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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Review: Elvis at The O2The Wharf, December 17th
Should you want this to last a little longer - and you've got the space in your wardrobe - there's Europe's largest collection of Elvis memorabilia to round off the experience. Snap up a replica Aloha jumpsuit and belt for £2,900 - a sure-fire way to...Read more
Elvis memorabilia on display in LondonWashington Post, December 16th
December 16, 2014 2:17 PM EST - Actress and Elvis's former wife, Priscilla Presley attends a gala showcasing more than 300 artifacts from her husband's family archives. “We've got things that I've never seen before,” Presley says. (Reuters) ...Read more
Incredible collection of Elvis memorabilia comes to LondonTelegraph.co.uk, December 11th
It has been over 35 years since he died, but for those with Elvis Presley still on their minds there is now another way to get close to 'The King'. At London's O2, they are launching what's thought to be the largest retrospective of the famed American...Read more
Biggest display of Elvis memorabilia comes to EuropeDaily Mail, December 11th
MOST RECENT. Biggest display of Elvis memorabilia comes to Europe. Biggest display of Elvis memorabilia comes to Europe. Over 300 artifacts coming from Elvis Presley's family are on display in London for the first ever such retrospective in Europe...Read more
Londonist Gets A Sneak Peek Inside The O2's New Elvis ExhibitionLondonist, December 11th
If you're planning on visiting the new exhibition of Elvis memorabilia that's just arrived in Greenwich via Graceland, you'd better pack a couple of peanut butter, bacon and banana sandwiches. This is the largest retrospective of the singer ever...Read more
Return of The King: Elvis memorabilia comes to TacomaTheNewsTribune.com, October 8th
Today, Stanic, 52, is known as Elvis Aaron Presley Jr. He's a performer and the owner of the Private Collection of the King on Tour — part of what he touts as the largest private collection of Elvis memorabilia and artifacts outside of Graceland. The...Read more
Elvis Memorabilia Exhibit Opens at Cushing LibraryTexas A&M University, September 16th
Cushing Memorial Library and Archives will kick off fall in style, as it opens its new exhibit, The King: Celebrating the Sara H. Lindsey Collection of Elvis Memorabilia. The exhibit will run Oct. 3, 2014 through Feb. 27, 2015, on the second floor of...Read more
Property displays Elvis memorabilia for public to viewSt. George Daily Spectrum, July 31st
Tony Freitas, of Oakdale, Calif., performs during the Las Vegas Elvis Festival in Las Vegas earlier this month. Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino offers Elvis Presley fans ways to remember him. (Photo: AP). CONNECTTWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAIL ...Read more