Almost four years ago, myself and a group of friends headed south to go to New Orleans, and on the way, we made the pilgrimage to one of music’s must-sees: Graceland.
Located in Memphis, Tennessee, Graceland was the home of music legend Elvis Presley, and is now a museum showcasing his career as a musician, actor and American entertainer.
When you arrive at Graceland, you check in at the ticket centre, which is located on one side of the street – the other side of the street is Graceland, with the address of 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard. A shuttle transports you across this busy street in a mere minute or two.
On first glance, Graceland seems very small. We’re now so used to the massive houses of the rich and famous that we forget that one time, this was the most luxurious abode. With its almost 14 acres of fields, this mansion once was surrounded by very little when it began as the official residence of Elvis Presley in 1957. The home is eight bedrooms and had almost 8000 square feet added by Presley.
Graceland opened to the public in 1982, five years after Presley’s death in 1977. His ex-wife Priscilla and his daughter Lisa Marie, were instrumental in converting the house from a private residence to a museum celebrating the life of Elvis, with several outbuildings converted completely to gallery space for Elvis’ memorabilia.
Both Priscilla and Lisa Marie lived at Graceland, and several rooms are still kept private from public view.
From clothing to photos, movie posters to gold records and all kinds of personal items, Graceland is a slice of Elvis’ life – and shows the effects of his celebrity, his successes as a musician and actor as well as the trappings of fame that led him to create his own world revolving around Graceland. Some of it is tacky and some of it is cool – but all is worthy of a visit.
So why go see the home of a dead musician? For some its a way to express their lifelong appreciation for Elvis Presley – for me and others, its a unique perspective on the world of celebrity as much as a quick lesson on the far-reaching influence of an American performer, one who only once left the United States, and never performed outside the US.
For more information: Graceland