Today marks the 33rd anniversary of Elvis’s leaving the building, so to speak. Celebrations and Elvis-themed events took place all week, at Graceland and around Memphis. When I visited the Land of Elvis in May 2008, I was very impressed and the fond memories of my trip remain. While I really liked Graceland as a house, especially the outside architecture and how time stood still with all the 70’s stylish (read: tacky) decor, the thing that impressed me most was the Trophy Room at the back of the house. It was more than a room, as it had cases and cases of his outfits, many of his gold records on the wall, posters from his films, video monitors with concert footage, and much more Elvis memorabilia. Visitors walk around with small hand-held monitors and headphones to guide them through every step of Graceland. It’s a testament to the vast catalog of Elvis music, his extensive film work, and the unmeasurable influence he had on music and culture. Long live the King!
Below, is a short film about the Graceland Trophy Room, where Elvis’s jumpsuits and gold records are on display.
I saw gold records of some of Elvis greatest hits close up, and here are just a few of those songs.
Don’t Be Cruel
In the Ghetto
At the Rock & Soul Museum in Memphis, there was more Elvis memorabilia on display, including one of his guitars and, encased in plastic, the organ on which Suspicious Minds was composed. Below, pictures I took with my cell phone. Of course, visitors are instructed not to touch anything, but I could not refrain from leaning over and touching the organ for a quick second. Plus, my friend and I were the only people at the museum at the time, so I knew I probably wouldn’t get busted.
And here is Elvis performing Suspicious MInds.
Cyndi Lauper, with her 80s pop classics like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Time After Time, and She Bop, had us dancing and singing along; however, it isn’t until this last decade with 2003’s album of standards At Last, 2005’s The Body Acoustic, and 2008’s dance extravaganza Bring Ya to the Brink, that she’s had listeners realizing how great she really is. Her voice is a natural force and she can really hit those notes. Not everyone can sing “At Last” but Cyndi can, and her version is my favorite.
Now she’s signing the blues. With her recently released Memphis Blues, she pays homage to the Delta and is joined by great musicians, including the blues legend B.B. King.
As soon as you hear the opening bars of Charlie Musslewhite’s harmonica on the first track, “Just Your Fool,” you know you’re in for something pretty cool. The playful piano of Allen Toussaint is featured on three tunes; B.B. King lends his guitar and vocals on “Early in the Mornin’,” and Ann Peebles duets with Lauper on “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” one of the standout songs on the album. Her best partner though, is Jonny Lang, the 29-year-old who has always been talented beyond his years. Their vocals and Jonny’s guitar licks make “How Blue Can You Get?” and “Crossroads” sizzle. Her solos “Down So Low,” “Romance in the Dark,” and “Shattered Dreams” are scorchers!
Blues music, as does the city itself, brings out the best in Lauper. She dedicates this album to “the early blues artists who traveled through the cross roads, suitcase in hand, to Memphis.” On Memphis Blues, Lauper has reinvented herself and has confirmed her true artistry yet again. She’s singing those blues as though she’s lived them!
Elvis was a true American Idol and the King of Rock and Roll and… a fashionista? Yes. Elvis perfected, or at least took, the 1970’s jumpsuit phenomenon to new levels! The jumpsuits he wore for his performances were specially made for him, and often, the idea for their designs came from Elvis himself.
At Graceland, there is a hall with Elvis’s jumpsuits and some of his other outfits on display. The one he’s wearing in the photo shown above is on display as well. His gold lamé suit and the black leather outfit from his 1968 Comeback Special can also be viewed.
Below, are some photos I took at Graceland last year. Everything was behind glass cases, so unfortunately, there’s some glare in the photos.
Elvis Week happens twice a year. In Memphis, flocks of fans descend on Graceland to celebrate his birthday on January 8th and in August to commemorate his passing on August 16th.
Elvis Week is packed with events and tributes at Graceland and around Memphis. Here, on Adeli’s Music Blog, I do my best to entertain and inform my readers about the King of Rock n’ Roll, and to celebrate his music.
Last year, I gave you a small tour of Graceland and wrote about the different sides of Elvis (country, gospel, rock). This year, I’ll show you more of what you might see if you visit Graceland, including displays of his awards, his cars, and his famous jumpsuits, a review of the newly-released DVD of Elvis’s classic performances on the Ed Sullivan show, and of course, more music!
Let’s begin by watching a new (new to most) video (mixed with classic footage) of one of Elvis’s earliest hits from 1956.
Today marks the 74th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birth. Each year, at Graceland in Memphis, fans gather to celebrate with Elvis’ family – his daughter Lisa Marie and his ex-wife Priscilla.
Below, is an article on some of the Graceland events of the day.
Happy 74th Birthday, Elvis!
Some clips from today’s celebration at Graceland
And here, a few playful articles on Elvis and Graceland.
Today is B.B. King’s 83rd birthday! He was born Riley B. King on September 16, 1925 and was named the third-greatest guitarist of all-time by Rolling Stone magazine. He received the 1987 Lifetime Achievement Grammy and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Several of B.B.’s early recordings were produced by Sam Phillips, who later founded Sun Records in Memphis, TN. King was also a disc jockey in Memphis, where he got the nickname “Beale Street Blues Boy,” which was then shortened to “B. B.” Since the 1950s, B.B. has been one of the most important names in Blues and R&B music, with a long list of hits which include:
The Thrill is Gone (His biggest hit, 1969)
Click here to find out why B.B. named his guitar Lucille.
Live At The Apollo
Live At The Regal
Like many visitors are doing this week down in Memphis, I will take you on a tour of Elvis’ Graceland. Elvis purchased his home in March of 1957. Bellvue Boulevard was renamed Elvis Presley Boulevard on January 8, 1972 (Elvis’ 37th birthday). To quote Paul Simon’s song Graceland: “For reasons I cannot explain there’s some part of me wants to see Graceland.” For a while, I had wanted to travel to Memphis, but I never got around to it. However, three months ago, I was turning the big 4-0 and decided that was where I wanted to celebrate. And my trip to the Land of Elvis and the Home of the Blues has lingered in my head longer than any other.
Below are some pictures I took at the mansion and at the other Elvis exhibitions on the grounds of Graceland.
Those were just a few highlights. For more on Graceland and Elvis, along with a great video tour of Graceland go here: Elvis Presley’s Graceland