Celebrate Elvis' Birthday With a Tour of Graceland

Happy Birthday, Elvis. Presley's birth date is Jan. 8, and the King of Rock n' Roll would be 83 years old this year. Fans and guests from around the world gathered on the front lawn of Elvis Presley's iconic home Monday morning to celebrate, joining local officials and Graceland executives for the proclamation of "Elvis Presley Day" in Memphis and Shelby County. A special birthday cake was a tribute to Elvis' 1968 Comeback Special, as Graceland kicks off its year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary year of this milestone TV event. An auction of Elvis memorabilia over the weekend saw more than a half-million dollars in winning bids for unique Elvis memorabilia, and there was a concert featuring the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, panel discussions featuring Elvis' movie co-stars and those who knew Elvis in his early years, and evening tours of the mansion and the new Elvis Presley's Memphis exhibit and entertainment complex.

Graceland also marked the occasion by officially opening its newest exhibit. The "Hollywood Backlot" exhibit features production sets and artifacts from the acclaimed television series "Sun Records," filmed in Memphis and aired on CMT network in 2017. The eight-episode series chronicled the meteoric rise to fame of pioneering musicians Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Presley lived in the mansion from 1957 until his death 20 years later at the age of 42. The estate has recently enhanced the trophy room and restored the racquetball building. Today, the mansion and the artifacts in the Graceland Archives are owned by his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. The decor in the rooms spans all of the Elvis eras at Graceland, but the look is primarily the late 1960s to early 1970s.

But if you can't make it to Graceland, take a tour with us:

Welcome to Graceland
Welcome to Graceland
Photo: Thomas R Machnitzki/Wikimedia

Graceland was once part of a 500-acre farm that was owned by the S.E. Toof family. In the spring of 1957, when Elvis Presley was 22, he purchased the home and grounds for just over $100,000. Visitors to Graceland will recognize the "sheet music" gates to the house, which were installed the same year Elvis bought the house.

The Mansion
The Mansion
Photo: Rick Amick

According to the Graceland website, house guests at Graceland included family members and friends at various times, some in the mansion and some in houses elsewhere on the grounds. Although Elvis had various homes in the Los Angeles area and spent a great deal of time on the road with his concerts, Graceland was always home base.

Take a Tour of Graceland
Take a Tour of Graceland
Photo: Rick Amick

The Graceland Mansion tour gives visitors a close-up look at the living room, his parents' bedroom, the kitchen, TV room, pool room, the famous Jungle Room, his father's office, the newly-enhanced trophy building, the racquetball building -- recently restored to how it looked in 1977, and the meditation garden.

The Foyer and Staircase
The Foyer and Staircase
Photo: Terry Waggoner/Wikimedia

Inside the front door is the foyer, and the bottom of the stairs leading to the second story, which includes the bedroom where Elvis died. The second floor is closed to visitors.

The Living Room and Music Room
The Living Room and Music Room
Photo: David Brossard/Wikimedia CC2

According to Graceland, special guests were received and shown to the living room, where they would wait for Elvis to greet them. The estate recently acquired Presley's baby grand piano in white with gold accents. The piano is on display in the music room.

His Parents' Bedroom
His Parents' Bedroom
Photo: Rick Amick

Behind the living room is the bedroom used by Elvis' parents, and decorated by his mother in a much-loved shade of purple.

Poodles in the Bathroom
Poodles in the Bathroom
Photo: Rick Amick

She also chose the poodle-themed wallpaper in the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom downstairs.

The Dining Room
The Dining Room
Photo: Rick Amick

Elvis enjoyed entertaining friends, family and his entourage.

The Bar.
The Bar.
Photo: Rick Amick

Open.

The Jungle Room
The Jungle Room
Photo: Rick Amick

According to Graceland, the famous Jungle Room, with its green shag carpets, Polynesian feel and exotically carved wood, was once the exterior access to the basement. In the 1960s, during one of Elvis' home improvement projects, it was added to the back of the house -- first as a screened porch and then closed in as a room a few years later.

The Jungle Room
The Jungle Room
Photo: Rick Amick

Graceland says this room became a family favorite and Elvis liked it in part because it was reminiscent of Hawaii, where he enjoyed vacationing, film-making and performing.

And More Jungle Room
And More Jungle Room
Photo: Rick Amick

In 1974, Elvis redecorated with the current furnishings he stumbled upon at a Memphis furniture store.

Rockin' in the Jungle Room
Rockin' in the Jungle Room
Photo: Graceland.com

This rocking chair was a favorite of Elvis' in an earlier rendition of the Jungle Room, and is being auctioned off at Graceland this weekend. It is expected to fetch between $10,000 and $15,000.

Personal Mementos
Personal Mementos
Photo: Rick Amick

The house is filled with personal items and mementos, including this well-worn stuffed bear and a guitar.

The Kitchen
The Kitchen
Photo: Rick Amick

According to numerous reports, including some from people who were in a position to know, like his cook... Elvis' favorite snack after a tour was fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

The Media Room
The Media Room
Photo: Rick Amick

In the context of the time, the multiple televisions, stereo systems and speakers were state-of-the-art.

The Billiards Room
The Billiards Room
Photo: Rick Amick

According to various reports, Elvis bought the pool table in 1960, but it wasn't until he had the basement rooms remodeled in the early '70s that he had the walls and ceiling covered with more than 350 yards of cotton fabric.

His Gold Records
His Gold Records
Photo: Ronincmc/Wikimedia CC4

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Elvis has been honored with 90 gold, 53 platinum and 25 multi-platinum album awards by the organization.

His Costumes
His Costumes
Photo: Ronincmc/Wikimedia CC4

Some of Presley's costumes on display at Graceland.

Rhinestones Everywhere
Rhinestones Everywhere
Photo: Ronincmc/Wikimedia CC1.2

Elvis' rhinestone performance costume.

The Grounds of Graceland
The Grounds of Graceland
Photo: Rick Amick

The back of the house.

The Meditation Garden
The Meditation Garden
Photo: Jens Bludau/Wikimedia CC4

Graceland says the final stop on the tour of Graceland Mansion is Meditation Garden, where Elvis and members of his family have been laid to rest.

The Meditation Garden
The Meditation Garden
Photo: Thomas R Machnitzki/Wikimedia

Millions of fans from around the world have come to Graceland to pay their respects to Elvis -- the humanitarian, singing sensation, movie star and King of Rock 'n' Roll, says Graceland.

The Grounds of Graceland
The Grounds of Graceland
Photo: Thomas R Machnitzki/Wikimedia CC1.2

The area surrounding the house comprises sweeping vistas and gently sloping meadows.

The Car Collection
The Car Collection
Photo: Ronincmc/Wikimedia CC4

Another attraction at Graceland is Elvis' car collection, including this pink Jeep, used in the 1961 romantic comedy "Blue Hawaii." 

Historic Graceland
Historic Graceland
Photo: Rick Amick

The Memphis estate is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Smokehouse
The Smokehouse
Photo: Rick Amick

One of the outbuildings near the mansion was possibly a pump house, and a smokehouse, and, when Elvis wanted it to be, an impromptu firing range.

What They Found in the Smokehouse
What They Found in the Smokehouse
Photo: Rick Amick

Later, they found these.

Before You Leave
Before You Leave
Photo: Rick Amick

Never be far from Elvis. Graceland has a live webcam.
Check out GracelandCam.

Elvis Lives
Elvis Lives
Photo: Library of Congress

Learn more about the estate and all things Elvis at Graceland.com.

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