Graceland’s Top 14 Moments of 2014Posted by Elvis Presley's Graceland on Dec 31, 2014 | 12 comments
Fans got closer to Elvis than ever before, thanks to the new Archives Studio. Elvis’ favorite car shines again. Priscilla shared her vision for Graceland. Elvis’ contribution to music history was celebrated. A few royals came to visit the King’s castle.
2014 was an exciting year for Elvis Presley’s Graceland.
Take a look at our wonderful year, and share some of the memories you made at Graceland in 2014. From our family to yours, Happy New Year!
iPad Tour Launch
Elvis loved technology, so no doubt he would approve of Graceland’s state-of-the-art upgrade: the new interactive iPad tour. Launched during Elvis week, the iPad tour gives guests a 21st century view of one of the world’s most historic landmarks. Fans can explore content hotspots, which, when activated, allow them to dive deeper into Elvis’ life through unique archival video, audio and photo elements. Elvis fan and celebrated actor John Stamos narrates the tour.
John Stamos Lights Up Graceland
Speaking of Stamos, our iPad tour narrator turned on the Christmas lights at Graceland this year, and what a magical night it was. Patients from Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital helped him flip the switch on Elvis’ original decorations, and Santa made an appearance, too. The holiday decorations are on display through Elvis’ birthday.
Archives Studio Opens
Fans can get closer to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll than ever before, thanks to the new Archives Studio. The studio opened in August and is home to the Graceland Archives Experience, which gives fans a peek into the archives vault to see artifacts not seen on the traditional tour. Fans have enjoyed seeing photographs, outfits, documents, film clips and more, some of which is being displayed for the first time.
60 Years of Elvis Exhibition Opens
The big bang of Rock ‘n’ roll was in July 1954, when Elvis recorded his first song, and fans all over the world celebrated the 60th anniversary this year. To celebrate the milestone anniversary, a new exhibit, “60 Years of Elvis,” debuted at Graceland as a part of the Graceland VIP tour. Rare artifacts on display include Elvis’ personal “That’s All Right” 45 RPM record, a pay stub from his early days as a driver at Crown Electric, an original script from “Jailhouse Rock” and much, much more. The exhibit is open through February 2015.
60th Anniversary Concert
Rock ‘n’ roll’s diamond anniversary was celebrated in Memphis with “60 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll – A Celebration of Memphis Music.” The concert took place on July 5, the anniversary of Elvis’ historic Sun Studio recording session, at the Levitt Shell, the site of Elvis’ first professional performance. The concert featured Memphis artists and showcased Memphis’ rich musical history, honoring the likes of Elvis, Sam & Dave, Al Green and the Staples Singers.
First Auction at Graceland
Fans and collectors all over the world bid on Elvis collectibles at the first-ever Auction at Graceland on August 14 during Elvis Week. Items auctioned include a “Love Me Tender” script, a hand-written song list, show agreements, jewelry and more, with many rare artifacts from the collection of Elvis collector Greg Page. All of the items in the auction were offered by third-party collectors, and were authenticated by Graceland Authenticated, a new Graceland affiliated authentication and appraisal service for collectors and fans. The success of this auction has led to the second Auction at Graceland, which is set for January 8, 2015.
Guest House at Graceland Groundbreaking
Priscilla Presley joined fans for the groundbreaking of The Guest House at Graceland during Elvis Week. The new hotel will be constructed on Elvis Presley Boulevard on the same side of the street as the landmark mansion. It will include two restaurants, meeting and events space, a 500-seat theater and more. Drawing inspiration from Elvis’ personal style and Graceland, Priscilla will guide the look of the interior design on a number of the special suites. The hotel will be one of the largest full-service hotels in Memphis, making it truly fit for a king.
Priscilla at Elvis Week
Priscilla Presley joined us for Elvis Week, including The Guest House at Graceland groundbreaking ceremony, a chat with Tom Brown to discuss her new “Shades of Elvis” book, and a surprise appearance during the Official Insiders’ event to talk about all the exciting activity at Graceland.
“Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” Remastered World Premiere
Elvis’ 1970 documentary, “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is,” was beautifully remastered this year and thrilled audiences all over again with a limited theatrical engagement. During Elvis Week, fans attended the world premiere at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis and were treated to extras, such as rehearsal footage that was not included in the original film .
New Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Crowned
Louisiana native Jay Dupuis took home the crown at the 2014 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist competition during Elvis Week. Jay has been an Elvis fan since he was 3, and he gave thanks to his friends and family for helping him pursue his dreams of becoming an Elvis tribute artist. Ben Thompson took home the second place title, and Kevin Mills won third place. Jay is now starring on stage in Elvis Lives, which is touring now. More info at ElvisLivesTour.com.
While in Memphis for a friend’s wedding, British royals Prince William, Prince Harry and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie toured a castle of a different kind – the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s castle – in May, and there was worldwide press about their visit. Other celebrities who visited Graceland this year include actress Anna Kendrick, Bruno Mars, Michael Buble, John Krasinski and Karen Gillian.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Drives Elvis’ Car
Elvis’ 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III, the last car he drove through the gates of Graceland, was preserved by the team at Charlotte Motor Speedway and automotive collector and restorer Walt Hollifield. The Stutz was unveiled back in April at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Autofair by NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and team owner Rick Hendrick of Hendrick Motor Sports. The Stutz is now back on display at the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum at Graceland.
Japanese Cherry Trees
Elvis Presley’s Graceland was made even more beautiful this year, thanks to three Somei Yoshino Cherry trees. The trees represent Japan’s appreciation for Memphis relief efforts after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Many Memphis businesses combined efforts to provide millions of dollars in relief. Graceland was chosen as the destination for the trees because of its worldwide recognition and Elvis’ popularity among Japanese leaders. The trees were planted during a ceremony on Arbor Day with the help of Motohiko Kato, Consul General of Japan in Nashville.
Elvis at The O2
Fans in the UK are lining up for Elvis at The O2, which opened on December 12th. It’s the largest exhibition ever mounted in Europe, showcasing more than 300 Elvis artifacts in London. Some of the artifacts have never been displayed outside Graceland, and a few – his American Eagle jumpsuit – will be on display for a short time only. The exhibition tells Elvis’ story from his childhood in Tupelo to his rise to fame as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and runs through August of 2015. More info at ElvisatTheO2.com.
TYTYVM for a great year, and here’s to making more memories in 2015.