused and would try to land at Graceland. The Santa and sleigh sign went into a brief retirement in the 1960s, when Elvis decorated the lawn with the Nativity scene and aluminum Christmas trees. When the company that Elvis, and eventually Graceland, leased the Nativity scene and aluminum trees from each year went out of business, Graceland purchased the displays to ensure the continuation of Elvis’ holiday tradition. Christmas at Graceland became even more special with the arrival of Elvis and Priscilla’s daughter, Lisa Marie. For her first Christmas, Vernon dressed up as Santa to visit the family at Graceland. Elvis loved buying Christmas gifts for Lisa, and gifts...
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Elvis Presley and the Million Dollar Quartet

Sixty years ago, on December 4, 1956, four musicians gathered around a piano in a recording studio to jam… and the rest is history. There have been many jam sessions over the years, in plenty of recording studios, with any number of musicians – but this one is special. On a Tuesday afternoon, Elvis Presley, his date, Marilyn Evans and his friend Cliff Gleaves, were driving on Union Avenue in Memphis and spotted several Cadillacs sitting outside Sun Studio. Elvis was, by now, an RCA artist, but he couldn’t resist stopping by his former home studio to see who was recording that day. Inside was none other than Carl Perkins, who was working on a few tunes with his brothers, Jay and Clayton, and a young piano player who was new on the scene – Jerry Lee Lewis. Jerry Lee’s career was just starting at Sun, and he was excited to meet Elvis. At some point in the session, Sun’s biggest star, Johnny Cash, joined in on the fun. Some reports have him there for the entire session, while others say he was there just for the iconic photo. Either way, the four young musical legends – Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash – were at Sun Studio on December 4, and were, for at least a little while, the Million Dollar Quartet. Sam Phillips was there, too, and he made sure that engineer Jack Clement had hit the record button on the session. He also called Bob Johnson, a reporter for the Memphis Press-Scimitar, to snap a photo of what he already knew was a historic moment. “The quartet could sell a million,” Bob said in his story, which featured the headline, “Million Dollar Quartet.” The guys played a mix of their favorite country and gospel numbers. The tunes they played that day include “When the Saints Go Marching In,” “Peace in the Valley,” “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin,” “Down by the Riverside,” “You’re the Only Star in My Blue Heaven” and “Don’t Be Cruel.” Elvis sang pieces of “Don’t Be Cruel” as he told the guys about how impressed he was by a vocal group, Billy Ward and His Dominoes, who performed the song at their concerts in Las Vegas. The group’s singer that Elvis talks about during the session was Jackie Wilson. There were plenty of candid moments like that during the session. When...
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Guest Blog: Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback – Burbank to Graceland

To celebrate the anniversary of Elvis’ ’68 Special this week, we’re teaming with BestClassicBands.com to bring you this in-depth piece on the legendary special. Read an excerpt of their story below. by Neal Umphred At 9:00 p.m. on December 3, 1968, the televisions of millions of American homes were tuned to NBC, where they were greeted with this welcoming line: “If you’re looking for trouble, you’ve come to the right place.” After an eight-year hiatus, Elvis Presley was back on TV. He was joined by guitarist Scotty Moore and drummer D.J. Fontana, both of whom had been with Elvis on his historic TV appearances in 1956 and ’57. Television had changed a lot in those years: Presley was in glorious color for the first time! And he filled much larger screens than the tiny black-and-white sets that had showed a grainy version of him with Frank Sinatra in 1960, the last time he’d sung to a national audience. And it was only the beginning: For the next 60 minutes, viewers saw and heard some of the rawest, hardest rock and roll music of their lives. And it worked: Elvis was the top-ranked show of the week, beating out the hugely popular Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. The reviews that followed were generous, and the show’s producer, Bob Finkel, would later be given a Peabody Award for this special. Tell me why can’t my dreams come true But it was the response of the people that mattered: In the wake of the television broadcast, the single from the show, “If I Can Dream”—a heartfelt appeal for universal brotherhood and acceptance—peaked at #9 on the Cash Box Top 100 survey. It was Presley’s first Top 10 single in three years, selling close to a million copies in the U.S. (It reached #12 in Billboard.) The soundtrack album, Elvis, reached the Top 10 on Billboard’s LP chart, also the first time that had happened in three years. These two records were hits around the world, the first time that Presley had enjoyed such global success since “Crying in the Chapel” in 1965. In hindsight, all of this looks almost inevitable: How could such determination, such ambition, such genius not be appreciated on a massive scale? But that was anything but predictable when the show aired that December, for on that late 1968 day, Elvis had fallen from the pinnacle of success. He had made too...
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