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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Elvis Presley heirs sue Danish GracelandThe Local Denmark, September 3rd
Knudsen makes his living through Graceland Randers, where entry to the museum costs 99 kroner for adults and 69 kroner for kids, and where up to 6,000 items of Elvis memorabilia are for sale. But he insists this is not about the money. “Of course I am ...Read more
Elvis lives—at Israeli restaurant and gas stationJNS.org, August 26th
And they were busy inspecting the impressive Elvis memorabilia and chotchke collection on the premises. Drivers passing through this corner of the hills surrounding Jerusalem often do a double-take from the car window when they spot not one, but two ...Read more
Graceland Goes to Vegas: 11 Sights and Tours Perfect for the Elvis FanHuffington Post, August 24th
Located across from Graceland in Memphis, the 128-room accommodation allows guests to immerse themselves in Presley culture -- in Elvis-themed suites with a retro '60s vibe -- including Elvis films looped on specified channels, Elvis memorabilia and ...Read more
Fervent fanhood: East valley resident's Elvis collection spans houseLas Vegas Review-Journal, August 16th
Some of the Elvis Presley memorabilia in Sandra Luther's east valley home include Elvis-themed license plates. Luther has been collecting Elvis memorabila since meeting the singer in 1964, and her collection spans her entire home. (F. Andrew Taylor...Read more
Elvis memorabilia brings big buck at auctionPPP Focus.com, August 15th
The auction includes army sewing kit, million dollar quartet guitar, “viva las vegas” jacket, owl-shaped ring etc. A jacket worn by Elvis Presley in the 1964 film “Viva Las Vegas” and more than 150 other items belonging to the late singer were due to...Read more
Elvis memorabilia to be auctioned at Graceland13newsnow.com, August 13th
Elvis memorabilia to be auctioned at Graceland. The auction is part of Elvis Week, the annual commemoration of his death on Aug. 16, 1977. Loading… Post to Facebook. Elvis memorabilia to be auctioned at Graceland The auction is part of Elvis Week, the ...Read more
Feast for a King: A guide to Memphis' Elvis-themed eatsMemphis Commercial Appeal, August 12th
The King loved barbecue pizza at Coletta's Restaurant (1063 South Parkway E., 901-948-7652) and you can order it just the way the he did — it hasn't changed — and eat it in a room surrounded by Elvis memorabilia, including the ticket for his last...Read more
10 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Elvis MemorabiliaNews-Antique.com (press release), August 10th
10 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Elvis Memorabilia To celebrate Elvis Week, here are 10 bizarre facts about Elvis Presley memorabilia, from concealed weapons and his underwear problems to the reason he shot his own TV set... 10 Things You ...Read more