Some people say Memphis is blues, Elvis and grill. This slogan is remembered when we stroll through the famous Elvis Presley estate – Graceland, when music is heard everywhere on the streets. But Memphis is so much more. Why is this city so magical, where does its legend come from?
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Secrets of the estate of Elvis Presley and his beloved Memphis
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. Hundreds of thousands of fans from around the world will flock to Graceland on August 9 for the annual candlelight procession in honor of their idol. It was here that he lived until his death.
Photo Courtesy of Elvis Presley’s Graceland
Memphis is not the most beautiful city in the world, or even in America. But it has a climate or, if you prefer, a soul, and it makes you want to be here and come back. This peculiarity of the city is influenced by the culture of the American South and musical tradition. Music here sometimes stood against the racial segregation so acute in the southern states – black bluesmen came to town to play with whites on the famous Beale Street, a street that pulses with sounds to this day.
Memphis is the cradle of blues and soul, urban legends tell of people who sell their souls to the devil for talent and then drown in the great Mississippi River, on which the city is located. Next to Nashville, famous for its country and jazz, New Orleans is America’s third music city. Because Memphis is also rock and roll and its absolute king – Elvis Presley. It is the city of Elvis, and his Graceland estate is the second most famous and most visited home in America after the White House. This year, August will mark the 45th anniversary of Presley’s death, you can imagine how many tourists will come for the night vigil and candlelight processions at the king’s estate. Memphis is also home to such musical celebrities as Johnny Cash, BB King and Justin Timberlake. Some will be looking for the atmosphere from the famous movie “Mystery Train” by Jim Jarmusch or walked in the footsteps of Johnny Cash from “Walking the tightrope”. How was the legend of this city born and what did the halo that surrounds it deserve?
SEE ALSO: Addictions, belief in UFOs and relationship with a minor. The scandalous face of Elvis Presley
There is no point in describing the entire history of the city. It is assumed that it was officially founded on May 22, 1819. The fertile lands and the river contributed to this, and the city was for centuries a great center of cotton production and trade. The most mysterious is its name referring to the capital of ancient Egypt, i.e. the original Memphis. Apparently, just as the Egyptian city is located on the Nile, the American Memphis was founded on the bank of the great Mississippi river. It is quite a loose relationship, but it is somehow. In 1991, a glass and steel pyramid, officially known as the Great American Pyramid, the largest in the world, was built here. Inside the Pyramid is a tree house hotel, huge aquariums, a cypress swamp with alligators, swimming pools and a breathtaking observation deck atop a 32-story steel structure. You can have lunch there and look at the beautiful Mississippi backwaters.
If you feel dizzy and don’t feel like walking, you can order a golden pumpkin-shaped carriage and take a ride around the city. Or drop by the famous The Peabody Hotel for a daily duck march – punctually at 11am, five birds have been marching on the red carpet to the hotel’s fountain for years for years, and at 5pm they return to the roof again. There are countless such attractions in the city, a bit like a fairy tale, and a bit absurd.
The city was mostly populated by Irish, but soon African-Americans who fled the surrounding plantations began to settle here. Memphis grew rapidly but, as in the rest of the South, it was at times the scene of conflicts between black and white populations. In the 1960s, it played a large role in the civil rights movement. In 1968, the then famous Pastor Martin Luther King came to Memphis. He stayed at the Lorraine Motel, which was frequented only by blacks, among them great names: Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, Nat King Cole. The motel owner named it after his wife and the jazz song “Sweet Lorraine.” However, Martin Luther King’s visit ended tragically – he was shot on a balcony by a mercenary murderer in March 1968. Who the real giver of the murder was has never been discovered. The doctors failed to save King, who quickly bled out. His death sparked riots across America.
Today, the motel houses the National Museum of Civil Rights. One can follow an example from his initiatives. Lots of exhibitions are held here at a discount or for free, but people also contribute – they bring food, mostly canned, for the Southern States Food Bank. It is useful to the poor and in the event of disasters. Memphians say about themselves: we are activists, dreamers and people of faith. And this face of the city is also visible, although you need to stay here a little longer to discover it.
SEE ALSO: Obsessed with virginity, sleeping with children … The dark side of Elvis Presley
Photo ALAMY / B & W
Photo ALAMY / B & W
There is one king!
For many tourists, Memphis is primarily Graceland, which is the estate and mausoleum of Elvis Presley. The tickets are not cheap (rather a few dozen than a dozen dollars), but it is probably worth saving and paying for a visit. Graceland is first and foremost a fantastic biographical museum – we will see Elvis’ private apartments with his beloved Jungle Room, a room styled as a tropical cave. There are the king’s eccentric costumes, there is the wedding dress of his wife – Priscilla Presley. Their wedding in 1967, though only eight minutes long, became an event. Never seen a cake on six floors or such an extensive menu before. The couple’s first dance to Elvis Presley’s hit “Love Me Tender” was moved. In it he swore: “I will be yours forever, to the end of the world.” But after five years, the marriage broke up.
Was Elvis Presley happy in this huge mansion? It is hard to judge. He had to know how much he had achieved. But he missed Priscilla, they couldn’t be together, but she became the love of his life. There is jewelry in Graceland and great cars that he has donated to his wife. There are even spouses’ private planes that can be visited, although apparently Elvis himself was afraid to fly. Like many prominent people, Presley was obnoxious and self-destructive – he took drugs and tranquilizers, and drank. He died in Graceland in 1977, aged just 42. He changed music forever, he sold over a billion records during his lifetime.
In June, the movie “Elvis” directed by Baz Luhrmann will have its premiere. I wonder how Austin Butler, who makes his debut in the big cinema, will fare in the role of a rock and roll icon.
Fot. FRILET/EAST NEWS
Fot. FRILET/EAST NEWS
I was wandering around Memphis
Before dozens of modern Elvis, who come here from all over the world, take to the streets in the evening, the legendary Arcade restaurant is a must. Elvis Presley had his table here, his favorite peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich is still on the menu. But don’t expect an elegant place. Because Arcade (Arkadia), known from many movies, resembles a rather modest house, placed at the crossroads, with cool neon signs. Like many things in Memphis, the atmosphere has.
“When I wandered around Memphis / I saw the spirit of Elvis on Union Avenue / I walked behind him to the gates of Graceland / And I watched him go through them / Security did not notice him / They were just hanging around his grave / To really something / Waiting for the King Tam, in Jungle Room ”, she sang among others Cher in the famous song“ Walking in Memphis ”. It’s fun to walk around Memphis. And the ribs, various meats and grilled corn, if you like, are indeed delicious!
Fot. Sean Pavone ALAMY/B&W