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.
Earlier this week, I requested that my readers send me their thoughts on Elvis: favorite songs, movies, memories, and/or overall impressions. And here they are:
I remember singing “Hound Dog” from the hearth of my fireplace (that was my stage) and listening to my dad’s records. My all-time favorite Elvis song is “It’s Now or Never.” My family was very connected to Elvis because my father loved him. For a few reasons: Elvis was very spiritual, had a good heart and was generous, and was Southern. My dad also grew up listening to the gospel singers that Elvis always had singing backup: Jake Hess (The Imperials), The Jordanaires, The Jubilee Four, and probably the biggest name in southern gospel music: JD Sumner and the Stamps. I remember listening to JD Sumner and the Stamps way before Elvis. I think a lot of people probably don’t even know Elvis had so many gospel singers singing with him. Lastly, I have probably listened to Elvis’s gospel music more than his mainstream music. By the way, the only 3 Grammy Awards he won were for his gospel music.
-Jeremy L. Beck (singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer)
I am not a huge Elvis fan, but I have to acknowledge him as a great performer in American popular music. Besides the fact that he was very attractive, charismatic onstage, and had an amazing voice, I think he was a very interesting person, too, and people responded to that. Not everyone knows that he had a very diverse ethnic background, including some Native American heritage, and I think that helps to make him an American icon. My favorite periods for Elvis are the very beginning of his career (before he went into the army, and then did all those movies) and later during his resurgence in the late sixties. I like some of his lesser known songs, such as his cover of the old Hank Snow country song, ” A Fool Such as I” and “Love Me.” From the later period I like “A Little Less Conversation” ” In the Ghetto,” and “Suspicious Minds.”
-Sue Bachner (singer/songwriter of Ether Park)
Elvis’ profound mark on popular music was, by most accounts, a happy accident. He was not a songwriter, and did not aspire to be an innovator. He was a kid who wanted a record deal. The result of Sun Records’ discovery was nothing less than the gift of “black music” – and essentially rock’n’roll – to the rest of the country. Elvis was the messenger – an interpreter of music considered taboo by white America. Once the secret of this sonic groove and soul was out, it could not be stopped, and it changed the world.
-Doug Hinrichs (percussionist)
I cannot remember when my fascination with Elvis began, but I have always loved him. His voice is like velvet and of course, he was easy on the eyes! Even today, I still wrap my Christmas gifts while listening to Elvis’ Christmas album….I can’t do it any other way! Below, are my top ten Elvis songs and movies.
Top 10 Elvis Songs: (in no specific order, although #1 is my favorite)
1. Kentucky Rain
2. Always on my Mind
3. Suspicious Minds
4. In the Ghetto
5. Can’t Help Falling in Love
6. It’s Now or Never
7. If Everyday was like Christmas
8. If I Can Dream
9. A Little Less Conversation
10. That’s All Right
These last 2 were hard for me to let go of…
The Wonder of You
Top 10 Movies:
1. Jailhouse Rock
2. Paradise Hawaiian Style
3. G.I. Blues
4. Blue Hawaii
5. Viva Las Vegas
6. Fun in Acapulco
7. Frankie and Johnny
8. It Happened at the World’s Fair
9. King Creole
In remembrance of the 31st anniversary of Elvis Presley’s passing on August 16, 1977, it will be Elvis Week on Adeli’s Music Blog.
On August 13, 1960, Elvis’ It’s Now or Never was the Number 1 song in the U.S. and in other countries. It entered the UK charts at Number 1 and spent nine weeks at the top. This song sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, and it was Elvis’ biggest international hit. It’s Now or Never is my favorite Elvis song.
Some of my other favorite Elvis songs include:
This is a great time for my reading audience to contribute, so share your thoughts on Elvis with me. Tell me about your favorite Elvis songs, movies, live performances and so on. Email me at TheMusicReviewer@gmail.com. Please include your name, age, and occupation along with your comments. I will post all the comments this weekend. Or feel free to leave me a comment here.