Elvis Presley: Viva Las Vegas

Elvis Presley is the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world.
No wonder these two legends go hand in hand.

Elvis was a true Southern gentleman, but he loved the wild West, especially Las Vegas.

He ruled Vegas during his residency there, thrilling more than a million fans with his powerful live performances. And of course, one of his most beloved films is the stylish, colorful and fun “Viva Las Vegas.”

More than 40 years later, the king returns to Vegas with Graceland Presents ELVIS: The Exhibition – The Show – The Experience, a new permanent, expansive exhibition that covers Elvis’ life and career, as well as live, Elvis-themed shows that honor his legacy. It’s all happening at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, formerly the International Hotel, where Elvis performed more than 600 sold-out concerts.

Graceland Presents ELVIS opens April 23 and includes Elvis Experience, the first show in the newly named and renovated Elvis Presley International Showroom.

Tickets are on sale now, and you can learn more at Graceland.com/Vegas.

Let’s take a look back at Elvis’ wildly successful Vegas shows.

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Elvis was originally booked for a four-week, 57-show engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, which had just been built and had the largest showroom in the city. He put together a top-notch group of musicians and vocalists to accompany him, and his show opened on July 31, 1969.

Elvis soon made the International a home of sorts. He toured the country, but he returned to the International hundreds of times and performed for more than a million fans.

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Elvis’ Las Vegas shows were a mix of classic hits and new material, as well as covers of songs he liked. He performed two shows a night, one at 8 p.m. and the other at midnight.

The stage was Elvis’ natural habitat, and he gave each performance his very best. In between songs, he entertained the audience with jokes and his charming personality.

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A few of the reviews of Elvis’ Las Vegas shows include:

“There are several unbelievable things about Elvis, but the most incredible is his staying power in a world where meteoric careers fade like shooting stars.”
– “Newsweek,” August 11, 1969 issue

“…a style and panache that come close to pure magic. Lithe, raunchy, the sweat pouring down his face, he now moves with the precision of an athlete, the grace of a dancer…flamboyant and flashy, sexy and self-mocking, he works with the instincts of a genius to give poetry to the basic rock performance.”
– W.A. Harbinson, from his 1975 book, “The Illustrated Elvis.”

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Elvis had more than a few recognizable faces in his audiences. Sammy Davis Jr. and Tom Jones attended his opening night performance. Davis was in the front row, and Elvis gave him one of his own rings right there from the stage.

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Elvis’ shows broke all Vegas attendance records, and the city still honors him.

Today, there’s an Elvis statue at the Westgate. Elvis was inducted into the Las Vegas Walk of Stars in 2008, and his star is in front of the Riviera near the famous Crazy Girls statue.

King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is the King of Las Vegas, too.

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29 Comments

  1. Diane Kelley

    Love the photos and the article! Those photos are some of my all time favorites. And this quote says it all – “…a style and panache that come close to pure magic. Lithe, raunchy, the sweat pouring down his face, he now moves with the precision of an athlete, the grace of a dancer…flamboyant and flashy, sexy and self-mocking, he works with the instincts of a genius to give poetry to the basic rock performance.”
    – W.A. Harbinson, from his 1975 book, “The Illustrated Elvis.”

  2. Craig Shepard

    Thank God we had him and so greatful to the Presley family and staff at GRACELAND that we have this incredible place to visit. Planning a 3rd time return visit asap..

    Craig

    A fan since age 4-1954/

  3. Joe Silva

    Such a great man and entertainer I wish he was still here I have xm radio just so I can listen to elvis whenever I am in my car

  4. The man is a god a true legend and a wonderful human so sadly missed

  5. As luck would have it I am in Las Vegas the week after this wonderful exhibit opens and needless to say I can’t wait.

    I was at the LVH last year to see another show and they commented that this was the stage Elvis perfomed on…I was touched but now to see a show based on Elvis I can’t wait….

    Cheryl

    Loving Elvis always – Toronto Ontario Canada

  6. lo admiro desde siempre, fue es y sera el mas grande VIVA EL REY!!!!MI SUEÑO ES VISITAR GRACELAND,NO QUISIERA MORIR SIN CUMPLIRLO.

  7. Like the rest of the world: “Can’t get enough of ELVIS”
    Keeping the Legend Alive !! brtral@bellsouth.net

  8. Audrey Minchin

    Would love to be there

  9. ELVIS HE MAKES PART OF MY LIFE

  10. Keith LaPersonne

    I’ve been an Elvis fan since ’59 and seen all his movies and concerts in Movie Halls and DVD’S………..Also got all his songs , Gospel, Rock-N-Roll Ballads and what have you…..on CD’s. Was and Is the World’s GREATEST Entertainer as far as I’m concerned.

  11. Mona Osborn

    Awesome I hope I can see this Elvis museum . I’ve only been to Vegas once and that was over 30 years ago.I have been to Graceland 5 times love it each time and can’t wait to go back.

  12. david jury

    We loved. Our trip. There it. Was fantastic

  13. Elvis’ star in the Las Vegas Walk of Stars was sponsored by my club, Viva Las Vegas. I am the President. Thanks to my members and many donors, we raised the funding required to install the star. The campaign was all fan-driven. Nice to see the star mentioned in this blog. We were proud to honor Elvis in this way.

  14. malengez

    the best the king hello from belguim!!

  15. Diane Kelley

    Hopefully there will be some new Vegas theme merchandise available online and in the shops to tie in with this new exhibit and the new That’s The Way It Is VIP exhibit!

  16. Joy Morrison

    I have been an Elvis fan since my childhood. No other entertainer has ever come close to the emotional highs and lows that Elvis brings me to. He makes me happy and he makes me cry with sadness for the loss of him…
    His fame gobbled him up…. There will NEVER be another like him for me and I’m sure for the millions of devoted fans from across the world. Who else after 38 years after their death has the power of Elvis Presley!!!
    Love him for as long as I breath…..

  17. Rusty A Daigle

    All I can say is Elvis is the best ever no one can walk in his shoes.

  18. Sharron

    I was lucky enough to see Elvis in February 1971 and August 1971 in Las Vegas. In 1971 my 10 year old son spoke to him and he gave my son a scarf. Elvis winked at him took both of his hands when he saw him. From the look on his face it was true that Elvis loved kids.

    I also saw Elvis in Ft. Wayne in 1957 and in Cincinati in 1972. Long live the King!

  19. Carol Powers

    Elvis, without you my life would have been boring. When you came into my life, Wow what a change for me. You gave me something to love and it felt great. You are the Man of all Men. You were very positive, loving, happy go lucky, a God loving, respectful, charming and so very handsome. You gave us the best of music and your self. I am so glad to be part of your generation, the best generation, The Elvis generation. I enjoyed seeing your movies, over and over, your live concerts, including Las Vegas. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and my love for you comes from the bottom of my heart. You would have never imagined your own Elvis radio station. It will have to do. Till we meet again Loving you always and forever.

  20. Janet Davies

    Fantastic pictures of Elvis, I can’t describe why I love the man so much, I can only say he’s Elvis, it’s pure and simple.
    Elvis owned the stage in Las Vegas, or where ever he performed, his electricity on stage was incredible, and you just couldn’t take your eyes of him, his sense of humor was incredible, and the effort he put into songs he sang on stage, and even in rehearsal, was incredible, he felt the music, like no other star, then, and now.
    He’ll always be missed, just because he was and is so special, I’m a very proud member of Elvis Insider’s, the King still rocks

  21. Danny Pasatiempo

    FAN since ’57. Has been and always will be my inspiration. Elvis was human, but always shared his gift of music with a smile. GOD bless him and his family

  22. Regina Gillotte

    I love Elvis…I’II be there

  23. Joan Cloney

    I was born just 1 year and two days before Elvis. I loved his music the first time I heard him. When his records came out I bought the 78’s, the 45’s the CD’s, etc. I went to Graceland once and saw him twice in person. Once in Las Vegas and again in San Francisco. There never was or will be another like him. His voice was unique and his looks like no other. He has been and will be my favorite forever.

  24. ELVIS WILL ALWAYS BE THE KING…….I can’t seem to get enough of him, been to Graceland twice and hope to go again asap Can listen to his music, watch his movies, read his books …there is never a day going by that Elvis is not in my home and in my heart. Have loads of memorabilia but never enough to replace such a wonderful man thank you, thank you very much ^_^

  25. My love to a man who was there for me with the love in his voice and words like no other can express…….he picked me up when life and disappointment knocked me down and continues to be my Man!

  26. Ann Marie DeLotto

    great wright up. Elvis is definetly the king and always will be

  27. Ann Marie DeLotto

    terrific photos and information.He is truly the King of rock and roll

  28. Roseanne Joseph

    I absolutely love these photos.It truely put a smile on my face.Love,Loveit. Can’t wait to go to Las,Vegas for the new Elvis Presley Hotel.Lo,rj

  29. kathy wells

    love the pics. Elvis was truly a legend.He remains in my heart and soul forever. I love everything I see and read about.There is NO other King but ELVIS

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