Category Archives: NEWS

The Elvis Concert I Would Most Have Liked to See

Elvis and Band Performing at New Frontier Hotel

In March 2015 and again this year, Graceland Blog has presented variations on college basketball’s March Madness betting brackets. They modified them so fans could vote their preference on different elements of Elvis’ career. Remember these?

Elvis Movie Madness:             Winner — Elvis: That’s the Way It Is

Elvis Bracket Challenge:         Winner – “Don’t Be Cruel”

Now Graceland has come up with an interactive concept allowing fans to vote their favorite of two choices in twelve different categories.

Would You Rather - Elvis Edition
You can see three of the twelve choices in the announcement box above. Fans preferred chatting with Gladys over Vernon buy a huge margin, and horses won by a hair over motorcycles. Other interesting choices were: Would you rather receive one of Elvis’ rings or a scarf he wore on stage? (The ring won 78% to 22%. I don’t know why it wasn’t 100% to 0%); Would you rather go for a spin in the Pink Cadillac, or fly in Elvis’ custom jet, the Lisa Marie? (Pink Caddy won, but I feel strongly that a ride in the jet would be way cooler.)

Vote for Elvis' '68 Special or Aloha from Hawaii

The first question in the announcement box made me think. I did vote for the winner, the ’68 Special, but I knew in my heart there was one other Elvis concert I would have strongly preferred over either of the two choices. It was a concert at 2PM on April 28, 1956. Here is the story.

Years ago while surfing the net I found an Associate Press story by Steve Kanigher on LasVegasSun.com that contained some significant facts about Elvis I did not know. The subject was his two-week engagement at the New Frontier Hotel’s Venus Showroom from April 23 to May 6, 1956. What I learned has caused me to question the prevailing belief that Elvis’ shows then were something of a bust and kept him from performing in Las Vegas for the next thirteen years.

Billboard for Elvis' Performance at the New Frontier Hotel

Elvis performed two shows a night, 8PM and midnight. The audience was older types who favored the traditional Las Vegas shows. Freddy Martin’s Band and comedian Shecky Greene fit the standard. But Elvis did not. The patrons just didn’t get him, and Elvis’ appearances were roundly panned by the Las Vegas press.

But one performance was much different. For some reason, Col. Parker decided to add an extra Saturday afternoon matinee show for teenagers on April 28. According to Elvis: Day By Day by Guralnick and Jorgesen the price was a mere one dollar, and that included one free soft drink.

Wow. Think about that for a moment. Suppose you were among the lucky teenagers who came along with Mom and Dad to Vegas that weekend. Can you imagine learning about a special Elvis show being added just for kids while you were there – and freaking out! And it only cost a buck. Sign us all up. We’re headed to the Frontier to see Elvis!

Elvis at New Frontier Hotel

Now, try thinking about how great that show was. We can tell by this description of how these young fans’ reacted to Elvis’ appearance. According to the Associated Press story, “Teens screamed with delight.” This is confirmed by a quote from D J Fontana in Scotty Moore’s biography, That’s All Right, Elvis, “The Colonel did a show for teenagers on Saturday, and it was just jam-packed, with everybody screaming and hollering.”

Scotty and Elvis on stage at New Frontier

Okay, so now we know Elvis had one Vegas show in 1956 with his real fans in attendance, and a fine time was had by all. Of course the teenage fans screamed. That was what they were doing for Elvis all over America in arenas and stadiums. But that Saturday matinee was in the intimate environment of the Venus Showroom at the New Frontier Hotel. Everybody there was up close and personal. No bleachers or nose-bleed section for this show.

Elvis on Stage at New Frontier Hotel

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Look how close those kids in the front rows were to Elvis. And those in the back weren’t very far away either. The attendance that day has been reported at a little over 1000 teenagers. This is much less than Elvis had been pulling in at arenas all year leading up to his gig in Las Vegas.

Venus Showroom at New Frontier Hotel

This is obviously not an Elvis performance, but it gives you a good idea of the intimacy of Venus Showroom audience and the performers on stage.

Elvis came to Las Vegas after performing in front of big crowds in large venues. The shrieking at all of them was so loud and so sustained that the music from Elvis and the band couldn’t be heard. I read somewhere that even the band couldn’t hear the music.

But, I doubt the volume of shrieking from the much smaller crowd in the Venus Showroom would had been enough to drown out the music. In that case, those 1,000 young Elvis fans in Las Vegas were not only close to Elvis, they could actually hear him.

Elvis Wth Scotty Moore Performing at Venus Showroom

If I could go back in time and be at just one Elvis concert in his entire career, I would pick the 2PM Saturday matinee at the New Frontier Hotel on April 28, 1956.

Elvis Performing at New Frontier

After a week of facing mature audiences that just did not get him, can you imagine what kind of performance Elvis gave in front of screaming teenaged fans? It was the same one-and-a-half show he gave every night, but the whole vibe had to be different.

Man, I wish I could have been there.

 

 

{Editor’s Note: While the photos above were snapped at the Venus Showroom, most were not actually the Elvis concert for teenagers.}

 

Elvis - Welcome to Las Vegas

 

 

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Muhammad Ali and Elvis

Ali wearing the robe that Elvis gave him. March 31 1974

Muhammad Ali, the three-time heavyweight boxing champion of the world, died June 3 at a hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz. at age 74.

The above photo was taken in a boxing ring on March 31, 1974. Notice anything familiar about the rhinestone and jewel design? Looks like what Elvis had on several of his jumpsuits, doesn’t it? Well, it should. Elvis gave it to him the year before.

 

Elvis with Ali in his Suite at the Las Vegas Hilton 1973

Here they are in Ali’s suite in the Las Vegas Hilton in 1973. It is reported that Elvis gave the robe to him on February 14, 1973 shortly before Ali’s fight with Joe Bugner. Ali did not wear it at the Las Vegas Convention Center that night, but he won the fight.

 

People's Choice Robe Elvis Gave to Mohammed Ali

Here is the back view of the robe. According to some sources, Elvis had directed it to say People’s Champion, but somebody screwed up and did People’s Choice. Naturally, Elvis was very upset about the mistake, but it was too late to do anything about it. The robe cost a reported $3,000, and Ali was thrilled to receive it.

He did wear it to the ring for his next fight on March 31, 1973 against Ken Norton. Ali lost the fight, which made him decide the robe was bad luck, and he never wore it again. The 1974 photo above was a staged shot.

 

Mohammod Ali wearing and holding picture of robe Elvis gave him

So was this one taken at the Hard Rock Café in 1988.

 

Glove Muhammad Ali gave to Elvis

Here is another example of the Elvis Presley/Muhammad friendship: Elvis. You are the Greatest Fan. Muhammad Ali. Peace 1973.

 

Muhammad Ali and Elvis

 

“Elvis Presley was the sweetest, most humble and nicest man you’d want to meet.”

 

Muhammad Ali BackStage Pass to an Elvis Concert

Although I cannot find anything to corroborate it, it seems likely Ali used this backstage pass at an Elvis concert in Las Vegas.

 

Ali, Parker, and Vernon

It looks like Vernon and Col. Parker got to spend some time with Muhammad Ali as well.

 

Muhammad Ali and Jack Snoden in the Memorial Garden 1984

Muhammad Ali came to Graceland in 1984 and paid his respect Elvis at the Meditation Garden.

 

“People don’t realize what they had till it’s gone. Like President Kennedy, there was no one like him, the Beatles, and my man Elvis Presley.”

 

Robe Elvis gave to Ali on display at the Ali Center, Louisville KY

The robe Elvis gave Muhammad Ali is now on display in the Ali Center in Louisville, KY.

 

Elvis and Ali in boxing pose

At one point, Elvis and Ali were the two most recognizable human beings on the planet. Even in death, they may still be.

 “I was the Elvis of boxing.”

 

We’ll miss you Muhammad Ali.  Say hi to Elvis for us.

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© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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The Night Bruce Springsteen Climbed the Graceland Wall

Bruce Springsteen Getting Readto Jump Elvis Presley's Graceland Wall

Today is the 40th anniversary of the night Bruce Springsteen tried to climb over the Graceland wall and see Elvis. It is an interesting story.

It has been often written that seven-year-old Springsteen watched Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show and was moved to pursue a career in music. In fact, he has been quoted saying:

“…it was like he came along and whispered some dream in everybody’s ear, and somehow we all dreamed it.”

Elvis and Young Bruce Springsteen

Photoshopped Picture of Elvis and Bruce Springsteen Early in Their Careers


On April 29, 1976, Bruce Springsteen performed in concert in Memphis. It was called his “Born To Run Tour,” named after his first Top 40 hit and his first hit album that had reached # 3. After the four-hour concert ended, Springsteen was still wired, so he and E Street Band guitar player Steve Van Zandt decided to visit to Graceland. They took a cab, and at 3am on April 30 they arrived at the gate which was locked.

But Springsteen saw lights blazing inside the mansion, so he climbed the wall and ran to Graceland’s front door. Just as he was about to ring the doorbell, he was intercepted by security. Explaining his newfound rock fame and about recently being on the covers of both Time and Newsweek, Springsteen cajoled and begged to be let inside. Instead, the unimpressed guards told him that Elvis was out of town (true – on tour in Lake Tahoe) and escorted him promptly off the premises.

“Later on, I used to wonder what I would have said if I had knocked on the door and if Elvis had come to the door.”

 

Photoshopped picture of Elvis and Bruce Springsteen early in Their Careers

This is the cover of Springsteen’s Born To Run album. I have drawn a line to point out something on his guitar strap. It is a fan club button from the King’s Court Fan Club of NYC.

 

Elvis Button Bruce Springsteen wore on Born to Run Cover

Visual proof that Springsteen was still a big Elvis fan twenty years after that first Elvis epiphany.

 

Alt Photo During Born to Run Photo Session

Another picture taken at the album cover photo shoot

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“Elvis is my religion. But for him, I’d be selling encyclopedias right now.”

Springsteen performed a number of Elvis songs in concerts over the years. You may want to click on these:

Jailhouse Rock – 2009 Giants Stadium – Live sound but not video. Stock photos

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All Shook Up – 2009 The Spectrum, Philadelphia — Full song video in color, guy gets up on stage in white jumpsuit and sings.

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Viva Las Vegas — 2002 – Live video, poor sound

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Here are two more Bruce Springsteen quotes talking about Elvis:

“That Elvis, man, he is all there is. There ain’t no more. Everything starts and ends with him. He wrote the book.”

“I remember later when a friend of mine called to tell me that he’d died. It was so hard to understand how somebody whose music came in and took away so many people’s loneliness and gave so many people a reason and a sense of all the possibilities of living could have in the end died so tragically.”

 

Pensive Bruce Springsteen wearing Elvis Button

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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An Elvis Fan’s Farewell to Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard's Farewell to Elvis Album

By now you all know that country music superstar Merle Haggard died yesterday on his 79th birthday. But did you know the he was so moved by Elvis’ death in 1977 that he paid tribute to the King by recording an album titled My Farewell to Elvis?

Here is the list of songs:

From Graceland To the Promised Land
In the Ghetto
Don’t Be Cruel
Jailhouse Rock
Love Me Tender
That’s All Right (Mama)
Heartbreak Hotel
Blue Christmas
Blue Suede Shoes
Are You Lonesome Tonight
Merle’s Farewell To Elvis

 

Merle Haggard's Farewell to Elvis CD

In 1995, My Farewell to Elvis was released on CD with a different cover. Both vinyl and CD versions are available on Amazon.

 

Goodbye Merle Haggard. You will be missed. Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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ELVIS meets NIXON

Elvis and Nixon Shades and Flag

We are about to see a flurry of promos and media buzz for a new movie about Elvis’ famous December 21, 1970 meeting with President Richard Nixon. It is titled Elvis & Nixon and will premiere on April 22.

 

Elvis & Nixon Poster

As a big Elvis fan, I really want to see this film; and I really, really hope to like it a lot. But I have some doubts. For instance, the guy they chose to play Elvis is Michael Shannon. In the preview clips I have seen, he does not look like Elvis at all.

Michael Shannon Plays Elvis Presley

So, what do you think? See much Elvis there? Maybe he looks better wearing an Elvis wig and shades and clothes.

Michael Shannon as Elvis

Sorry. To me he looks more like Evil Elvis living a parallel existence in an alternate universe. Or maybe Keith Richards.

To be fair, Michael Shannon has been in dozens of movies and is an excellent actor. In 2008, he was nominated for an Academy Award — Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the Leonardo DiCaprio/Kate Winslet movie Revolutionary Road. But he primarily plays intense, scary, bad guys, so why pick him to play Elvis?

 

President's Day Kevin Spacey as Nixon

The choice to play Nixon is perfect – Kevin Spacey. He is going great guns in House of Cards, and he’s excellent playing all those characters on the E-Trade commercials.

Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon

My worry after watching an Elvis & Nixon featurette on You-Tube, is that Spacey will dominate the movie with an inspired portrayal of Nixon. That won’t bother the casual movie-goer, but we Elvis fans want our guy to be the center of attention.

 

Elvis and Nixon in Oval Office

One thing we can count on to keep the story on track is that Elvis’ good buddy Jerry Schilling is an Executive Producer of the movie. He was with Elvis on the trip to Washington DC and was inside the Oval Office for part of the time Elvis was with Nixon.

Sonny West and Jerry Schilling with Nixon and Elvis

Sonny West and Jerry Schilling between Nixon and Elvis

This picture was one of 28 taken by the White House photographer that day. The public is very familiar with the famous one of Nixon and Elvis shaking hands. It is the most requested photo from the US National Archives

The Official Photograph of Elvis and Nixon

To see all the photographs taken, click here.

Colorized Photo of Elvis Meeting Nixon

They were all black and white, but here is a colorized version of one of them.

Photographer Taking Official Photograph of Elvis Meeting Nixon

And this is the scene from the movie where they posed for the famous photo.

 

Elvis and Nixon - Historical Drama

The key thing to me in the heading of this article is “Historical Drama.” This implies that they will be playing it straight. However, the whole story of Elvis’ visit to Nixon is bizarre and surreal. There’s little drama to it. To me, the best way to tell this story is with humor, and, in fact, that has already been done.

Elvis Meets Nixon -1997 vrs 2016

The above composite shows this is not the first time a movie has been made about Elvis and Nixon. I absolutely love the 1997 version, and will devote the next ElvisBlog post to it. It is one of the most hilarious movies I have ever seen, and there are three You-Tube video clips that will show you what a great fun romp it is. Next week is going to be a really great post.

 

Elvis & Nixon Title Block

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis and the Grammy Awards — Revisited

Grammy Awards

Something weird happened on ElvisBlog two days ago. I can’t figure out why, but I’ll sure take it. Thursday, March 17, 2016, will forever rank as the day when the most people came to the blog – 11,370 visitors!!!

 

ElvisBlog March 17,2016 Stats

This chart shows the ElvisBlog visitors for the past month. Look how March 17 dwarfs the others (which represent the normal daily totals of 700-900 visitors).

 

ElvisBlog March 17, 2016 Pages Viewed

My blog software showed that about 95% of the total came from searches for “Elvis won only three Grammy Awards,” which is the exact wording in the first line of a 2006 ElvisBlog article. The search results had the article, Elvis and the Grammy Awards, at the top of the list.

I did some research to see if there was something in the news about Elvis’ Grammies that would have sparked this spike in interest. I found nothing.

Then I realized a lot of todays’ regular readers might not have ever read the post from 2006, so I am reproducing it here. Several formatting changes and new pictures have been added to bring it up to the style used today.

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Elvis and the Grammy Awards

 

Elvis Presley's Three Grammy Awards

Most fans are aware Elvis won only three Grammy Awards, and that they were all for Gospel recordings. There’s a lot more to the story.

How could the King of Rock & Roll not win any Grammys for his rock & roll records? One big reason is that the Grammy awards did not start until 1958. In 1956 and 1957, Elvis changed the sound of popular music and had hit after hit. If there had been Grammy Awards for those years, Elvis surely would have won a cabinet full of trophies. There is no way he could have been denied the award for these categories:

Best Vocal Performance, Male

Best Performance by a Top 40 Artist

The same goes for his hit singles. An Elvis song would have been a shoo-in for Record of the Year in 1956 with choices like:

“Heartbreak Hotel,”
“Love Me Tender,”
“Hound Dog,”
“Don’t Be Cruel.”

The Album of the Year for 1956 would undoubtedly have gone to Elvis’ first RCA album, Elvis Presley.

 

In 1957, there would have had to be a winner in this list for Record of The Year:

“Too Much,”
“All Shook Up,”
“Teddy Bear,”
“Jailhouse Rock”.

Elvis’ Christmas Album was the definitive rock & roll Christmas album of the period and would have been a strong contender for Album of The Year in 1957.

 

Elvis was off in Germany in the Army when the Grammy Awards were created in 1958, and he had no nominations. However, the next year he received three.

 

Elvis Hit - A Fool Such as I

“A Fool Such As I” was a 1959 nominee for Record of The Year, but got beat by Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife,” a really huge hit.

 

Elvis Hit - A Big Hunk of Love

“A Big Hunk of Love” received two nominations in 1959. However, Nat King Cole won Best Performance by A Top 40 Artist for “Midnight Flyer” (I can’t say that I even remember the song), and Dinah Washington won Best R&B Performance for “What A Difference A Day Makes.”

 

Elvis Hit - Are You Lonesome Tonight

1960 was Elvis’ best year for Grammy nominations with five, but he was up against Ray Charles who was having a huge year. “Are You Lonesome Tonight” had three nominations: Record of the Year, Best Vocal Performance, Male, and Best Performance by a Pop Singles Artist. “Theme From a Summer Place” by Percy Faith won the Record of the Year, and Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles took the other two categories. He won a total of four Grammys in 1960.

 

Elvis presley - G.I. Blues Album

Elvis also had two album nominations in 1960, both for GI Blues. However, Ray Charles beat him again. The Genius of Ray Charles took the award for Best Vocal Performance, Male, Album. The Best Soundtrack Album award went to Ernest Gold for Exodus.

 

Elvis Presley - Blue Hawaii Album

Elvis had another shot at Best Soundtrack Album in 1961 with the nomination of Blue Hawaii. Ray Charles didn’t beat him, but Henry Mancini did with Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

 

For the next five years, Elvis’ priority was making movies, and none of his songs or albums received Grammy nominations

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Elvis Presley - How great thou Art Album

In 1967, he finally won a Grammy for Best Sacred Performance for the album How Great Thou Art, which sold over a million copies and reached #18 in the Top Albums Chart.

In 1968, he was nominated again in the same category for the single “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” but the award went to Jake Hess for “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere.” This was ironic because Hess had been a big influence on Elvis.

As the lead singer for the Statesman Quartet, Jake Hess made an impression on young Elvis at the monthly “All-Night Gospel Singing” at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis. Elvis particularly admired Hess’ powerful voice and unique styling. One year before beating Elvis in the singles category, Hess was part of The Imperials who did backing vocals during the recording session for Elvis’ Grammy winning album How Great Thou Art. In 1977, Jake Hess was part of an elite group of Gospel music stars to sing at Elvis’ funeral service.

 

Elvis Prslet - He Touched Me Album

In 1972 Elvis won his second Grammy when his album He Touched Me took the Best Inspirational Performance award.

 

Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis

In 1974 Elvis won this category again for his third and last Grammy. But instead of winning for a single or an album, Elvis won for the live version of the song “How Great Thou Art” from the album Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis.

 

Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

It should be noted that the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences partially rectified their earlier snubs of Elvis by granting him their Lifetime Achievement Award in 1971.

 

If you would like to read more about Elvis’ Grammy Awards, you can check out the Elvis Awards section on Graceland.com. or the Graceland Blog article Elvis Presley and the Grammy Awards.

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Living Like a King at the Guest House at Graceland

Guest House at Graceland Entrance

Last week we looked at the 430 regular one and two-bed rooms available when the Guest House at Graceland opens in October. Today, we’ll take a peek at the four choices in special, luxurious suites. Warning, they’re budget busters, especially the eleven suites on the top floor, nicknamed “The Upstairs.”

The first step up is the Living Room Suites, and all four of them have a courtyard view. Although they feature only one bed, their open floor plan is touted as the special attraction of these suites. They all have a view of the courtyard.

TCB Suite and Living Room Suites at Guest House at Graceland

It’s hard to tell in this rendering (and the reservations lady had no idea), but it looks like that might be the king-size bed behind the partition holding the TV. If that is the bed against the back wall, we can assume there is another TV on the opposite side of the partition.

The hotel website says there is a separate living room area, and you can see two chairs or maybe it’s a chair and a couch, plus a coffee table. Hopefully there is more seating that we can’t see beyond the area shown in the rendering. The reservations lady said the suite also included a Keurig coffee station, microwave and mini-refrigerator. I guess they are over near the bathroom, which is out of frame.

The cost for Sunday through Thursday bookings is $349 (plus $30 more for weekends, and that hefty 21% taxes). This compares to $179 for the basic room with the view. It seems like a big premium for a rather small living area. You certainly couldn’t do much hanging out with friends with so little seating.

 

Lobby at Guest House at Graceland

Artist’s rendering of the Lobby at the Guest House at Graceland

 

Next, we take a big jump up to the TCB Suites. Big price jump, anyway. The Guest House website shows the exact same rendering for these eleven suites as for the Living Room Suites above. The reservation lady could offer no explanation for this, and to be fair, she hasn’t seen any rooms yet, as they are still under construction.

So it could be that the TCB Suite picture is correct, and that there is much more space beyond what it shows. The website says it contains a separate living room with a sofa and dining table and is perfect for entertaining. There is no kitchenette to prepare meals, however, just the Keurig coffee station, microwave and mini-refrigerator.

Considering the price, we can probably assume there is much more floor space and seating than is shown. The tab is $549 plus $30 for weekends, and the taxes. That’s $370 more than the basic room. They will probably book out early for Elvis Week and other big occasions at Graceland, because they work well as hospitality suites. But, on the off days, especially in the middle of week, it’s not hard to imagine many of the TCB Suites sitting empty. Who knows?

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Now, if you want to do some serious entertaining, the choice for you could be one of the two Vernon and Gladys Suites. These look like party central.

Vernon and Gladys' Suite at Guest Guest House at Graceland

Again, there is just one bedroom, but surely there is at least one extra bathroom. You can host a lot of people in 1,100 square feet. So, there must be more space we can’t see in this rendering. The website says there is a dining room table, which we can immagine holding a big buffet spread of food. You can see the wet bar on the left. Needless to say, there is a view of the courtyard.

The décor is inspired by the colors in Elvis’ parents’ room at Graceland. What do you think? I think the lobby picks up the colors better. Scroll back and check it out.

Elvis' Parents' Room at Guest House at Graceland

The tab for a night in a Vernon and Gladys Suite is $1,049 (plus 21% taxes), so booking it for a few days will cost a bundle. Wouldn’t you love to go to Elvis Week or the Birthday Celebration and get invited to a party here? That would be so much fun.

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Finally, the top of the line are the two King’s Suites, one styled after Elvis’ bedroom, and the other with a Las Vegas theme. The hotel website describes them as luxurious and one-of-kind.

King's Suite - Las Vegas Style at Guest House at Graceland

This picture shows the Las Vegas design. The website says it features “a royal blue and purple color palette with plush fabrics and furnishings, vintage touches and contemporary twists.” I guess I’m too decorating-challenged to appreciate how this reflects a Las Vegas vibe.

That really doesn’t matter because the suite looks so great. There are two bedrooms with king-size beds, a dining room (visible behind the couch), and a living room. A separate wet bar is not shown. Naturally, these suites have a view of the courtyard.

So far, there is no rendering of the Elvis’ Bedroom option, which “draws inspiration from Elvis’ master bedroom at Graceland and features rich red and black tones with metallic gold and silver finishes and a custom draped canopy bed, with TVs overhead.” I’ll bet that will be spectacular. Because it “provides guests with an unparalleled opportunity to live like The King,” I predict it will be way more popular than the Las Vegas version.

The King’s Suites contain 1,540 square feet (that’s more than my first house with three bedrooms and two baths). They could certainly be used for entertaining, but I envision them as the place where a well-healed guest wants to stay in maximum luxury while on an Elvis pilgrimage. And he will have to shell out $1,379 a night to do it.

 

Artist’s Rendering of the Lobby Bar at the Guest House at Graceland.

Artist’s Rendering of the Lobby Bar at the Guest House at Graceland.

 

I’ve been to Graceland five times in the last twenty-three years (four times were during Elvis Week). I’ve stayed at the Days Inn just down from the Car Museum, Wilson’s World Hotel (before it became Heartbreak Hotel), the Peabody Hotel downtown twice and the Holiday Inn Airport once. If I ever get back, I’m staying at the Guest House at Graceland. And I’m going to hang around the Vernon and Gladys Suite to see if there is a party going on I can crash.

 

Tip on Making Reservations.  The listed number is 800-238-2000, but this is the regular Graceland number.  To save time listening through the series of prompts about tickets, gift shop, Elvis Insiders, etc, simply push O,O,O. 

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

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First Look – -The Rooms at the Guest House at Graceland

GuestHouse at Graceland

Back in July 2014, ElvisBlog reported EPE’s announcement that they would be building a 450-room luxury hotel in Memphis. It was be located across Elvis Presley Blvd from the Graceland Crossing shops and Heartbreak Hotel.

For some reason I never followed up with any additional news as construction went on. The photo below shows the progress on the Guest House at Graceland as of December 2015.

Guesthouse at Graceland under construction

We can be sure EPE had hoped it would be completed by Elvis Week this year, but they must have recently accepted the reality that it wasn’t possible. So, last Thursday they made the official announcement that the Guest House will open on October 27. They also posted on Elvis.com/news renderings of what the rooms would look like and what they would cost.

 

King Size Bed in Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

This is the basic room for two people. You can see the king-size bed with two small night stands on either side. Between the bed and the window there is a chair, ottoman, floor lamp, and a small modernistic table with a square glass top. The rate on Sunday through Thursday nights is $159. For an additional $20 you can get a room with a view of the courtyard.

Pool Area at Guesthouse at Graceland

The Courtyard is this area between the two wings in the back. It seems like it would be worth the extra $20. The first picture above shows that the other rooms look out over the front parking area or wooded areas on each side.

 

Wide View of Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

Here’s a view of the basic room as you come in the door. There is a Keurig coffee machine and lots of beverage choices on the left. At the end of the room you can see the back of a desk chair at a desk with a Bluetooth-enabled media hub. The room rate for Friday or Saturday nights is $30 higher.

 

More Desk in Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

This is a picture from the opposite direction with a better view of the desk. There is a smart-phone charger just out of sight. As you come in the door, there is the closet on your left and the bathroom on the right. There is nothing unusual about this room floor plan. Pretty standard. For $10 over the base rates you can get connecting rooms.

 

Bed and Chair in Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

I like the jumpsuit picture on the wall. I wonder if every room has the same one.

 

Elvis Inage on Shears in Basic Foom at Guest House at Graceland

Here’s another image of Elvis printed into the window shears.   It copies the one on the gates of Graceland.  Very nice touch.

 

Bathroom in Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

And here is the bathroom featuring a terrific looking walk-in shower with a Kohler overhead rain shower and wall-mounted body spray that features 120 jets of water.

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There are four taxes added to the room rates – state tax, local tax, tourism tax, and occupancy tax – totaling another 21%. Man, everybody gets a cut. So that weeknight rate for the room without the courtyard view at $159 actually costs you $192. And the weekend rate with a view jumps from $219 to $265.

 

Two Bed Basic Room

However, if you take kids with you and want everyone to stay in the same room, you can get one with two queen-sized beds. You get an extra chair and a bigger night stand between the beds. On weeknights (Sun – Thurs) the rate is $189 plus the 21% taxes. Just like the one-bed room, add $30 for weekends, $20 for the view and $10 for connecting.

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There is one more goodie you can add to your room reservation. For $20 per person more, you can have the Breakfast Package. If that is supposed to save you something compared to just paying at the restaurant, meals must be pretty pricey at the Guest House.

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 A price break is available to all senior citizens, whether AARP members or not. It is just $7 for the rooms with one bed and $8 for the rooms with two, but it helps a little. You can also save $15 if you want the Advanced Deposit Rate. But, if you cancel your reservation, you get no refund. That extra $15 in the regular rate allows cancellation up to 6pm the day prior, so if you make your reservation many months in advance, this might be good insurance to have in case of unforeseen circumstances.

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In addition to the 430 regular rooms, there are nineteen specialty suites, eight of which are on the top floor called “The Upstairs,” a name inspired by the part of the Elvis’ mansion we aren’t allowed to see on the tour – Upstairs at Graceland.

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Next week we will take a look at these fabulous suites what kind of money it takes to stay in them.

 

Guest House at Graceland Logo

For more information on the Guest House, click here.  (Disreguard the lobby picture. omebody screwed up.  That is the one for Heartbreak Hotel.)  To make room reservations, click here.

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Big E Promotion Violates Space/Time Continuum

Elvis Reading BIG E

This picture makes no sense. It contains Elvis circa 1957 reading a book that takes place in late 1977. I don’t care. I think it looks cool.

Plus, it pushes the message about my long range goal for BIG E and the SANTA MAN – to have EPE make it into an animated Christmas special on TV. With every book I ship out, I ask readers to email me back if they agree, and the results so far are awesome. Not only do they like the book. They also can’t wait to see it as a TV Christmas special.

The quote above supposedly attributed to Elvis reveals an interesting aspect of the story. Every fantasy needs to have some magic in it, and my book has it big time. The North Pole is not just a geographic marker. It is the source of many magical properties. Including one that enables Santa to fly around the world and deliver presents to all the children in just one night. And, some of the daring deeds done by Big E and Santa to save Christmas are made possible by North Pole magic.

 

The Beatles Reading Big E and the Santa Man

This picture is equally impossible. The Beatles of the mid-sixties cannot read a book that is published in 2015.

So, what’s the point? I must make an admission. The cover of the book declares it is a Rock and Roll Christmas fantasy. Fantasy writers have the liberty to create the world their story takes place in, so I decided to add an allusion to the Beatles in mine. However, I have found out it is so subtle that most readers miss it.

Therefore, consider this picture as a hint of something to look for in the book. Big E needs a band if he is going to make music, so he teaches three musically inclined elves how to play guitar. Together with a great elf drummer, they develop into a kick-butt rock band. And the name they choose for the band is the ELVI’s (pronounced elv-eyes). You can be sure BIG E and the ELVI’s make some terrific music. Have you ever wished Elvis and the Beatles had performed together? My book’s fantasy of this mind-blowing combination is as close as you are ever going to get.

 

Big E and the Santa Man Final Cover
Look at this cover for a second. The building is Santa’s castle at the North Pole. The workshop is in the back out of sight, but so much fun stuff in the story takes place there. The main elves are Gears, a mechanical genius, and Corky, who overflows with creative and artistic talents.

About half-way through the story, Gears and Corky realize they are attracted to each other. I’m pretty sure there’s never been a Christmas fantasy with a romance between two elves, but now in BIG E and the SANTA MAN, there is.

So, my story has a magical North Pole, an elf romance, and allusions to the Beatles. Plus other allusions as well. Dicken’s A Christmas Carol is one you might expect, but believe it or not, a popular feature of Star Trek is part of the plot to ruin Christmas.

If you are thinking that this all sounds like a goofy hodge-podge and couldn’t possibly be any good, I urge you to click here and read the praise from four early readers of the book. They are not my friends or neighbors, they are men of stature in the Elvis universe.

We are getting closer to Christmas and you should seriously think about giving this book as a gift, or better yet, a present for yourself. If you are an Elvis fan, you will love him as a real hero. Big E is everything you would want Elvis to be in a fantasy story.

So, please send a check for $10 to:

Phil Arnold
159 Browning Dr.
Greer, SC 29560

And I will promptly mail you a copy of the book.

This will not be the price when I bring the book back for the next Christmas season. It will be available on Amazon then, but my introductory discount will be gone, and they will add a big chunk to the price. There will be an eBook available next year, too, that will probably sell for less than $10, but right now you can get the real book for that.

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Big E and the Santa Man teams up the two most famous icons in the world for a thrilling adventure. You will totally love the most unlikely buddy story ever written.

Thank you, thankyouverymuch,

 

Phil Arnold

Original ElvisBlogmeister

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BIG E Has Entered the Building

Santa's World Cover

Yeah. Who is this BIG E guy, anyway?

Perhaps this excerpt from the back cover of BIG E and the SANTA MAN will make it clearer.

Author's Message

Where indeed? What could possibly be more remote and special than Santa’s castle at the North Pole? And because he is trying to start a new life, Elvis would naturally choose a new name. So, when he got there, he told Santa to call him Big E.

Okay, but why Santa Man, not just plain old Santa? We fans know Elvis gave nicknames to everybody. A few include “Satnin” for Priscilla, “Dodger” for his grandmother, “Hog Ears” for Alan Fortas, “Putts” for bass player Norbert Putnam, “Thumper” for Ann-Margret, and many more. “Santa Man” follows in this tradition of Elvis giving pet names to people close to him.

One name I won’t mention here is the evil villain who wants to ruin Christmas. He is someone you are already familiar with, and you will be very surprised when his identity is disclosed in the book.

 

Big E and the Santa Man Final Cover

 

Because it is a Christmas story, BIG E and the SANTA MAN will be offered on ElvisBlog in future holiday seasons. By next Christmas, PayPal will definitely be available, and I now see that an e-book version is necessary to reach international markets at an economical price. But this year, I’m just trying to keep it simple. You send me a check for $10 (17 Canadian), and I send you a copy of the book. It will go by Media Mail which will take about 10 days or so.

So, get moving and send your check to:

Phil Arnold
159 Browning Dr
Greer, SC 29650

Buy this book, or I'll smash your house

Just kidding. But you really should want to read this book without coercion. You’re an Elvis fan, so you will love him in hero mode when dire circumstances force him into action. Your heart will be warmed by his close relationship with Santa and Mama Claus and all the elves. And you will marvel at his ingenious plans for beating the villain and saving Christmas.

So, how about it? Are you ready to order BIG E and the SANTA MAN?

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Thank you, thankyouverymuch,

 

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Phil Arnold
Original ElvisBlogmeister