Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Elvis Presley's Graceland

photo from Wikipedia

I was born here in Memphis and have spent most of my life here, but I had never been to Graceland. To be honest, I still thought of it as Elvis' house and didn't have any desire to tour it. His daughter Lisa Marie still owns it after all, and it seemed a bit intrusive to me to wander through. The Daughter is enthusiastic about doing all the tourist attractions here, though, and I'm glad I went with her when she went while it was decorated for the Christmas holidays. Elvis sang Christmas songs over the sound system as we waited our turn to get on the shuttle bus to cross the street from the parking/ticketing/exhibit complex to the mansion property, and there were lit decorations scattered around. No flash photography is allowed, and The Daughter agreed to let me use her photos. I don't trust my camera not to flash even after I've told it not to.

Here's the drive leading up to the house:


Christmas decorations on the lawn:



The Living Room and Dining Room:


Elvis' mother's bedroom and the foyer staircase leading up to the 2nd floor:


The Jungle Room and the Pool Room:


The TV Room:


A display room for some of his awards:


Lisa Marie's swing set:


The Racketball building:


from the Automobile Museum:




A video tour of the car museum:



The Lisa Marie:



A video tour of the planes, which are being sold:



Here's my late lunch at the on-site Rockabilly's Burger Shop:



(I'm sharing that Coke with the folks at the Tuesday link gathering at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog.)

The Meditation Garden:


Elvis' grave:


This is a video tour in 2 parts led by a Graceland archivist, who describes how Elvis came to buy and decorate the home:

part 1:



part 2:



Here's a video via youtube of the Christmas lights and decorations inside and out:



I would recommend this tour to anyone visiting Memphis. I'd say it's a must-see if you have any interest at all in music history or pop culture. We only allowed half a day. I'd suggest getting there when they open at 9 and planning to make a whole day of it.

Graceland is a shrine to Elvis' music. There was little in-depth exploration of his life in the $42 Platinum+ tour we took and barely a mention of his death and the cult that has grown up around him. Elvis lived in Memphis, but there's not much about Memphis in the exhibits. Were I to add anything, I'd add

  • a room on his death: his health issues, photos of the vigil crowds at the time, copies of newspapers with relevant headlines, information on the extent of the gathering (for example, the day after he died there wasn't an available hotel room within a 6-hour drive of Memphis), coverage of the phenomenon of the annual Death Week gatherings, photos of the original gravesite before his body was moved to Graceland....
  • a display on Memphis during the period Elvis lived here: photos of Elvis at businesses he frequented; photos of places he rented for private use, such as movie theaters and the fairgrounds; demographic information; photos of other places where he lived here in town;
  • some information on planned changes both on the grounds and in the neighborhood.
  • As time passes, I'd expect to see more information on Elvis' personal life, such as his relationship with Priscilla and their meeting, marriage and divorce. While affected family members are still alive I don't imagine that's appropriate, but eventually I'd think such information would be included.
It's a great attraction as it is, of course. The Daughter and I will have to go back sometime to take in the things we missed this time. Maybe next time we'll go during Death Week.

12 comments:

  1. I am a huge Elvis Fan so I enjoyed seeing Graceland "again", having visited many years ago. Thanks to your daughter for the great photos. Happy T Day!

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  2. Funny how we don't visit things in our own backyard that tourists come from miles a way to see. Glad you finally made the trip. I enjoyed the photo's and think it would be fun to have lunch in the Rockabilly's Burger Shop.

    Darla

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  3. I am not an Elvis fan-not one bit although my hubby is so I wish for his sake that we do one day get to see this. My favorite rooms are the elegant dining and living rooms. Love that tree! Glad you were able to enjoy and thanks for sharing-I must show this to hubby:) Happy T day!

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  4. Great Fotos !
    Thank you for taking me to Graceland..
    Elvis FOREVER!

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  5. I really cannot remember a day that I was NOT an Elvis fan, at age 4 I was driving my Mom crazy singing "You Aint Nothing but a Hound Dog"
    I enjoyed the photos and the videos very much, thanks for sharing. It is hard to believe, that had he lived, he would have been 80 years old the 8th of this month.

    I agree with you, that there are things that should be added to the tour, even though I have never visited Graceland, but hope to someday.

    Your lunch love heavenly.

    Happy T-day and thanks for the comment you left on my blog.

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  6. I know I might get kicked out of the T club for saying this, but I was NEVER an Elvis fan. Sorry, but I never cared for his music, which I heard on Oldies radio programs. I know he has a huge following, though.

    I DID enjoy your daughter's photos, though, and appreciated the fact they looked even better than the video of the decorations inside and out.

    Although I am not an Elvis fan, I would gladly go see Graceland if it was on the Memphis itinerary. I do appreciate how you find all these wonderful places to visit in Memphis, because it makes your city seem so much more alive.

    Thanks for sharing Rockabilly's Burger Shop, the lovely photos your daughter took, and your drink with us for T this week.

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  7. I cannot say i'm a huge Elvin fan but i do like some of his music.. I have stood out there on the sidewalk by the gate but i have never taken the tour... not something i would pay for.... Thank you so much for sharing all the photos. It was nice to be able to see the inside and i didn't have to pay for a tour! :) Happy Tday! Hugs! deb

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  8. Wow! Quite a place! Never been, of course, but seems they would have some of the things you mentioned. Amazing his home is still such an attraction. I expected them to have a similar tour for Michael Jackson. I think they sold Neverland, though, if I recall and the family would never allow anyone else to make the money off Michael. Very interesting, though. My time period was The Beatles--LOL! ;) Happy T-Day! :)

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  9. My mother had a few Elvis albums that I used to listen to a lot as a kid, so his music is very familiar to me, even though I am not exactly a hardcore fan. I will certainly not miss a tour of his house if I ever visit Memphis - it´s what your city is known for all the way over here, after all! It looks like a very fine house, though not as palatial as I imagined. I enjoyed your daughter´s photos very much, thanks to both of you for letting us ride on your shoulders, as it were. :-D

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    Replies
    1. It's hard to get an idea of the house as a whole, since the upstairs and some other areas are off-limits to tourists. He added on a lot. I don't even know how many bedrooms it has in all. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour ;)

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  10. My mom was an Elvis fan...but mostly just his gospel music. In fact she asked me just the other day if I could get her some CD's of his gospel songs to listen to. :) She's 85. I'd like to see that place...not because Elvis lived there but because it is like a time capsule.
    Happy T day!

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  11. ah hu never been to graceland so loved the photos thanks for sharing

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