Graceland: Elvis Lives On in Memphis, Tennessee
No one can argue about Elvis Presley’s status as a musical icon. Whether you remember his music and films, or have simply heard stories from those influenced by him, you know who he is. And when you think of Elvis, your mind will wander to Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, the King’s home for 20 years.
A Grand Welcome at Graceland
What better place to stay during my visit to Graceland than at Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel? After a 10-minute drive from Memphis International Airport, I stepped out of my taxi to the sounds of “Blue Suede Shoes” drifting from the overhead speakers.
The next morning, as the tour bus took me up the sweeping driveway to what is probably the most famous residence in history, I was excited to learn more about Elvis’ life. Graceland meant the world to Elvis, and he loved to share his home with his family and friends.
As I crossed into the marble foyer, I imagined being greeted by the King himself and escorted into the living room, complete with a custom 15-foot sofa, white carpets and a black baby grand piano. I was then led into the kitchen, complete with the very first microwave oven ever sold in Memphis.
Downstairs in the television room, Elvis had three TV sets so he could watch all three networks at once (there were only three stations back then). The ceilings were mirrored, as was the wet bar. Across the hallway, the pool room has multi-coloured, hand-pleated, fabric-lined walls to set the mood for a friendly game of billiards.
One of Elvis’ favourite rooms was the Jungle Room, where he relaxed with friends and family and recorded songs for two of his albums. From the dark wood panelled walls to the green shag carpet and fountain, it was easy to imagine this being a very relaxing spot.
Adjacent Buildings to Explore
Next to the mansion, the Trophy Building displays hundreds of awards, including Elvis’ Grammys and his Gold and Platinum records. Elvis had a lot of firsts in 1956: his first national television appearance, his first studio album and his first movie. He was only 21 when he accomplished all of this.
In the Racquetball Building, I saw some of the legendary stage costumes Elvis wore during concerts. In the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum, more than 20 of Elvis’ beloved cars, motorcycles and “anything with an engine that moved fast” are on display, showing a playful side to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
My final stop on the tour of Graceland was the Meditation Garden, where Elvis is laid to rest along with members of his family. Next to the stained glass windows and the fountain, people paid their respects in silence.
Visiting Elvis Presley’s Graceland was an unforgettable journey through the life and career of the greatest entertainer in history. In the words of the King, “thank you very much” for joining me. Now go eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich, and plan your trip to Graceland soon!