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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Choices galore at clean and tidy King Eagle dinerWatertownDailyTimes.com, March 8th
One of her family members is an Elvis fan, thus the “king” part, which also explains some Elvis memorabilia scattered around the room. Another family member spent some time in the military as a Marine, thus the “eagle” reference. So let's get to the food...Read more
Elvis Jr. To Perform At Mccc SaturdayMonroe Evening News, March 7th
When Mr. Presley Jr. isn't singing, he is the curator of the Private Collection of the King on Tour — a 53-foot $500,000 “mobile museum” with a huge private collection of Elvis memorabilia. The museum was stationary for 18 years in Niagara Falls...Read more
Battle Ground resident asks for return of stolen Elvis statueThe Reflector, March 5th
that can be seen from the road. This is, in part, to amuse passersby who used to stop to take pictures of the statue that decorated her mailbox column. Carroll-Rogers delights in every piece of her Elvis memorabilia and feels happiest sitting in...Read more
Discoveries: Sierra Sid's Elvis gun collection in SparksSacramento Bee, March 1st
Amid a small but impressive collection of Elvis memorabilia – rings, and watches and pens, all gold- and diamond-encrusted – there sat three gleaming pistols propped up for maximum exposure. The first was a Ruger Blackhawk .44, the second a Smith and ...Read more
Cirque-OSHA reach settlement in Guillot-Guyard case; Jerry Lewis' legacy ...Las Vegas Sun (blog), February 28th
Maybe Parsons is interested in appearing in “Rock Vault” or is just here to check out the new collection of Elvis memorabilia, including a 1973 LTD once owned by the King and a jumpsuit worn onstage at the then-Las Vegas Hilton in '72. Also happening...Read more
Off The Beaten Path: Loudermilk Boarding House MuseumMyFox Atlanta, February 24th
Artist Joni McCabe has amassed an incredible, unbelievable, and downright strange collection of Elvis memorabilia...and it's waiting to be explored by you! Good Day Atlanta's expert on all things weird -- Paul Milliken -- took a tour of the Loudermilk...Read more
Jane Marie Willett, 63Southern Maryland News Net, February 21st
She enjoyed the beach, family gatherings, dancing, eating crabs, playing bingo, NASCAR and traveling with her cousin Dolores Wood. Jane was a big Elvis fan and loved collecting Elvis memorabilia. She worked as a cashier for B.K. Miller's in Clinton, MD...Read more
Priceless rock 'n' roll memorabilia make up new exhibit at Rock 'n' Soul MuseumWMC-TV, February 14th
guitar from Aerosmith, Sir Elton John's famous heart-shaped glasses from the 70s,a suitcase belonging to legendary guitarist Les Paul, a Rickenbacher Electro guitar, the first successfully marketed electric guitar, and never before seen Elvis...Read more