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. Presl...
“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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Australian Greg Page puts a Wiggles spin on Christmas classicsHouston Chronicle, November 20th
Here's something I didn't know about Page until our phone conversation. He's a huge Elvis Presley fan, and his collection of Elvis memorabilia is rated the fourth best collection in the world by people who rate those sort of things. "My love of Elvis...Read more
Man claims disorder caused him to steal Elvis memorabilia from himselflehighvalleylive.com, November 20th
Elvis Presley is shown performing in Providence, R.I. in a file photo from May 23, 1977. (AP file photo). Elvis did not leave the building. And that's what got Herbert Stewart into trouble. The 54-year-old Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania, man filed an ...Read more
Bidding underway on Elvis memorabilia, 'Hayride' radio show record from ShreveportRed River Radio, November 16th
Bidding underway on Elvis memorabilia, 'Hayride' radio show record from Shreveport. By Kate Archer Kent • Nov 16, 2015. ShareTwitter Facebook Google+ Email. Elvis Presley memorabilia are being auctioned off this week, including rare reference ...Read more
Elvis scores record breaking 12th UK number one albumNME.com, November 6th
Appetite for Elvis memorabilia is clearly still high, with a personalised handgun recently selling for £60,000 in an auction of the singer's items, which also included a suit, a sewing kit and a racquetball shirt. Listen to the Orchestral version of...Read more
Rare Elvis Presley vinyl goes up for auctionITV News, November 2nd
She then spent plenty of this on Elvis memorabilia, including this rare record, as well as film posters and cinema lobby cards. Wall was jailed for three years in 2005, but her bizarre story was depicted in ITV's film 'Caught in a Trap' in 2008, with...Read more
Bless mah soul! Rare Elvis recording to fetch £12k in Black Country auctionexpressandstar.com, November 2nd
The haul of Elvis memorabilia has something of a potted history. While it is being sold by a private Black Country collector, at one point many of the items belonged to Elvis superfan Julie Wall, who stole £500,000 from car park machines in...Read more
5 Amazing Pieces of Elvis Memorabilia up for Auction at GracelandPeople Magazine, August 12th
First of all, what a necklace. Second of all, are you familiar with the relationship between Sammy Davis Jr. and Elvis? From the eBay listing: "Once Elvis gave Sammy a black sapphire ring and told him, 'This is the biggest black star I've ever seen so...Read more
Elvis Presley Graceland Exhibit Heading to Las VegasBillboard, March 1st
Now, the Westgate Las Vegas hotel-casino will house a rotating display of Elvis memorabilia and artifacts rarely seen outside his famed Memphis, Tennessee, Graceland mansion. Elvis Presley's Billboard Chart Records. Feel like getting married? Graceland ...Read more