Sunday, January 08, 2012

Walking Through Graceland

January 8, 1953: Elvis Aaron Presley is born

6615

“Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.”

This summer we went to Graceland. The part of Memphis you drive through to get there is rather unimpressive at best. It’s busy dirty rundown city. And then you come to Graceland in the midst of that, with its stone gate, guitar fence, and large stone house with white columns. You park across the street in a very touristy place shops with restaurants and a shuttle that runs you across the road after you’ve purchased your tickets and stood in line. Of course you have to get your photo taken in front of a painting of Graceland for the opportunity to buy it at an exorbitant rate on your way out. And of course we did buy it, although it wasn’t our best by any means since we were travel weary and in our comfy travel clothes and all. Hm.

I think I’ll let a few photos talk, along with a few Elvis quotes…


Graceland

“I never expected to be anybody important.”

"I’m trying to keep a level head. You have to be careful out in the world. It’s easy to get turned.”

Living Room

“I’d like to just be treated like a regular customer.”

”I’m not trying to be sexy. It’s just my way of expressing myself when I move around.”

Jungle Room

“I sure lost my musical direction in Hollywood. My songs were the same conveyer belt mass production, just like most of my movies were.”

"I like to sing ballads the way Eddie Fisher does and the way Perry Como does. But the way I'm singing now is what makes the money.”

Army uniform

"After a hard day of basic training, you could eat a rattlesnake."

"The army teaches boys to think like men."

Music room

“Man, that record came out and was real big in Memphis. They started playing it, and it got real big. Don't know why - the lyrics had no meaning.”

”Those people in New York are not going to change me none.”

Elvis Lives

"The Lord can give and the Lord can take away. I might be herding sheep next year." 

"Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away."

What more is there to say? It’s not his talent that made him great. His talent only caught attention. What made him great was his strength of character, his humility, his duty to others, and his love for people.

A few little facts that aren’t little things:

Elvis got a C in eighth grade music only because his teacher didn’t like his style.

He paid to record his first few songs, with his own funds.
See an invoice here.

He gave a lot of money to charities, particularly to children’s charities. He didn’t make a big show of it. He just did it.

Happy Birthday, Elvis! May your true spirit continue to live.


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4 comments:

StephB said...

Wow Loraine, what great pictures. Graceland is such a cool part of Americana. I hope to get there one day with the boys.

So if he paid for his first few songs does that make him self-pubbed and indie? hehe

Smiles
Steph

Celia Yeary said...

My husband and Elvis joined the Army just about the same time. But he did not follow Elvis's path!
I loved the porch--see the Teddy Bear in the chair? But the house generally is gaudy,as my mother would say. Funny, I was never a fan of Elvis until I found his Old Gospel songs. But he did have a couple of songs that could make you cry or swoon--"Fools Rush In."
I enjoyed this peek into his home.

LK Hunsaker said...

Steph, exactly! He did start self-pubbing in order to get his music out there, although small scale since he didn't print copies to sell. ;-) I could imagine he might have if he'd had today's technology!

LK Hunsaker said...

Celia, interesting time line info!

The house is unusual. It's elegant and formal when you step in, and then it goes to a very plain small kitchen (typical 70s style), and then into strange rooms such as the jungle room and the bright yellow room with several televisions, and then to the laid-back music room with leather couches and a simple piano. Very eclectic. The green shag carpet on the walls in the hallway was indeed gaudy and a little creepy.