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

 

The Presley family gathered on the front lawn of Graceland to celebrate the king's 80th birthday.

The Presley family gathered on the front lawn of Graceland to celebrate the king’s 80th birthday.

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

 

Nearly 20 million fans have visited the king's castle since it opened to the public in 1982.

Nearly 20 million fans have visited the king’s castle since it opened to the public in 1982.

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

 

The new Elvis Forever stamp's official release ceremony took place on Graceland's front lawn during Elvis Week.

The new Elvis Forever stamp’s official release ceremony took place on Graceland’s front lawn during Elvis Week.

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 Week on August 12, with Priscilla Presley and Postmaster General Megan Brennan in attendance. The stamps went on sale at midnight, and fans from across the globe lined up at the Graceland wall to own the first sheets of the stamps.

Fans also submitted their photos to be included in a new Elvis Forever Stamp Fan Mosaic. The mosaic is up now at Graceland, and fans have delighted in finding themselves on the huge picture at the Graceland Plaza.


New Exhibits

 

The new I Shot Elvis exhibit includes this promotional photo for "Jailhouse Rock," as well as Elvis' script for the film.

The new I Shot Elvis exhibit includes this promotional photo for “Jailhouse Rock,” as well as Elvis’ script for the film.

Two new exhibits, featuring over 125 rare artifacts, opened at Graceland in 2015.

“I Shot Elvis” is a photography-based exhibit, celebrating iconic photos of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll taken by both professional photographers and fans. The exhibit includes photos as well as artifacts relating to those photos, like movie scripts, clothing, jewelry and more.

“Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” at 45 is the 2015 VIP exhibit, and it celebrates the groundbreaking feature documentary that depicts Elvis as a master showman. The exhibit includes numerous artifacts seen in the film. The VIP exhibit’s run ends in January, and a new exhibit will take its place.


“If I Can Dream” New CD Release

 

Tracks on "If I Can Dream" include "Burning Love," "Fever," "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "It's Now or Never."

Tracks on “If I Can Dream” include “Burning Love,” “Fever,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “It’s Now or Never.”

Elvis continued to top the charts in 2015. His latest album, “If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley with The Royal Philharmonic,” which features powerful Elvis vocal performances paired with brand-new orchestral accompaniment, debuted #1 on the official UK and Australia album charts and #2 in Ireland. The album also debuted #1 on the Billboard Top Classical Crossover charts, #9 on Top Current Albums and #21 on the Top 200.

Fans at Elvis Week 2015 were able to hear the album first, with an exclusive listening party at Graceland.


The Gates of Graceland Web Series

 

This year we debuted our new web series, the Gates of Graceland. We’re just a few episodes in, but so far we’ve covered topics such as hidden Graceland, Elvis in Vegas and, in the latest episode, Elvis and Christmas.

Watch the latest episode below, or click here to see all of the episodes of Gates of Graceland.


How the Pink Cadillac Spent Its Summer Vacation

 

Elvis' Pink Cadillac is on display now at Graceland.

Elvis’ Pink Cadillac is on display now at Graceland.

Elvis’ Pink Cadillac has been on display at Graceland for over 30 years, but it spent its summer in London. Elvis’ iconic car went on display at Elvis at The O2 for its first exhibition outside of Graceland. The car returned to Graceland around Thanksgiving.

The successful Elvis at The O2 exhibition continued into 2015. It was scheduled to close in August 2015, but due to overwhelming demand, the exhibition was extended to January 10, 2016. Elvis’ incredible reach and influence stretched out to Las Vegas in 2015, too. Elvis: The Exhibition opened at The Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino in April 2015.


The Guest House at Graceland

 

The Guest House at Graceland is currently under construction, but you can make your reservations now for opening weekend.

The Guest House at Graceland is currently under construction, but you can make your reservations now for opening weekend.

The Guest House at Graceland was announced and broke ground in 2014, and it will open October 27-30, 2016 – so what did it do in 2015? Plenty.

Construction is well underway; crews have been working seemingly nonstop to get the new 450-room resort ready for guests. You can book your room now at the Guest House for opening weekend through December 2016.


Elvis for President

 

Have you entered to win an Elvis for President campaign kit?

Have you entered to win an Elvis for President campaign kit?

No matter your political leanings, most folks can agree on one thing: Elvis is the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. This year we launched the Elvis for President campaign, a fun way for fans to learn more about Elvis and his presidential connections during this political seasons.

Have you entered to win an Elvis for President campaign kit? You should do that.


Elvis’ Airplanes Are Staying at Graceland

 

The Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II are open for tours at Graceland.

The Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II are open for tours at Graceland.

This year an agreement was reached for Elvis’ two airplanes, the Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II, to remain at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis permanently.

The planes have been available for tours in the Graceland visitors’ center since 1984. Check out this Graceland Blog post about the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ first flight on the Lisa Marie.


Elvis Week 2015

 

The Candlelight Vigil at Elvis Week 2015 was even more special, thanks to the Presley family.

This year’s Elvis Week was full of special moments.

Lisa Marie Presley, her twin daughters and Priscilla Presley took part in the Candlelight Vigil. Lisa thanked fans for their continued love and support, and let fans light their candles from her own, which she lit at the flame at the Meditation Garden. Watch the Candlelight Vigil here.

Songwriter Mac Davis shared his memories of Elvis at Elvis Week, sharing for the first time ever that Elvis ad libbed the line “And his mama cried,” in “In the Ghetto.”


David Lee Crowned Ultimate ETA Champ

 

Alabama native David Lee took home the crown at the 2015 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.

Alabama native David Lee took home the crown at the 2015 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.

Also at Elvis Week, Elvis tribute artists from around the world competed in the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.

Lee, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, won the contest, with Dwight Icenhower coming in second and Ryan Pelton coming in third. The contestants had a great time in Memphis and at Graceland during Elvis Week. The guys got an up-close-and-personal look at Elvis artifacts with Graceland’s Director of Archives Angie Marchese, and they rode the country’s tallest free-standing elevator to the top of Bass Pro Shops in downtown Memphis to see a beautiful view of the Bluff City.


Graceland Lighting Ceremony

 

Country star Trisha Yearwood is a big Elvis fan, so it was an honor for her to perform at Graceland.

Country star Trisha Yearwood is a big Elvis fan, so it was an honor for her to perform at Graceland.

Award-winning country artist and Elvis fan Trisha Yearwood flipped the switch on Elvis’ traditional Christmas lights at the annual Graceland Lighting Ceremony on November 20. She also performed three beautiful holiday tunes, which put everyone in the Christmas spirit. Elvis would be proud.

Missed the lighting ceremony? Watch it now.


Celebrity Visitors

 

Elvis' influence lives on in singer-songwriters like Ed Sheeran, left, and Hozier, who toured Graceland in May 2015.

Elvis’ influence lives on in singer-songwriters like Ed Sheeran, left, and Hozier, who toured Graceland in May 2015.

Trisha wasn’t the only celebrity who stopped by Graceland in 2015.

Singer-songwriters Ed Sheeran, John Fogerty and Hozier toured before they performed at the Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival, and “American Pickers” star Mike Wolfe toured this summer, too. Other celebrity visitors this year included singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan, comedian Craig Ferguson, rock star Marilyn Manson, punk rocker Glenn Danzig, actor Dolph Lundgren and “Cake Boss” star Buddy Valastro.


What a great year!

We were lucky enough to spend it with all you, our special guests, here at Graceland. Thank you, thank you very much for visiting the king’s castle. Make your 2016 memorable with a trip to the Elvis Presley’s Graceland!

Plan your 2016 Graceland experience now.


4 Comments

  1. Rose Cvetanovich

    I forever will love Elvis since 1957. Finally got to Graceland, thanks to my brother John and sister-in-law Wendy. We had a great time. not long enough. I will never forget the experience. wrote my name on the wall twice and on the pavement. I can’t wait to go back. There will always only be one Elvis. I am so blessed to live in his time. I believe because he honored God with his music, God has honored him with all the adoring fans that still love him and will forever.

  2. Donna weiner

    I have been to Graceland 6 times and need to go back again. Each time you see something new that you did not see before

  3. Peter Buss

    This is a nice wrap up , I really enjoyed it.

  4. Laurie Larson

    I finally made it to Graceland in 2015, and not just once, but twice! My husband I went for a long weekend in March. Marvelous! In August my daughter and I attended Elvis Week. What a thrilling time it was to listen to speakers and singers who knew and worked with Elvis, to hear Priscilla announce the “I Have a Dream” CD release, and to stand in line for the candlelight vigil with newly-made friends from all over the world. When Lisa-Marie and twin daughters walked down the driveway from the Meditation Gardens where they had lit the torch, the tears flowed! As my daughter said, “Mom, you should come every year until you can’t anymore!” I hope I can.

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