The Official Blog of Graceland

Welcome to the official blog of Elvis Presley’s Graceland! You can take Elvis-inspired quizzes, get first-looks on events here at Graceland and how-to guides on everything you need to know about Elvis and his home. Like Elvis, we come with a little southern charm!

Elvis Presley’s Books

Elvis Presley loved to read. Not only did he keep books at home at Graceland Mansion, he often took many books out on the road with him while he toured. Elvis’ favorite books are well-worn and well-loved; he would often underline his favorite passages and add notes in the margins. National Read a Book Day is Sunday, September 6, so in celebration, here’s a look at a few books from Elvis’ collection. Elvis’ record collection contains music from all genres, but he owned a lot of gospel records. His library is similar: There are books on just about every topic, but he owned a lot of religious books. He owned many, many copies of The Holy Bible. Some are hard cover; some are soft covers. Some are copies that he purchased and some are gifts from fans. In his King of Kings Holy Bible were found notes he’d written to himself on sheet music. He also kept a note from a fan in that Bible, as well as a card and bookmark. One Bible, The New Chain Reference Bible, was a gift from the Elvis Presley Fan Club in Melbourne. “To Elvis with Fondest Wishes from Your Australian Fans,” is stamped on the inside cover. Elvis was interested in and inspired by spiritualism and religion. His library reflects that: Titles in his library include “Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning” by Thomas Troward; “The Mystic Bible” by Dr. Randolph Stone; “Certain Women – A Study of Biblical Women” by Zona Bays Marshall; and, of course, one of his favorites, Joseph Benner’s “The Impersonal Life.” Elvis purchased hundreds of copies of that book over the years and gave them to family and friends. Elvis had quite a collection of fascinating history books and historical biographies, too. Like the Bibles, some he purchased, while others were gifts from fans and friends. Topics include American history and Presidents, World Wars I and II, the Kennedy family, Winston Churchill, Eugene Lyons and more. Elvis also owned lots of books about sports, especially football and karate. His library included “Illustrated History of Football” by Robert Smith; “The History of Pro Football” by Harold Claassen; and both volumes of “Vince Lombardi on Football.” Elvis also owned a signed copy of famed Ole Miss coach John Vaught’s “Rebel Coach.” Elvis owned countless karate books. Just a few of his karate books include “Karate Kata Heian 5” and “Dynamic Karate” by...
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Q&A: 2015 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist David Lee

Dreams came true for David Lee on August 13, 2015, when he was named the 2015 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, and a big Elvis fan, David advanced to the Semifinal and Final Rounds during Elvis Week after winning the Ocean City Elvis Festival’s Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Preliminary Round. David won the title of 2015 Ultimate ETA, a contract to perform for Legends in Concert, the 2015 Ultimate ETA Contest belt designed by B&K Enterprises, and a cash prize of $20,000. Let’s get to know David Lee better. Q: When and how did you become a fan of Elvis Presley? A: Of course, like most people, I heard Elvis at a young age, and knew something about him was different. But I became a die-hard Elvis fan thanks to a guy named Kevin Muir, who I worked with in my early 20s. He introduced me to the more obscure songs and I was hooked instantly! I now have a huge Elvis collection – well over 10,000 pieces. I even have over 1,000 Elvis 8-track tapes! Q: How did you become an Elvis Tribute Artist? A: Simply put, my love of everything Elvis was so strong that I had to have an outlet to express that. It was the early ’90s and karaoke was really becoming very popular, so I would go and sing at local establishments. The first time I can remember actually dressing the part was when a coworker was leaving the company we worked for, so myself and another friend actually bought a cheap Elvis costume and performed in front of about 100 people at his going-away party. I must have had half of those 100 come up to me and say, ‘Wow, you sound like Elvis,’ ‘Can you come and sing for daughter’s birthday?’ and so forth and so on. I knew that day that things were going to change. I just had no idea how much and that there was an Elvis world out there! Q: What are some of the highlights of your ETA career thus far (besides being named the 2015 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist)? A: Wow. Great question. This is my 20th year as an ETA and I have had a lot of great things happen to me. I have been fortunate enough to win the biggest competitions in the world. In 2004, I was and still am the only person to win the International...
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Elvis Week Instagram Challenge

Just before Elvis Week, we issued a challenge to Elvis fans: Share your Elvis Week experience on Instagram. We asked fans to snap photos while they’re at Elvis Week at Graceland, tag Graceland and post those pictures to Instagram. And, as always, Elvis fans answered the challenge. There were hundreds of photos tagged #ElvisWeek, #Graceland and more, and here are just a very few of our favorites. TYTYVM for answering the challenge, Elvis fans, and remember to follow Graceland on Instagram at @VisitGraceland!   TYTYVM to all of the Elvis fans who took amazing Instagram pictures at Elvis Week! Be sure to check out the Elvis Week photo gallery at Graceland.com for even more photos from the...
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Candlelight Vigil

By Alyssa Long The Candlelight Vigil is completely different from all other Elvis Week events. While other things during the week are high energy, loud and entertaining (all in very good way), the Candlelight Vigil is a time during the festival when everyone can gather together and pay their respects to Elvis Presley. This year, an estimated 30,000 people arrived at the Graceland gates to stand together in remembering Elvis. The evening started with Lisa Marie, Elvis’ daughter, lighting candles for fans. This gesture meant so much to everyone in attendance. It doesn’t happen every year, but the impact was incredibly touching. After a few words are spoken and a few songs are played, the procession to the Meditation Garden begins with the Elvis Presley Fan Clubs. These fan club members come from all over the world and are made up of fans of all different ages. Throughout the night, they’ll line part of the driveway with candles in hand to welcome all other fans in attendance.   The procession continues up the driveway and it’s a beautiful thing to see. From a distance, it’s incredibly picturesque with the whole Graceland area all lit up and hundreds of candles dotting the drive. To actually walk up the driveway and then through the Meditation Garden surrounded by other fans all in quiet remembrance is unlike anything else. The love and passion for Elvis Presley and all he did is contagious and can truly be felt at the Candlelight Vigil.   Back on Elvis Presley Boulevard, a normally very busy road, cars are not permitted and fans make shrines to commemorate Elvis. They use candles and pictures, they build structures and draw art on the pavement. They all gather together, share stories, share memories and bond over their love for Elvis Presley and his music.   Elvis is more than the jumpsuits, more than the pink Cadillacs, more than the sideburns. He is special to so many people and fans will continue remembering Elvis each year at this special event–his memory and legacy will live...
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Viva Las Vegas

By Alyssa Long Elvis fans are very unique in that they like to soak up every detail and learn as much as they can about Elvis Presley. This week, I’ve talked at length about Elvis and his time in Memphis. Well, there was another city that made a big impact on Elvis and where he can still be found today… Las Vegas. Last night, there was an Elvis in Vegas Tribute Concert featuring the Terry Mike Jeffrey Band, and it got me thinking about the time Elvis spent in Las Vegas. Here’s are some interesting, numerical facts about Elvis and Las Vegas: 1956 – The year Elvis first performed in Las Vegas. He was actually received poorly by the conservative, middle-aged audience that was there at the time. 1964 – The year “Viva Las Vegas,” Elvis’ 15th film, was released.   8 – The length, in minutes, of Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding which took place at The Aladdin (present day Planet Hollywood) on May 1, 1967. 32 – The age Elvis was when he married Priscilla. 52 – The number of shows Elvis was scheduled to perform at the brand new International Hotel in 1969. 2200 – The number of audience members in his first show in Las Vegas after making his comeback. They gave him a standing ovation before he even began to sing.   5 – The length, in years, of the contract Elvis eventually had with the International Hotel to perform each February and August. 30 – The floor the penthouse was on that Elvis stayed in at The International Hotel. 5000 – Number of square feet that the penthouse was. 600+ – The number of consecutive sold out shows in Las Vegas.   Today, there are shows in Las Vegas that pay tribute to Elvis Presley. He is still very much alive in Las Vegas as he is with all of us here visiting Graceland for Elvis...
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Things You Might Not Know About Elvis Tribute Artists

By Alyssa Long The top Elvis Tribute Artists, aka ETAs, in the world gather in Memphis during Elvis Week to complete in the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. Throughout the year there are Elvis Tribute Artist competitions across the globe. The winners of these competitions are in the running to become the Ultimate ETA. I was able to sit down and chat with David Allen, one of this year’s top ten finalists, and I got the scoop on all things ETA. Here are some things I learned. They’re All Friends Winning the Ultimate ETA Contest during Elvis Week is a life changing event for these performers. Because of how important this contest is you would think the competitors would be cutthroat in the dressing room. It’s actually the complete opposite! They all know each other, they all encourage each other, they even have been known to share props and costumes for concerts! Being an Elvis Tribute Artist is like being part of a special brotherhood.   This Is A Full Time Job Even though the motivation is most definitely not money, Elvis Tribute Artists consider themselves extremely fortunate to be able to do what they love every single day. They have the unique ability to touch people’s lives in incredible ways through their Elvis performances. Whether it’s the woman in the nursing home who smiled for the first time in days or they’re giving young people an idea of what it was like to see Elvis perform, they are influencing Elvis fans and potential Elvis fans every single day.   They Don’t Like Stereotypes As their name suggests, Elvis Tribute Artists pay tribute to Elvis Presley, they don’t try to impersonate him. They strive to represent Elvis in an honest and satisfying way and put on a quality act. In fact, they consider themselves the biggest Elvis fans around.   It’s Hard Work Simply having a resemblance to Elvis Presley and a jumpsuit isn’t enough. Being an Elvis Tribute Artist is hard work. They do lots of research and they hold themselves to a very high standard, after all, they’re trying to pay the proper tribute to the king of rock. They also have the responsibility to bring the essence of Elvis to fans who never had the opportunity to see live Elvis performances. At the same time, it’s incredibly humbling and nerve-racking for them to perform in front...
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Elvis Presley is Everywhere

By Ayssa Long We are just past the halfway point of Elvis Week 2015 and I don’t know about you, but I am having the time of my life! Whether you made the trip to Graceland this year, or you are following along at home, this Elvis Week is one for the books. The thing that continues to amaze me is how Elvis is still such an influence in people’s lives and how he can still be found just about anywhere today. He is found in street art. There’s a mural in Downtown Memphis, at the intersection of Gayoso and South 4th Street, that is one of my favorites! It is found just a block off Beale Street and depicts a young Elvis Presley. It’s the perfect place for a picture! I just love how Elvis is still influence artists.   He is found as statues. Another favorite Memphis landmark of mine is the Elvis Statue on Beale Street but this is definitely not the only statue that depicts the likeness of Elvis Presley. There are Elvis statues all over the world! There’s one on Mud Island, another Memphis spot, and one of 13 year old Elvis in Tupelo, Mississippi. There’s one in Shreveport, Louisiana, the home of the famous Louisiana Hayride and another in Honolulu, Hawaii commemorating the world’s first satellite television concert from 1973.   He is found in record stores. We all know that CDs of Elvis’ classics songs are very available, but did you know new Elvis compositions are still being put together and released for fans? It’s true! This October, a new Elvis record will be released, “If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.” Yes, it will be Elvis singing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and it is going to be amazing! One of the most interesting things about this new record is that popular musicians from today had the opportunity to collaborate with Elvis. It’s incredible that he’s still influencing the music world!   He is found with the fans. Pretty much anywhere in the world you can find an Elvis fan sporting an article of clothing with Elvis’ likeness on it. They are wearing their heart on their sleeve… literally. Well, some fans take this a step further! In my time around Graceland, I’ve spotted a few Elvis tattoos. I’ve even known a few fans to name their...
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Touring Elvis Presley’s Graceland Archives

By Alyssa Long Did you know there are over 1.5 million artifacts at Elvis Presley’s Graceland? I had the opportunity to sit down with Angie Marchese, the Director of Archives, and she told me some very interesting stories about Elvis and Graceland that you might not have heard before.   The Samurai Sword   Every once in a while, the archivists who work solely at Graceland will go through each room and catalog every item that is in the room. This helps them maintain the house so that every single guest that steps through the front door is greeting with the same scene Elvis Presley was. Well, on one of these cataloging missions, while they were in the Living Room, Angie opened the top drawer of the cabinet that is located to the right of the fireplace and she saw something she definitely wasn’t expecting. Inside that drawer was a Samurai Sword! She cataloged it, put it back, and it’s still there today.   Christmas Decorations   During the Christmas season, Graceland undergoes a transformation. Angie and her team deck the halls of Graceland with all of Elvis’ Christmas decorations. It’s truly magical to experience the warmth of Graceland at Christmastime. Well, something that makes this even more impressive, is that the entire house is decorated in one night!   Detective Work   The documents and artifacts that are housed in the archives and throughout the exhibits at Graceland are so much more than just items on display. They are sometimes used to find the missing pieces of an Elvis puzzle. For instance, Angie can look at a photograph of Elvis and pretty much determine the exact time the picture was taken based on receipts, schedules, and other documents they have on file. They have everything from gas receipts, which can help determine Elvis’ location at any given time, to jewelry, records, clothing and contracts. This not only helps authenticate certain items, but it also provides a link between certain items and Elvis’ life.   Picture Negatives   Vernon Presley was a very organized man who documented everything. A few years ago, when Angie was going through Vernon’s office, they stumbled upon a small envelope with no writing on it. What she found were negatives of pictures that have never been seen before. They were pictures from 1957 of a 22 year old Elvis signing autographs through the gates of...
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Alyssa’s Favorite Things – Elvis Presley’s Graceland Edition

By Alyssa Long Whether you live right around the corner from Elvis Presley’s Graceland or you’re halfway across the world, you should absolutely bring some Elvis home with you! Luckily, the gift shops at Graceland are stocked with many unique, useful, and oh so cute things for every Elvis fan. Personally, in my home, I have one of the Elvis swinging hip pendulum clocks. It’s always a great conversation starter and a fun way to incorporate some Elvis into my decorating. Here are some other fun items that would be the perfect souvenir to bring home with you:   To Wear: One of the best ways to show the world how much you love Elvis is to wear your heart on your sleeve… literally! At Graceland you can find t-shirts, hats, socks, pants, pretty much any article of clothing, for any Elvis fan! There are even Elvis sunglasses and jewelry to accessorize with. Don’t worry men, there are even replica Elvis jumpsuits that you can bring home with you!   To Read: Over the years, many fans and friends of Elvis have compiled their thoughts, memories, and facts about Elvis in books. These many different books from many different authors, can be found all throughout Graceland. One of my favorite books found at Graceland is Ten Little Elvi. The perfect way to introduce little ones to the King of Rock n Roll. There’s even an Elvis cookbook to help you in the kitchen… which brings me to my next point.   To Eat: Wouldn’t it be great to have a cup of coffee with Elvis? Well, you can have the next best thing with an Elvis Presley coffee mug. There are even some that are personalized. It’s a well-known fact that Elvis loved peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Take that flavor home with you in the form of saltwater taffy! I mean, how yummy do these look?   For Your Home:
 As I mentioned above, I have an Elvis clock. Luckily, there are many different ways to incorporate the King in your home decorating. There is some beautiful artwork to be found at Graceland depicting the man we all know and love, Elvis.   What’s your favorite piece of Elvis swag that you’ve picked up at Graceland or through Shop Graceland? Or is there anything in particular you hope to find while you’re at Graceland for Elvis...
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Elvis Presley’s Tupelo

By Alyssa Long Tupelo, Mississippi, located about an hour outside of Memphis, is where Elvis Presley grew up. Elvis lived in this tiny town until he was 13 years old and his family packed up their car and moved to Memphis, Tennessee. I had the opportunity to visit and it was truly incredible to see the humble beginning Elvis had and how this sleepy town shaped the man he was to become. If you get the opportunity to visit Tupelo, I highly recommend visiting the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum. The house he was born in and lived in during part of his childhood is the main attraction. This tiny two-room home is in the exact location it was in when Elvis lived there. Even though the furniture and things inside are not original to the Presleys, you really get a feel of what it must have been like, although I can’t really imagine living in a two-room house. Notice that I said two rooms… not two bedrooms. It is just a room that was a bedroom/living room and a kitchen… that’s it. It’s pretty crazy to think that when the Presleys moved, they sold all their furniture. I keep thinking about how their furniture is sitting in someone’s home or an antique shop or (I hate to say) has been destroyed, and nobody even knows that it all belonged to Elvis! Beside the house, there is a statue depicting 13 year old Elvis holding his guitar. He was very friendly. The birthplace hosted Fan Appreciation Day on August 8, 2015, and unveiled two new Elvis statues – titled “Becoming” – behind the birthplace’s museum and office. One statues is of a young Elvis holding his guitar, dreaming of what music he’ll make one day, and behind it is a statue is of Elvis in a jumpsuit, arms stretched to the sky. Also found on the grounds is the church Elvis attended while growing up. It was originally located a few blocks away, but they moved it to this location and restored it in 2008. You have the opportunity to go into the church and watch a presentation where they simulate what a church service would have been like when Elvis attended. It’s actually a pretty cool thing to see. You sit down in the pews and screens come down from the two walls on your sides and a screen at the...
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