When I was 15, my family took a summer vacation to Tennessee. Though we took a detour through Nashville, the main destination, of course, was Graceland in Memphis. I want to save most of my experiences there for future posts, but one of the things I was unprepared for in the Graceland area was the sheer volume of Elvis merchandise available.
Back then, there were no online stores. While Elvis was certainly available in various stores at home, especially in record stores, I had never seen anything like this. For instance, there was an entire record store devoted to Elvis that seemingly had every record he ever released (looking back, probably not).
While I had brought along what I considered a decent amount of spending money (probably the most amount of money I ever had at one time to that point), I quickly realized I was going to have to be very judicious in what I bought. I tried to focus on things that I had never seen before and definitely couldn’t buy back home. Records were out. Though they had records I had never seen, all of them were much more expensive than the prices I was used to paying.
Two of the items I bought were reprints of the two Memphis newspapers’ coverage of Elvis’ death in August 1977, the Memphis Press-Scimitar and the Commercial Appeal. While the articles represented a sad time, I enjoyed reading about Elvis within the context of his times – rather than with years of posthumous baggage.
That’s why I’m looking forward to the July 30, 2010, release of Elvis Presley’s Memphis, a 160-page hardcover book from the archives of The Commercial Appeal and Elvis Presley Enterprises. Along with photographs, the book will include reprints of various articles covering Elvis’ life.
I’ve given EPE a hard time this month over the Mr. Potato Head Elvis Presley fiasco, so it’s only fair for me to point out that the Elvis Presley’s Memphis book may turn out to be one of their best products since the release of the ELVIS: ’68 Comeback Special- Deluxe Edition and Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii-Deluxe Edition DVD sets.
If you happen to be in Memphis during Elvis Week in August, be on the lookout for an exclusive edition of this book that includes a DVD. The rest of us can pre-order the book alone over at Pediment Books.