Now before I start writing this post I have to make a confession…I’m not a massive Elvis fan. Don’t get me wrong, I think that his music is good and if it’s on the radio etc. then i’ll list and enjoy it. But I wasn’t brought up listening to it and it’s not really the type of music I choose to listen to. However, I would like to think that despite this, I’m still able to appreciate when an individual helps to change the world – and this is certainly something that the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll did!
Well, if you haven’t already guessed by now, the next day we travelled to Memphis, and visited Graceland – the home of Elvis Presley. Elvis bought the property at the age of 22, which shows how popular his music had become even at this early age! We were guided through the house with an interactive tour on an iPad, which in all honesty I can’t really decide if I liked or not. On the one hand, it would have been nice to have an actual tour guide speaking to us and leading us around. The headphones prevented you from really talking to anyone else in your group, and I guess led to everyone feeling quite isolated. On the other hand, I was able to hear every single word which was said – which is quite unusual for a tour, and it also meant that everyone could walk around at their own pace which was quite nice.
It really was an incredible experience walking around this house. As i’ve already admitted, i’m not a big Elvis fan, but even I was able to appreciate what a momentous moment this can be for some people. It was almost difficult to believe that this was where the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll actually lived with his family. It was a slightly crazy house, with decorations and designs that were, at times, simply bizarre. Although I suppose that from the brilliantly crazy outfits that Elvis often wore this shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me!
I’m very pleased that we were able to do this tour. Elvis truly did change the world with his music, and I think the fact that his home still has hundreds of visitors every single day, even forty years after his death, shows how important he was to so many people. Even if you’re not a big fan of Elvis or the Rock ‘n’ Roll genre, I would still advise paying a visit. It is the home of a man who helped inspire millions, who changed music forever, and who truly was The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Even if the music or the man himself don’t interest you, it’s interesting to see the process of his rise to fame and the influence his career had on the world and its future.
We continued our adventures by visiting Sun Studios, the recording studio where Elvis was just one of a number of stars to record his works. This was also the place that Elvis was first discovered, although the beginning of his journey wasn’t quite as easy as I had always assumed. Naively, I presumed that Elvis would simply have walked into any recording studio, sung, and been instantly recognised as a star talent. In reality, it took Elvis repeated attempts to win over the owner of the studio before he was able to convince him to record and play his music.
The studio was opened by Sam Phillips on January 3rd 1950. In 1951 a single called ‘Rocket 88’ was recorded there, which is claimed to have been the first rock and roll single. Elvis Presley is not the only famous musician to have been associated with this label however. Johnny Cash, Ray Harris, Warren Smith and Jerry Lee Lewis are just a few amongst many others!
We went on a tour around the studios which was actually really interesting. It lasted for about an hour, although it felt like it went by a lot quicker than that! The tour guide was really entertaining and knowledgeable. He also felt like the type of person you could actually ask a question, even if you weren’t sure if it was stupid – which is something I like in a tour guide! Honestly, I had never even thought before about how or where Elvis made his music, or what the process was for him in going from an unknown, normal teenager to a global star. This tour was absolutely brilliant and I would 100% recommend it to anyone who is in the area.
They also sell really cool t-shirts, and I wasn’t quite able to resist. On the bright side, it was a ‘buy 3 get 1 free’ offer, so a group of us were able to get them at a slightly discounted price! This was an absolutely fantastic day, and I’ll definitely remember it as one of my highlights of the entire trip.
“Oh the places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss