Elvis Presley’s Graceland – Top 20 MomentsPosted by Elvis Presley's Graceland on May 12, 2016 | 16 comments
3764 Highway 51 South, Memphis, Tennessee.
The house at that address – now better known as 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard – has become more than just a house.
It’s the home of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley. Millions of fans have made the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll pilgrimage to his home to celebrate and honor him, to light candles in his name and to write messages to him on the wall. Musicians, world leaders and dignitaries have found inspiration on its grounds.
This past week, Elvis Presley’s Graceland celebrated 20 million visitors since the house opened to the public in 1982. That’s just the latest milestone during the house’s celebrated and storied lifetime.
To continue our 20 Million festivities, check out Graceland’s Top 20 Moments.
1939 – Graceland Built
Dr. Thomas Moore and Ruth Brown Moore built Graceland in 1939. The home was named Graceland in honor of Ruth’s aunt, Grace.
Learn more about Graceland’s history.
1957 – Elvis Purchases Graceland
In March 1957, 22-year-old rock star Elvis Presley purchased Graceland and its grounds for just over $102,000. Elvis had just skyrocketed to fame thanks to hits like “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Don’t Be Cruel,” and he’d already made his first film, “Love Me Tender.”
1957 – Graceland Gates Installed
One of the most iconic features of Graceland is its gates, which feature Elvis’ silhouette and music notes. The gates were installed at Graceland in April 1957, and Elvis often greeted fans and signed autographs at the gates. Today, it’s one of the most popular locations for a selfie for Graceland guests.
Learn more about Graceland’s gates.
1960 – Elvis’ ‘Home from the Army’ Press Conference at Graceland
Elvis was drafted into the Army at the height of his fame in 1958. When he returned home from active duty, he held a press conference in his father, Vernon’s, office at Graceland. He tells reporters he has no plans to leave Memphis and that “I’m going to keep Graceland as long as I possibly can. …Somebody asked me this morning what I missed about Memphis, and I said, ‘Everything.’”
1968 – Lisa Marie Presley Comes Home from the Hospital
Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie was born on February 1, 1968, in Memphis. Elvis and Priscilla brought Lisa Marie home to Graceland a few days later.
1976 – Elvis Records in the Jungle Room
One of the most legendary rooms at Graceland is the Jungle Room, with its exotic Polynesian décor, fountain and, of course, green shag carpet on both the floor and ceiling. In February 1976, RCA brought the studio to Elvis, as studio equipment was loaded into the Jungle Room for recording sessions. Elvis recorded tracks such as “Moody Blue,” “Solitaire” and “Hurt.”
1976 – Springsteen Jumps the Wall
In one of the coolest stories in rock ‘n’ roll, the Boss tried to meet the king. In April 1976, Bruce Springsteen performed in Memphis and, after the show, decided to drive by Graceland. When he saw that lights were on, he jumped the fence and raced to the front door. Elvis wasn’t home, and Springsteen was politely led away by security.
1978 – First Candlelight Vigil
The very first Candlelight Vigil took place one year after Elvis’ death at Graceland. Thirty-nine years later, thousands of fans from across the globe travel to Graceland to participate in the vigil. The vigil begins on the evening of August 15 and lasts well into the next morning, as fans walk up the driveway to Meditation Garden holding a candle in quiet remembrance of Elvis. Fans also gather along Elvis Presley Boulevard in front of the gates, listen to Elvis’ music and create memorials to the king.
Check out this time-lapse video of Elvis Presley Boulevard, in front of the gates of Graceland, at the 2015 Candlelight Vigil.
1982 – Graceland Opens to the Public
The king’s castle opened to the public on June 7, 1982, with Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden and Elvis’ aunt, Delta, cutting the blue ribbon with a pair of gold scissors. More than 3,000 fans lined up to tour Graceland on opening day.
Find out more about Graceland’s opening day.
1984 – Graceland Celebrates Its 1 Millionth Visitor
Those incredible numbers continued, and Graceland celebrated its millionth visitor in 1984.
1984 – Elvis’ Airplanes Come to Graceland
Like any great rock star, Elvis owned his own private jets. The Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II arrived at Graceland in 1984 to go on display. The planes had a police escort, and the wings of the Lisa Marie had to be removed so it could maneuver down Elvis Presley Boulevard.
Learn more about Elvis’ airplanes.
“I’m going to Graceland, Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee…”
Paul Simon’s legendary album, “Graceland,” was released in 1986. In the title track, a freshly-divorced father takes his son on a journey to Graceland to heal their broken hearts. Both the song and album won Grammy Awards, in the Record of the Year and Album of the Year categories, respectively.
1992/2015 – Elvis Commemorated on a U.S. Postage Stamp – Twice
Elvis Presley is the only individual to be featured on two commemorative U.S. postage stamps (Lucille Ball and her famous character, Lucy Ricardo, each share a stamp, however). The first stamp was released in 1992, and Graceland held a celebration, complete with stamp sales starting at midnight and special guests such as Lisa Marie, Priscilla, Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter and Shelby County Mayor Bill Morris, a friend of Elvis’.
In 2015, a second Elvis commemorative stamp was released during Elvis Week. Again, Graceland celebrated, along with Priscilla, Postmaster General Megan Brennan and thousands of fans.
The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum calls the 1992 stamp the most popular U.S. commemorative stamp of all time.
Find out more about Elvis stamps.
2006 – President Bush Visits Graceland
Plenty of celebrities and dignitaries have toured the king’s castle, but the first sitting U.S. President to tour Graceland was President George W. Bush. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi toured Graceland after being greeted by Lisa Marie and Priscilla.
2006 – Graceland Becomes National Historic Landmark
Graceland had the honor of becoming a National Historic Landmark in 2006, joining the ranks of homes such as the White House and Mount Vernon.
2010 – Lisa Marie, Priscilla and Family Celebrate Elvis’ 75th Birthday at Graceland
Elvis’ family gathered at Graceland to celebrate his 75th birthday. Priscilla, Lisa Marie and her two children, Riley and Benjamin, joined hundreds of Elvis fans at Graceland to cut a birthday cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to the king. The family also came together to celebrate the king’s 80th birthday in 2015.
2013 – Paul McCartney Visits Graceland
While in Memphis for his “Out There” tour in 2013, Sir Paul McCartney stopped by Graceland in May 2013. The former Beatle tweeted a photo of himself placing a guitar pick on Elvis’ grave.
2014 – The Royals Visit Graceland
The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was visited by British royalty in the spring of 2014. Princes William and Harry, as well as their cousins, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, were in Memphis for a friend’s wedding and decided to tour Graceland. A few in the group even sported Elvis-inspired sunglasses for their private tour.
2015 – Graceland Voted #1 Music Attraction Worldwide
We have to say, “Thank you, thank you very much” to Elvis fans worldwide who voted for Graceland as the “World’s Best Musical Attraction” in USA Today’s 10Best Readers Choice Contest. Graceland won the title by a landslide in the summer of 2015. Additional nominees included Abbey Road, The Grand Ole Opry and Sun Studio.
2016 – Graceland Celebrates 20 Millionth Visitor
Picture it: May, 2016. Memphis, Tennessee. Tiffany Greenoak and her husband, Robert, were on their honeymoon and about to tour Graceland when they were surprised by Graceland CEO Jack Soden with the news that Tiffany was Graceland’s 20 millionth visitor.
“We played Elvis music at our wedding, so for us as a couple, this trip to Memphis has tremendous meaning. It has been a dream to visit Graceland. I just can’t believe we’re here. We both grew up with Elvis music in our homes, our mums were big fans,” said Tiffany. “It says a lot that 20 million people have been here and to turn out to be the 20 millionth visitor is an incredible honor. We’ll have to come back for our anniversary and maybe we’ll be the 40 millionth visitor.”
tl;dr? Here’s a video recap of Graceland’s best moments!
Become a part of Graceland’s history by visiting the king’s castle! Plan your visit now.