You've come to Memphis on a pilgrimage and spent the entire day at Graceland. You've cried, you've laughed, you've bought a whole suitcase full of Elvis souvenirs, but still you want more of Elvis. No problem. Elvis is everywhere in Memphis.
If you're a hard-core Elvis fan and plan to visit his grave during the early-morning free visitation period at Graceland, you'll want to find a hotel as close to the mansion as possible. Directly across the street from Graceland are two properties that cater specifically to Elvis fans. Both the Heartbreak Hotel-Graceland and the Days Inn at Graceland offer round-the-clock, free, in-room Elvis videos. The former hotel actually has a pathway into the Graceland parking lot, while the latter motel has a guitar-shaped swimming pool.
Also, if you can, plan your visit for dates around Elvis's January 8 birthday festivities or during Elvis Week, which commemorates his death on August 16. During these festivities, you might catch an all-Elvis concert by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the Taking Care of Business Elvis-tribute ballet by Ballet Memphis, or the Elvis laser-light show at the Sharpe Planetarium in the Pink Palace Museum.
Any time of year, you can visit Sun Studio the recording studio that discovered Elvis and where he made his first recordings. Though the studio isn't very large, its musical history is enough to give people goose bumps and bring tears to their eyes. A highlight of a visit here is a chance to actually touch the microphone that Elvis used to make his first recordings. The late Sam Phillips (who died in 2003), once brought his new musicians here to sign contracts, and this is where Elvis most certainly whiled away many hours. For a tongue-in-cheek tribute to Elvis, check out the coin-operated shrine to the King at the Center for Southern Folklore in Pembroke Square downtown. In Midtown, take a 20-minute tour that details Elvis Presley's connection with the historic Memphian Theater. Find out which movies Elvis used to watch here with his entourage, and hear stories about his visits. Tickets are $5; for reservations, call Playhouse on the Square at tel. 901/725-0776.
To visit the spots around town where Elvis once walked, book a tour with American Dream Safari (tel. 901/527-8870), which tools guests around town in a 1955 Cadillac to see such Elvis haunts as Humes High School, Sun Studio, and the housing project where he lived as a teenager.
- Elvis's first hit single was "Mystery Train." Recorded at Sun Studio, it made it to number one on the country charts in 1955.
- In 1956, Elvis became the second white person to have a number-one single on Billboard's rhythm-and-blues chart. The song was "Don't Be Cruel." The B-side was "Hound Dog."
- Elvis's first million-selling single and gold record came in 1956, when he recorded "Heartbreak Hotel" as his first release for RCA.
- During his career, Elvis won three Grammy Awards, all of which were for gospel recordings. Two of these awards were for the same song -- a studio version and a live version of "How Great Thou Art."
- Elvis made 31 films and sang in all but one of these. Charro!, a Western released in 1969, was the only movie in which he didn't break into song at some point.
- The soundtrack to Elvis's movie G.I. Blues was on the album chart for a total of 111 weeks, 10 of which were at number one. This was his first movie after returning from service in the army.
- Highway 51 South, which runs past the gates of Graceland, was renamed Elvis Presley Boulevard in 1971, while Elvis was still alive.
- Elvis's first network-television appearance came in January 1956 when he appeared on Stage Show, which was hosted by Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.
- On a night in 1975, Bruce Springsteen, hoping to meet Elvis, jumped the fence at Graceland and ran up to the house. Unfortunately, Elvis wasn't at home, and the guards escorted Springsteen off the property.
- The King holds the record for sold-out shows in Vegas: 837 performances at the Las Vegas Hilton over a 10-year period.
- In 2003, an Elvis CD featuring his 30 number-one hits was released and became an international success. To date, sales have reached triple platinum.
- Elvis has sold more than a billion records worldwide, according to some industry estimates. That's more than any other act in recorded history.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.