“Ask anyone. If it hadn’t been for Elvis, I don’t know where popular music would be. He was the one that started it all off, and he was definitely the start of it for me”
Out of all the new exhibits displayed at Elvis Presley’s Graceland, Elvis the Entertainer is the most inspirational and thought-provoking experience any Elvis fan would be honored to see. Taking a journey through Elvis’s career with displays showcasing iconic moments in Elvis’s life, this exhibit is something to see, even for those not-so-crazy Elvis fans. This collection is only a glimpse to what Elvis left in this world.
Sun Studios – Where it all began
Beginning with his time at Sun Studios, the tour begins with a display of the simple times. Not even Elvis knew what a big deal he would end up being. Displayed in the exhibit is this quote: “The first time that I appeared on stage, it scared me to death. I really didn’t know what all the yelling was about. I didn’t realize that my body was moving. It’s a natural thing to me. So, to the manager backstage I said, ‘What’d I do? What’d I do?’ and he said, ‘Whatever it is, go back and do it again.”
Elvis was discovered at Sun Studios when he went to record a few songs for his mother’s birthday. Though it took some time and help from musicians Scotty Moore and Bill Black, Elvis got his start, and everything took off from here.
Elvis Goes to Hollywood
Moving past his early career, the exhibit brings you to Elvis’s time in Hollywood. Movie posters, records, and pictures are displayed throughout this section. Iconic outfits he wore in films are on display though contain the possibility of changing with so much in the archives. Currently, Jailhouse Rock, Kid Galahad, Live A Little Love a Little, and other films are represented by clothing he wore during filming.
’68 Comeback Special
The exhibit then takes you to a pivotal moment in Presley’s life. It’s the display of what we all know now as the ’68 Comeback Special. Containing iconic outfits wore by Presley during the event, the display continued to remind me just how real Elvis was. Never being alive during his life, and knowing his larger-than-life legacy, I still forget he was a real person and not a character from a movie. The Black Leather, Burgundy Gospel Suit, and (my personal favorite) the If I Can Dream White Suit are encased next to one another having them all in view at once. This unreal experience also has clips of Elvis during the special wearing these exact outfits and putting things really into perspective.
Aloha From Hawaii
Just past this display is one of the most iconic Elvis jumpsuits out of them all. Airing via satellite from Hawaii, Elvis took stage wearing the White American Eagle jumpsuit that left the world speechless. With this jumpsuit are various outfits Elvis wore during this time in Hawaii. One even being an off-white corduroy suit he wore off the plane once he arrived in Hawaii. Just as the ’68 Comeback Special display, the Aloha from Hawaii concert is played behind this array of clothing. Backdrops of the exhibit are covered with designs similar to those that were on stage with Elvis during this memorable concert experience. Being up close and personal with the suit he wore in Aloha from Hawaii is awe-inspiring and left me (a normally long-winded talker) completely speechless.
Viva Las Vegas
In the center of the exhibit is one of the largest collections of Elvis jumpsuits. Lined up next to one another with many of them in front of photos of Elvis himself wearing that exact jumpsuit. Of the jumpsuits on displayed the one most fans want to see, the Sundial Jumpsuit. This jumpsuit (if you are not a huge Elvis fan) is what Elvis wore during his last ever concert before his untimely death.
Hall of Records
In the last portion of the exhibit contains a large display of Elvis’s gold and platinum records. This wall-to wall, floor-to-ceiling display is shown along with Grammy’s he had won. The Jaycees Award Elvis won in 1971 is showcased along with the outfit he wore to accept the award.
A portion of his speech is played in the background, “Without a song the day would never end, without a song a man ain’t got a friend, without a song the road would never bend, without a song… So, I keep singing a song”.
Regardless of if you are a die-hard Elvis fan like me or someone just interested in music, this eye-opening exhibit is one of the best displays of Elvis’s career. Elvis continues to inspire music and influence artists. He will forever stand the test of time.
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Until we meet again!
TCB and TCE,