Beauty, as we all know, is in the eye of the beholder. And so it is with Graceland, the imposing, 18-room mansion in Memphis which the King of Rock ‘n Roll bought in 1957 for himself and his parents. It was rather a change after a childhood of meagre homes in his birthplace of Tupelo, Mississippi, and rooming houses and public housing in downtown Memphis.
The surprise – for me anyway – in visiting Graceland in its manicured hectares amid paddocks with grazing horses, set apart from its sprawling, associated theme-park museum, is how homely it is. I had been imagining expansive rooms with soaring ceilings and sweeping staircases down which grand entrances could be made. But no. At best a couple of chandeliers, a staircase of almost modest proportions, dining and lounge rooms of generous size, but nothing opulent. And then the more casual rooms – nothing stingy there but, let’s say, of singular taste. Elvis, or someone in the family, obviously was a fan of monkeys.
Matching wall and ceiling paper for the pool room.
Monkeys feature in the living rooms.
Well, not every family home has a shooting range.
Graceland’s back garden.
In all Graceland is a family home rather than the home of a man who could have bought anything. Which he did in some cases including a passenger airliner-sized aircraft as well as a private jet. They’re on display at the theme-park across the road from Graceland along with endless other memorabilia, theatres, shops and eateries. I know a few blokes who would give anything to have some of the cars!
Keeping the family together.