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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Recent News: Elvis Presley Memorabilia
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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
Grapevine: Chmerkovskiy done with 'Dancing,' to appear in WestlandThe Detroit News, July 30th
Loads of Elvis memorabilia up for auction. Elvis Presley's handwritten set lists, a school library card and jewelry are just some of the treasures up for grabs at an auction Aug. 14 at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. Most of the items are from the...Read more
Elvis impersonator Daylin James learned to love playing PresleyWinnipeg Sun, July 27th
“I still respect him, but my house is not filled with Elvis memorabilia,” he said. James has performed in Memphis, Tenn., and visited Graceland, Elvis's home for more than 20 years. He took a moment to touch the grass where Elvis is buried and had a...Read more
The road not taken might never come around againColumbia County News Times, July 26th
There was always something at Graceland Too that hadn't been spotted on a previous foray to McLeod's house stuffed with an assortment of Elvis memorabilia. He packed it with the kind of Elvis items Memphis's Graceland sells knowing the stuff will sift ...Read more
Elvis Memorabilia Up For Sale Including Cadillac and Rolls-RoyceChinatopix, July 23rd
On August 14, an auction will be held in Graceland during an annual event known as "Elvis Week". "Elvis Week" runs from August 9 to 17 to commemorate Presley's death anniversary on August 16. Like Us on Facebook ...Read more
Local Elvis fans show burning love for idolTbo.com, July 19th
It usually attracts several hundred people who come to watch the performances and browse tables full of Elvis memorabilia. But next year, May, who is president of the Elvis Tampa Bay TCB (Taking Care of Business) Fan Club, hopes to make it even bigger...Read more
The Life and Death of Paul McLeod, The World's No. 1 Elvis FanNashville Scene, July 18th
The name of McLeod's home was and is Graceland Too, and for a quarter century the Holly Springs native opened the house to the public as the world's foremost bastion of Elvis memorabilia. It was open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and if you had $5, ...Read more
Owner of Elvis attraction, Graceland Too, found deadUSA TODAY, July 17th
The popular tourist attraction, which cost $5 to visit, was filled with Elvis memorabilia. The outside of the home was often painted in gaudy colors, and changed colors fairly regularly. At one time it was pink, at one time green, and it was also...Read more