Since his death in 1977, Elvis Presley has routinely been listed by “Forbes” magazine as one of the world's top-earning dead celebrities. Usually he holds the number-one position (Michael Jackson beat him out in 2010), and every year in the past decade, Elvis has at least been in the top-10. But even before the King left the building, Elvis Presley was a memorabilia machine, thanks to his career as a singer, movie star, and bona-fide cultural icon.
Elvis fans and collectors can track his life through his memorabilia. Some make pilgrimages to his birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi, to pick up souvenir patches and T-shirts. But the real action in early Elvis material is in the 45s and 78s cut at Sun Records in 1954.
The first Presley single for Sun was "That’s All Right." With Sam Phillips at the mixing board, Scotty Moore on lead guitar, Bill Black on upright bass, and Presley on vocals and rhythm guitar, the trio recorded the track live in the studio, with no overdubs or even drums. The single’s B-side was a Bill Monroe bluegrass tune from the 1940s called "Blue Moon of Kentucky."...
Two more Sun singles followed that year, with another pair in 1955, for a total of five Sun singles containing 10 songs. RCA re-released them all when it paid Sam Phillips $35,000 for Presley’s contract. Dozens more RCA singles were released throughout the 1950s, including "Heartbreak Hotel," "Don’t Be Cruel," and "Hound Dog" from 1956, and "All Shook Up" and "Jailhouse Rock" from 1957—all of these charted at number-one.
RCA kept Presley busy recording albums, too. "Elvis Presley" in 1956 came first. It included covers of "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins and "I Got a Woman" by Ray Charles, as well as a Rogers and Hart tune from the 1930s called "Blue Moon." The album reached number-one on the charts, as did the next two Presley albums for RCA (Elvis’ “Christmas Album” from 1957 remains the best-selling Christmas record ever recorded).
Another popular category of Presley records are the soundtracks for movies the singer made from 1956 (“Love Me Tender”) to 1969 (“Change of Habit”). “Jailhouse Rock” from 1957 can be found as an EP, with five tracks, including the Leiber and Stoller penned title. Parts of “G.I. Blues” were filmed when Presley was still an enlisted man stationed in West Germany, and the film and soundtrack (vintage vinyl collectors can acquire all 10 versions) were both huge hits when they were released in the summer of 1960.
The biggest music-movie crossover hit for Presley was “Viva Las Vegas,” which was released in 1964 as an EP of four songs, none of which, astoundingly, was the title track. Presley’s single of the Ray Charles hit "What’d I Say," which was also in the film, actually features the movie’s title track as its B-side.
“Viva Las Vegas” is also one of Elvis’ most collected movie posters, while the Hatch Show Print music poster for an Elvis concert in Jacksonville, Florida, on August 10 and 11, 1956, is a classic of that genre.
Even though Elvis is associated with Memphis—he called Graceland home from 1957 until his death—Hawaii also claims the King. He filmed “Blue Hawaii” there in 1961, “Paradise Hawaiian Style” in 1966, and honeymooned on the islands with Priscilla in 1967.
Even the Hawaiian shirt he wore for the cover shot of “Blue Hawaii” has become a collectible—the design was called Tiare Tapa and it was manufactured by Shaheen. Other items that became fashionable because of Elvis include the Hamilton Ventura wristwatches he favored in the late 1950s and early 1960s, as well as the numerous Omega and Rolex wristwatches he wore thereafter.
Las Vegas was another home-away-from-home, especially in the early 1970s. Today, Elvis Presley belt buckles, poker chips, playing cards, board games, and figurines commemorate those years. So do Elvis charm bracelets and enamel pins. But perhaps no item of Elvis memorabilia captures the star’s appeal better than the 29-cent U.S. postage stamp issued in 1993 as a part of the U.S. Postal Service’s American Music Series.
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Priceless Elvis memorabilia on display in LiverpoolLiverpool Echo, June 17th
Two priceless items of Elvis Presley memorabilia have gone on display at a Liverpool exhibition dedicated to him. The temporary Elvis and Us exhibition at the Beatles Story attraction has been so popular that it has been extended by a year until...Read more
Flint-area stores kick off Antique Treasure Hunt with 27 destinationsMlive- flint, June 15th
Come noon, customers started trickling in to view and purchase some of the store's antique items, which included older models of Barbie dolls, Elvis memorabilia and fire truck toys made in the 1950s -- including one restored Buddy-L aerial fire truck...Read more
Rock Stars Are the Next GodsPatheos (blog), June 11th
I have thought for years that future archaeologists would dig up Elvis memorabilia and declare that Elvis was the patron god the USA. L?oht Sceadusawol. And, when they discover glamour photos, that will be ritualised depictions of goddesses. :p...Read more
'Graceland:' Aaron Tveit on his new summer crime showNewsday, June 6th
in the Academy Award-winning movie "Les Misérables," Tveit plays Mike Warren, a top FBI Academy grad who's assigned to the beach house, nicknamed "Graceland" because the government reposessed it from a criminal who collected Elvis memorabilia...Read more
TV reviews: USA's gritty 'Graceland'; BBC America's haunting 'In the Flesh'Washington Post, June 5th
Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit), is assigned by his FBI superior to move to L.A. and live in a tony beachside spread — nicknamed Graceland because the previous owner, a drug dealer, had an obsession for Elvis memorabilia — with a ragtag band of...Read more
Blue moon rises over HeartlandThe Daily Courier (subscription), June 4th
The women have also arranged for a silent auction, 50-50 draws and `"lots of great Elvis memorabilia," gleaned from the official Elvis Enterprise Inc. Part of the proceeds from the Elvis weekend extravaganza will be donated to the Canadian Haemophilia ...Read more
Smile, be happy: Artist's work reflects her fun, upbeat attitudeTimes Daily, June 3rd
One of her pieces on display is a two-sided wall of Elvis memorabilia, decorated with cards and buttons. “Everybody that likes Elvis pretty much is a fun person I have discovered,” Goodman said. “I know some people who are really gung-ho and off the...Read more
Austin-based Chuy's restaurant coming to the Country Club PlazaKansas City Star, May 29th
Customers would then bring them Elvis memorabilia and they created a Elvis shrine. The menu features items made-from-scratch on-site: roasted, hand-pulled chicken, Anaheim peppers fire-roasted daily for hand-stuffed Chile Rellenos, and 10 signature ...Read more