Monday, April 10, 2006

Graceland ~ A National Landmark!

So everyone knows how I feel about Elvis. I'm planning a trip to Graceland for later this year, and I was so proud to hear the buzz surrounding the recent National Landmark news!

MEMPHIS, TN, USA -- Elvis Presley's home in Memphis is the most visited private residence in the world. And on Monday it became a National Historic Landmark.

"American culture and music changed irreversibly because of Elvis," said interior secretary Gale Norton. "It would be difficult to tell the story of the twentieth century without discussing the many contributions made by this legendary, iconic artist."

The designation puts the Tennessee mansion on the same list as other notable US landmarks like the Alamo, the White House and Mount Rushmore. Fewer than 2,500 historic places have been awarded the designation.

Elvis bought the sprawling property for $103,000 in 1957 with earnings from his first hit record, "Heartbreak Hotel". His ex-wife Priscilla Presley first opened Graceland's doors to visitors in 1980. It now draws nearly 700,000 visitors a year.

"Graceland is my childhood home and it holds so many great memories of the time I shared there with my father, our family and our friends," said Lisa Marie Presley, who is the sole owner of Graceland Mansion. "It is my honor to have shared it with my father's adoring public all these years and I am committed to ensuring that it will be preserved forever for all future generations of fans and of my family to enjoy."

Presley died on August 16, 1977. His popularity continues to surge, annually placing the rock and roll icon atop Forbes' list of top dead celebrity earners. It is estimated that he has sold more than 1 billion records worldwide.

I'm just in awe of the fact that 700,000 people visit Elvis' beloved home each year. That's a lot of people. Ditto for him being the highest-earning dead celebrity when he's been gone for over 28 years. I believe Forbes estimates that he still pulls in around $50 million/year. Wow. A truly fantastic testament to the magic that was Elvis Presley.

I simply can't get enough of watching him perform. Let's face it - he was one of the most captivating performers ever. Michael Jackson is the only other artist that can even begin to compare.

Whether you're a fan or not, if you simply love dynamite entertainment, check out Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii (1973) & Elvis: That's the Way It Is (1970). Both absolutely superb! You can hardly take your eyes off him! Even my younger brother (who, at 23 finds it extremely un-cool to be into Elvis Presley) gets hooked on the concerts! Because of that, he tries to avoid seeing them at all, LOL. Can't let his friends catch him sitting around watching Elvis! God forbid. :)

So....who's ever been to Graceland? How was it? Stay at the Heartbreak Hotel?

I can hardly wait to make my "pilgrimage"!


  1. Sorry.. I have not been there. (don't step on my blue suede shoes). Have fun and tell us about it. ;-)

  2. I'm a fan! DH and I visited Graceland back in the 80's, before the aunt that was living there died, so we didn't get to see the kitchen and a think a few other areas have since been opened. It was great, very much an American pop culture experience. Heartbreak Hotel wasn't there yet at that time either. I'd love to go for another visit one of these days.

    I remember when the Hawaii special aired. We didn't see it live here in the US, which no one ever really understood. It aired here months after the rest of the world saw it live. Great concert! I'll have to check out the other special you mentioned.

    I remember a friend and I wanted to go see one of his concerts in '75, but it never happened. It's a shame what happened to him.

  3. Hi Cynthia - Oh yes, I'll be sure to post all about it!

    Hi Gina - Thanks for sharing! I think you should get the Hawaii satellite show on DVD. It has both the rehearsal concert and the live concert without the commercials & editing, just pure Elvis for the entire hour!

    And if you get to Graceland before I do, tell me all about it!!

  4. I have never really been that big on Elvis, but do like some of his songs. I'm actually a bigger fan of his movies. Some more corny, but I liked most of them. That's when Elvis was Elvis. He was almost unrecognizable in the 70's...and I remember all the rumors that floated around but no one fessed up to his drug abuse. It's only in recent years that I've been hearing those in his camp have level with the public about it. Those were different times I suppose.

  5. We visited Graceland on holiday...oh I think it was probably over ten years ago now, but we wanted to come see America, but more than that, we wanted to see where Elvis Presley lived! lol It was a marvelous experience. Everything was untouched, left as it had been when he passed away. My parents got very emotional, they've loved him from the beginning, before the Beattles, and the four of them loved Elvis Presley to death!

    Brits probably love Elvis more than Americans, a rather interesting twist, but we love him. I can't wait for your recount once you've visited. Upon my next trip to the US, I'll definitely return to Tennessee to visit Graceland.

  6. I love the King!! I was thrilled at the news of Graceland being named a National Landmark and saw the reports about it on Entertainment Tonight with Priscilla Presley at the ceremony. I was hoping to see Lisa Marie there, but I guess she's still on her honeymoon.

    Oh, by the way, I love his movies, too. He was soooo drop-dead handsome!


  7. Hi JJ - Yes, I think you're right. You just didn't admit to having a drug problem in 1977 and expect to get an outpouring of sympathy from your ever-faithful public. You'd be finished...or so they thought back then. I don't know. I like to think Elvis could've disappeared from the public eye for a bit to get himself together. Officially, he took an extended trip to Bejing or something - but in reality, he's off at a clinic somewhere kicking his habit.

    Ah well. Just my wishful thinking. Unfortunately, it seems Elvis never wanted to kick the habit. :-(

    Hi Tia - thanks for sharing about visiting Graceland! I'm not so sure you Brits love him more than I do! LOL

    Hi Pamela - Yes, he was definitely movie star gorgeous in the 60's and into the early 70's. You know, it was actually around 1972-73 you begin to see the change happening, and it just flew downhill from there. By '77, he was almost unrecognizable. :-(

    I, too, wondered about Lisa Marie not being at the ceremony. My hunch has always been that she never really took over the running of the estate from her mother. It's all in name only. Priscilla's still the one in charge for all intent purposes. Lisa doesn't seem to be all that interested - doesn't seem to have much passion for nurturing and preserving her dad's legacy in that respect, IMO.


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