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Memphis, Tennessee: The Greatest Place to Stand Near Elvis

Updated on September 11, 2011

Graceland, Tennessee

This place should have its own zip code, because it is so well known, so large at nearly 14 acres, and brings in such a huge amount of yearly revenues. Elvis Presley, 34 years after his death is still one of the top money earning celebrities in America.

An all-Elvis Sirius Satellite Radio staion broadcasts across the street from Graceland on the Plaza, playing everything from E standards, outtakes, and studio recording sessions for those that cannot get enough of Elvis after his 42 years on earth. He lived too short a time to fulfill his potential and was hog-tied into years of the kind of performances that he may not have wanted to do, wishing for something of more substance; but people loved him then and love him now. He is some sort of hero and the reason that many people enter the music business. The Elvis satellite radio station is worth the price of the entire Sirius subscription, offering recordings of material not found elsewhere and more of Elvis's personality than many of us have known before.

The Graceland Mansion, built in 1939, modified in 1957. Names a US Historic Place in 1991, and a US Historic Landmark in 2006.
The Graceland Mansion, built in 1939, modified in 1957. Names a US Historic Place in 1991, and a US Historic Landmark in 2006. | Source

Elvis Phenomenon

Opened to to the public as a tourist attraction in 1982, Graceland was visited every decade by one of my best friends. His most recent trip was in 2002. He had planned a longer excusion with his adult son in 2009, but missed that vacation, because of family illness. He was one of the most believable Elvis tribute artists I have ever heard, although he performed only at charity benefits like children's' hospital wards at Christmastime. He encouraged people to attend Doug Church performances instead, even purchasing Doug's CDs and giving them as gifts in order to inform more people about Doug, who is in the highest class of Elvis tribute artists we have today. Still, you can purchase any recording Elvis ever did at the Graceland gift shop and online store.

By the way, Graceland was chosen by readers of as the 25th Greatest Place to Stand in the USA, out of the Top 100 places for 2009. It's the first rock 'n' roll facility to be named a National Historic Place as well.

3734 Elvis Presley Boulevard

A marker3734 Elvis Presley Boulevard -
3734 Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116, USA
get directions

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge | Source
Grave sites of Elvis, Vernon, and Gladys Presley, Elvis's grandmother, and a memorial marker for twin Jesse Garon Presley.
Grave sites of Elvis, Vernon, and Gladys Presley, Elvis's grandmother, and a memorial marker for twin Jesse Garon Presley. | Source

Elvis Music

I didn't "get" Elvis Presley in my teenage and college world of rock bands, classical music, and John Philip Sousa marches for football season.

I was driving to work on the morning of August 16, 1977 as I heard in a radio broadcast that Elvis had died. It was a sad event, but the huge candlelight vigils and crowds of fans at Graceland for the viewing were awesome and surprising as I watrched television reports. More people stand by his grave every year now than by John F. Kennedy's and its eternal flame. I began to understand the reasons for this as time passed.

As the years proceeded, I met my friend who visited Graceland once a decade. He was an accomplished musician himself, but played CDs of Doug Church and other Elvis tribute artists he had known in the USAF. I have a few Elvis CDs now, largely gospel songs, but my favorite is one CD of Elvis's and other popular songs that my friend recorded in his Elvis voice.

A few coffee mugs and other Elvis memorabilia decorate my book shelves, having come from the gift shop at Graceland. For a while, my mailing address was on Graceland Blvd. in my city and this spooked my friend as some sort of sign he could not decipher. Regardless, I always enjoyed his stories of the tribute artists he knew and the shows they did separately and together.

The Meaning of Graceland

Many stories and articles have been written about Elvis, Priscilla, daughter Lisa Marie, and all the rest of the Presleys, in and out of Graceland. At this time in 2011, Lisa Marie's own daughter has been a high fashion model for several years, beginning at age 14. The whole family is famous and likely will always be famous.

What Elvis began touched America and the world with some sort of understanding and hope for the working man's and working woman's life and making a success of oneself in a free land. - Can we still do that in the turbulant 2010s? The 15% of Graceland retained by Lisa Marie will likely provide a solid income for generations to come, as the dream of Elvis survives. It is a powerful dream, indeed, if Graceland is a registed landmark of the nation. He and his legacy make a National Treasure.

The former home of Elvis Presley will also provide an oasis and a mecca for fans to cherish as they visit in person and online. The living room is beautiful, the Jungle Room with waterfall is oddly surreal in its 1970s d├ęcor, and the Meditation Garden is a favorite of many, many visitors. Travelers write in their reviews that when they stay up the road at the Graceland branch of a chain motel, they walk down to the meditation garden each morning or evening. That's what I would do. Many people stand by his grave for a long time. Many of them miss him personally, even though they have never met him.

Visiting Graceland

My friend's beloved dad Frank died in 1977, the same year as Elvis, and both deaths hurt; but his son was born that year to bring joy. My friend's sick relative in 2009 died soon after the missed vacation to Graceland that year. I'd forgotten about the August 16th anniversary of Elvis's death in 2011, but remembered it on the 17th as I watched Follow That Dream - a cute, foolish, but likeable Presley film from 1962. August 18th is the birthday of the deceased relative from 2009.

My friend will miss his 2012 vacation to Graceland, because he died suddenly between the anniversary of Elvis's death and the departed relative's birthday in 2011. His friends and family thought that he might die on the anniversary of Elvis's death sometime far into the future, but we were wrong.

In 2012, I think that I must visit Graceland in honor of both Elvis Presley and my friend, also a working class guy that had found the road to success after extraordinary effort and a range of obstacles. He and Elvis both died too soon and I miss them both.

I "get" Elvis now and understand my friend better. I wish there'd been more time.

While I don't believe the dead communicate with us, I do believe that angels bring us messages from beyond. Helping his wife clean out the house, I suddenly saw a misplaced recording of my friend in Elvis's voice. She made a copy for me and we went to lunch at a new place -- We walked in the door, right into a large statue of Elvis playing guitar and she shouted AHH! It was a great diner and her husband had been a wonderful cook. We sat in a booth and she found several businesses advertised on the placemats, all containing his first name, by coincidence. She believes it's a sign. I think we'll be visiting Graceland.


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I have a VHS tape of the 68 special, but I also want to visit Graceland. My friend had been there once, but died before he could go back. He was an Elvis Tribute Artist part-time and performed in hospitals for the patients. I do have a CD of his recording in his "Elvis voice" as he called it. I must go to Graceland.

      And I found out that Elvis is my 30th or 31th cousin.

    • annaglomesh profile image

      annaglomesh 5 years ago from Australia

      I didn't fully appreciate Elvis till later either...was a teenager when he died. However since then I understand what a significant contribution he made to rock n roll. I particularly love the 68 comeback special.I would love to visit Graceland.

    • geegee77 profile image

      geegee77 6 years ago from The Lone Star State!!

      I enjoyed this hub very much, I've always been an Elvis fan and I have a brother that used to sing his songs as we were growing up. I also have a friend that lives near memphis and is wanting me to visit so we can tour Graceland one day. I hope I get to do that, it would be awsome! Great hub:) ge

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      As a teenager I saw Elvis's appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. He was the talk of the school, and it wasn't long before just about everyone was raving about him. Even now, I love his songs because they remind me of a wonderful time in my life. It was so much fun visiting Graceland a few years ago, not only to see where and how he lived, but to gain insight into his life. Enjoyed your hub a lot!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      My dad loves Elvis...hmmmm I think he should visit Graceland one of these days :D

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      A wonderful hub with your own experience about it all. Than you for sharing.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for the kind words and ratings!

      I've been listening to my friend Bob's recording in his Elvis Voice, as he called it. I had not heard it since the first time he shared it with me, only in January 2011, not long ago. We're making copies for his son and grandchildren. I hope he is singing in the next life, since he was discouraged by some folks in this one.

      Thanks, everyone!

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 6 years ago from Winnipeg

      I remember when Elvis was alive, listening to his usic on Am radio and watching his movies. It was hard to imagine that he died so young. It must be amazing to visit his mansion and grave site, really interesting hub. Voted Up and Awesome!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Hey James - Maybe I'll see you there. Thanks for the kind words.

      We found another recording of my friend in Elvis's voice today. That's a real gift!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

      I enjoyed your wonderfully made article. I am sorry you lost your friend. I lost a friend last year who was a terrific Elvis impersonator.

      I have never been to Graceland but I intend to get there one day. Thank you for the good read. :)

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Nicely done! I always think of the Paul Simon song when I think of Graceland.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great and interesting hub on Elvis, i have enjoyed a lot of his songs even though i was never an Elvis fan .

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      I have to say Elvis had a really incredible voice. I was never a rabid fan but it is just amazing how devoted his fans are to this day. Very interesting piece. Up and awesome.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks very much! I'm going to go listen to my Elvis CD now...

    • profile image

      Earth Angel 6 years ago

      Ahhhhhh, "a hunka, hunka burning love" to you Patty!

      I've been to Graceland many times and love it more each trip! They have really out-done themselves in terms of organization and promotion! It really is a "must see" in Memphis, even for those not huge fans of Elvis himself!

      What a lovely trip down memory lane! Thank you so much!

      Blessings Always, Earth Angel!

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      Even myself in my little island in the sea know of Graceland. There have been many a song and a few movies about Elvis, his family and that very famous place. I would love to visit the place.

    • ravidr1 profile image

      ravidr1 6 years ago from New Delhi

      Nice Posting

    • tarrka1089 profile image

      tarrka1089 6 years ago from Ohio

      Patty -

      I remember touring Graceland. The carpeting on the walls of the studio is what fascinated just didn't occur to me that this was another way to soundproof. I also remember the horses - they were so serene and relaxed. I thought that after all these years, they were probably amused, if anything, by all the people. Standing at his gravesite was humbling.

      Interesting that you should publish this tonight, as I was working on Nashville/Gatlinburg stills and video. Just couldn't fit Memphis in. But if we had, I would have visited Graceland again. It truly is a U.S. historic landmark.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      I have always loved Elvis Presley's ballads. I have never been to Graceland.

    • cgreen7090 profile image

      cgreen7090 6 years ago from Tennessee

      Great hub!