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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Graceland Too auctions estate, Elvis memorabiliaWMC Action News 5, January 25th
Before then, McLeod opened his home to the public for nearly 25 years, displaying his Elvis memorabilia. Graceland Too, in partnership with Spur K Auctions, will auction Graceland Too's real estate, cars, Elvis memorabilia, and MacLeod's original artwork...Read more
Elvis Presley would have been 80 this month — let the celebrations beginFresno Bee, January 22nd
Velvet once had the largest collection of Elvis memorabilia in the world, and was the inspiration behind Pearce's own collection, some of which will be on display in the lobby during the show. There will also be a display of rare photographs of Presley...Read more
In the spotlight: New family business records Elvis Aaron Presley Jr. albumRapid City Journal, January 18th
He is also the curator of one of the largest private collections of Elvis memorabilia. Working with Dakota Sun to produce his latest album was a good experience, he said. “It was wonderful; they're wonderful people.” The album, “We All Nations...Read more
Graceland Too Property, Memorabilia Auctioned This MonthHottyToddy.com, January 13th
More than a thousand pieces of Elvis memorabilia will be up for grabs to the highest bidder via Spur K Auctions, including 155 albums and every vinyl 45 — as well as the original covers — Elvis ever released. The auctioneer, Greg Kinard, has not...Read more
Don't Chew on My Blue Suede Shoes: A Contest of Elvis Presley and DogsNew York Times, January 8th
Recently, a woman who lives in Stuyvesant Town donated a sizable Elvis memorabilia collection, including pillows and photos in guitar-shaped frames. It took the woman several trips with a shopping cart to ferry the collection, and workers promptly...Read more
Elvis fans celebrate singer's 80th birthdayKSAT San Antonio, January 8th
"Elvis is the patron saint of Chuy's," said Bear Stanley, manager of the Highway 281 location. The place is decked out in Elvis memorabilia. The owners had $20 to spend on decor when they opened the first location in 1982. They found a velvet Elvis...Read more
Elvis Presley: Is Cathy Finau his biggest NZ fan?The Dominion Post, January 7th
A visitor once remarked that her bathroom was the only place in the house with no Elvis memorabilia. "I should have an Elvis calendar in there," Finau laughed. She was in her mid-teens when Elvis "came on the scene" and she was hooked. The first song...Read more
One Direction memorabilia sales top Elvis Presley and The BeatlesDigital Spy UK, January 6th
A total of 50,000 units of Elvis memorabilia were sold on the site over the past three months, with The Beatles' goods shifting 36,000 and U2's selling 30,000. Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson and Kylie Minogue follow with 26,000, 23,000 and 19,800...Read more