Graceland, Memphis, Tenn.

It is Elvis week again at Graceland, still going strong to commemorate the King’s life and death – of which the 33rd anniversary is Monday. It is a week of costume contests, candle light vigils by his grave at Graceland, and people who knew him giving fans anecdotes about his life. Thousands of grieving fans from all over the world make the pilgrimage, just to feel closer to him for one day, or week.

And although it’s always crowded, you still can find some room …where broken hearted lovers come to cry away their gloom…

Anyone who has ever been to Graceland knows, it is easy to leave Graceland heartbroken, and you don’t even have to stay at the Heartbreak Hotel. I know because I was one of those forlorn souls….not even of a generation to truly appreciate Elvis, but I reluctantly became a fan. (Paige – you know what I am talking about..)

Wise men say..only fools rush in. But I… can’t… help… falling in love with you…

My experience goes like this – I was there during Elvis week for the 25th anniversary of his death, covering it for the Travel Channel. The crowds were enormous. The first day there, I remember calling home and telling stories about how depressing it was to be there – so many people crying over Elvis, spending all their vacation money to come here, and of course dressing up like Elvis for no particular reason. I couldn’t believe these people, and snobbishly I thought they needed to get a life.

Paige Ryan, Amy Troiano, Tracy Gallagher at Graceland

The next day I got to tour his private planes, one called Lisa Marie…and visit his grave that was COVERED with gifts from people all across the globe…

Take my hand…take my whole life too..

And of course, I spent hours inside of Elvis’s Memphis mansion, affectionately called Graceland. It looks like nothing has been touched – the 60s shag rugs in the jungle room…

Jungle room at Graceland

His desk and writing room… and of course the hall where you can watch music videos, and look at all his gold records, momentos, and photos of his life.

We’re caught in a trap…I can’t walk out..because I love you too much baby…

That is where I realized I had crossed the line. All day Elvis music filled the neighborhood. Finally after absorbing hours of his music, his soulful and sometimes vulnerable lyrics grabbed me as I examined his life, tremendous talent, and the tragedy of such an early death. (OK his charisma wasn’t bad either…)

As the song goes, I was all shook up… I understood the tears being shed outside his home, by people he’d never met. Seeing all he had accomplished – and could have accomplished  -against the backdrop of his depression, drug addiction, and an unhealthy lifestyle left me achingly sad.

Do the chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare? Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there? Is your heart filled with pain – shall I come back again? Tell me, are you lonesome tonight?

If you are an Elvis fan, and even if you aren’t, Graceland is a nice piece of Americana history…as well as a intimate look at the King of Rock and Roll.


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  • Barbara

    Great article!

  • TracyGallagher

    Hi –
    I left from California, not Australia… so I am sorry I can’t help!