Elvis on a wall by fans
The King died 35 years ago this week - 16 August to be precise (unless of course you believe he didn't). Whatever you believe, for any fan, a trip to Graceland is a must. Long before MTV Cribs came on our screens to give people an insight into the homes of music stars and other celebrities, fans have been visiting Elvis' former home since 1982.
The Presley mansion
A visit to Graceland is as thoroughly kitsch as you expect it to be… for me, it was also unexpectedly humbling. After wandering through the bulk of his house (visitors aren't allowed upstairs - that's for Elvis), it's certainly clear that the Presleys had interesting taste in decor - but I didn't realise I'd also get the strong sense that Elvis was a pretty ordinary guy. Still very much the 'King' but also a person who loved his family, loved music and never forgot his roots. And then there are the outfits he wore - gold lame, rhine stones, big metal buckles and even both his and Priscilla's wedding outfits are present. His music and movies are celebrated well too. I'm make a thoroughly rubbish Mastermind Elvis expert (or any mastermind expert!), but I count myself as a fan and it was truly astonishing to see quite how much he'd achieved over such a relatively short time space.
Living room and music room beyond
Part of the tour also includes a chance to visit Elvis' final resting place alongside his parents and grandmother. Apparently, he used to spend a lot of time here - a place where he could be in the quiet and a space for reflection. Quite fitting then, I think, as a final resting place for him.
Oh, the channel surfing possibilities!
The entertainment room is down in the basement. The lightning bolt (sorry, Usain, Elvis beat you to it!) motif on the wall on the right is used alongside Elvis' motto: Takin' care of business (or TCB).
It also appears on his grave stone... Elvis' philosophy behind the bolt included "body conditioning", "respect for fellow man", and "freedom from constipation". I wonder if all the peanut butter-banana-bacon-honey sandwich that he favoured helped with that...
In the billiards room
This week in August is also Elvis Week! Now held annually, there will be tribute concerts, a candlelit vigil as well as a whole lot of Elvis loving. You can find more details about Elvis week on www.elvis.com/elvisweekonline. Even if you've missed it this year… you can make a note of it for next year as it's generally held the week of his death.
A mansion tour of Graceland is $32 for an adult ticket. You can buy tickets online here: www.elvis.com/graceland or buy them in person at the Graceland ticket office at 3765 Elvis Presley Blvd., Memphis, TN 38116. Here also, is a link to driving instructions.
Belt buckle fan
Elvis' musical home
Birth place of rock n' roll
Make sure you include a stop off at the Sun Studio - home to record label, Sun Records, which has seen the likes of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and the man in Black, Johnny Cash amongst others. There are tours of the studio every half an hour from 10.30am to 5.30pm - tickets cost $12. There is also a café when you first go in so you can sit and drink whilst you soak up the atmosphere and check out the memorabilia that decorate the place.
And if you're arriving in the USA elsewhere, chek out our USA car hire map to find a location to suit you!