I have never been a fan of Elvis. I didn’t have anything against him, but he was a little bit before my time so he was a distant memory. I used to enjoy watching his films on a rainy Sunday afternoon but that was about as far as it went.
And then I visited Graceland today. Wow. What a legend.
The mansion itself, as everyone always says, is fairly small. It’s probably only as large as the posh houses in the street across from where I live. I suspect that’s just a sign of the times that he lived in (and the fact that we live in such disgustingly material times now). However the property has lots of land with outbuildings and horses etc. It’s a real time capsule; I loved a lot of the décor which is incredibly dated now but a real measure of the period it was from. I felt very much at home in the wood-panelled rooms which reminded me of my own childhood home from the seventies/eighties (although we didn’t have green shag carpet on the ceilings). I couldn’t quite work out why he needed three staircases to the upstairs, and two to the basement, but maybe that’s just rock star excess for you. I was disappointed by the pool room, only because I expected to see a swimming pool as I rounded the corner. Sadly there was a pool table. Oh well.
I hadn’t really ever before grasped exactly how much of a massive star he really was. I mean, yes, everyone knows who Elvis was, blah blah. But it’s when you see the stacks and stacks of gold discs and awards that it really hits home. And he never played a concert outside of North America but he remains a global superstar. A pretty massive achievement by any measure.
The thing that really got me is the fact that he frequently gave money to charities and needy people on the quiet. It’s also evident from all his quotes that he was always very respectful and incredibly grateful for his success and this is probably why he was always so ready to share his good fortune. What a lovely guy.
It also doesn’t hurt that actually he was fairly easy on the eye. I’d never really appreciated that before.
So for a couple of non-believers it was pretty moving to finally see his grave and pay our respects. It was totally worth the three hour drive out of our way to Memphis.
I learned three things today.
Elvis was born 19 days after my mother.
The 68 Special Elvis is my favourite Elvis.
And, above all, Elvis was a top bloke.