Elvis Presley’s Graceland:
What It’s Really Like
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it’s something that will stay with me for the rest of my days.
I had the opportunity to visit Graceland, the home that Elvis purchased in Memphis, Tennessee when he was only 22 years old. It has been kept the same as he left it. To step foot into the house of the King of Rock and Roll and the most famous Tennessean in history — to see it the way it was when he live in it — was a true joy.
Sure, Elvis was born in Mississippi, but he is ours (Tennessee).
As I went in — and, mind you, it was 30 degrees outside, so we were all shivering a little — there were thousands of people in shuttle buses, people from all over the world. I heard many foreign languages. I counted nine different license plates in the parking area from Arizona to Wisconsin. Even a nun was in attendance to marvel at the home where Elvis Presley once resided.
And, technically, Elvis still does reside there. He is buried out back. Though, as you go on the tour, you are not allowed to go upstairs, which makes me wonder: is Elvis still alive?
John Stamos served (virtually) as our tour guide on iPads that were handed to every person. As we went along, Stamos narrated factoids, and fascinating pictures and information appeared on our iPads with shots of all the rooms. Stamos said that we were not allowed upstairs because Elvis was very private. All the private stuff is upstairs, and out of respect they don’t let tourists up there; but there are still plenty of fascinating items on the first floor where we were.
On that floor you get to see all of his areas of entertainment, you see the places where he liked to relax, you learn facts about his life, and you see trophies, accolades, outfits, and costumes from a musical icon who still has a major impact all over the world 80 years after his birth.
I kept my composure until I got to the trophy room. But then, as I posed with his two Grammy’s that he won for his contributions to Gospel music — and Gospel was his passion first and foremost; he sang hymns as a warm up before every performance — I got misty eyed.
And when I got to his grave the emotions overwhelmed me. To think his life was cut short, in part, because of his overwhelming success and popularity — a level of success and pressure that I don’t think many human beings could truly handle.
Elvis was kind and generous, and I honestly believe he knew Jesus and is in Heaven. As Kevin Ott, my fellow writer at Rocking God’s House, wrote in an article about Elvis (called “The Night Elvis Presley Met C.S. Lewis”):
Elvis had a southern charm as mellow as honeydew. He loved hot rods and loads of fast fun with his money, but he also gave loads of it away to friends and strangers in need — even buying cars for complete strangers. And he knew Christ. For example, when, at a concert, a girl gave Elvis a golden crown and called him the King, he replied politely, “No honey. Christ is the King. I’m just a singer.”[iii]
The tour is awesome, and I urge any music lover to tour Graceland at least once in their life. Visit http://www.graceland.com/ for more information.
[iii] Curtis W. Ellison, Country Music Culture: From Hard Times to Heaven (University Press of Mississippi; Revised edition, March 1, 1995), 157.