Elvis Presley’s grand legacy sees a huge resurgence during Elvis Week, which is held in August each year and coincides with his death anniversary, August 16. The dates are released to the public well before the event and will take place from August 9 to 17 this year. The week celebrates the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, his music and movies, and pays respect to all things Presley in a typically flamboyant and fun fashion. This event is a pilgrimage and phenomenon of sorts for music lovers and fans globally.
History of Elvis Week
Elvis Presley — widely known as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, was one of the most dominant and famous performers of the 20th century. Rising from humble beginnings, this talented teenager was picked up by Sun Records after a producer heard his audition tape. The rest is history.
He was already a very flamboyant personality before he began his journey in the world of music; he wore colorful clothes and had relatively long hair. His on-stage persona began to emerge in 1954 when he began playing with blues singer Arthur Crudup’s ‘That’s All Right Mama.’
Presley dominated the music charts and is widely acknowledged as the person who brought the age of rock ‘n’ roll to the U.S. He soon became the idol of that decade, appealing to all genders and ages of people around the globe. His television appearances on shows like Ed Sullivan’s Sunday night variety show brought in record audiences. He inspired thousands of musicians — John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Prince, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bruce Springsteen, and more, many of whom continue to be Presley fans. His star was flying high. It was at this time, in 1958, that it was announced that he had been drafted into the U.S. Army; he served for two years.
Upon returning, he continued to produce hits, some of which had been recordings made before he served in the army. He soon ventured into movies as well, turning them into box office hits. He even recorded the soundtracks for these movies, although many contend his solo music was some of his best work.
By 1968, his star power had been slightly overtaken by newer artists like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and others. Over the next few years, he released new singles and played concerts again. He was once again the top attraction in the U.S. for the next decade. He died of a heart attack the night before he was to start another concert tour, in 1977. Mourners arrived at Graceland — Presley’s home and where he passed — from around the world to pay tribute almost as soon as the news got out. Since his passing, the gathering continues in a tradition called Elvis Week. Held in August, mourners and fans make their way to Graceland in a tribute to Presley’s life.
Elvis Week timeline
Presley releases his first record, “That's All Right,” and it is a huge hit.
Presley debuts in an American musical Western film and it is the only one in which he plays a historical figure.
He is drafted into the U.S. Army and serves as a soldier in Germany, leaving the army after two years with sergeant stripes.
He wins his first Grammy award in the Best Sacred Performance category for the gospel-infused track, ‘How Great Thou Art.’
Presley plays to sold-out venues in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and New York, giving nearly 1,100 performances.
Presley passes away from a heart attack at his home in Graceland, and Elvis Week has been celebrated in this month ever since, to pay homage to this great man.
Elvis Week FAQs
What is Elvis Week in Memphis?
Every year on the anniversary of Presley’s death, thousands of fans come together to celebrate this icon’s life, music, and movies in his home, Graceland.
What was Elvis Presley's greatest accomplishment?
Presley’s accomplishments include receiving numerous music awards, popularizing rock ‘n’ roll music in the United States, and becoming a famous entertainer and a relatively successful actor.
How long did Elvis live at Graceland?
Presley lived at Graceland, his Memphis home, for more than 20 years, from 1957 to 1977. It is now a memorial site for this music icon.
Elvis Week Activities
Listen to his old hits
Have a rock 'n' rolling day by listening to some evergreen Elvis Presley hits like ‘Jailhouse Rock,’ ‘Hound Dog,’ ‘Love Me Tender,’ and ‘Mystery Train.’ Add a shake and shimmy, and a little dance-off, to truly channel the King.
Check out his movies
Watch one of the 30+ movies Elvis starred in, like “Blue Hawaii,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Change of Habit.” Because all of these are characterized by light comedy-romance interspersed with musical interludes, they are dubbed “Elvis movies.”
Hold your own candlelight vigil
Who says you have to visit Graceland to pay tribute to this powerful icon? Stay home, and have your own candlelight vigil on the anniversary of his death. Take a moment to remember the legacy he left behind and celebrate the gifts he has left us.
5 Fun Facts About Graceland
He bought Graceland at a young age
Presley was only 22 when he purchased the Graceland mansion for $102,500.
He moved in after his family did
Since Presley was busy filming Jailhouse Rock, his parents and grandmother actually moved into Graceland five weeks before he did.
Named for the original owner
Graceland was named for the original owner's — the Moore family — aunt, Grace Toof.
What's in the kitchen?
Presley wanted the kitchen to always be stocked with banana pudding, ingredients for meatloaf, shredded coconut, hot dogs, and gum, among other items.
Bruce Springsteen broke into Graceland
Upon learning that his idol lived close to where he had just given a concert, Springsteen broke into Graceland to meet Presley, who was unfortunately not home at the time.
Why We Love Elvis Week
His fan base is alive and kicking
And we love meeting people who still adore the King. It's almost as if they are a mishmash of an Elvis Presley family.
Best artists, music, and people
The best tribute artists from around the globe put on incredible shows, and multiple celebrities drop in to pay their respects. In 2021, Priscilla Presley confirmed her appearance, and who knows who will partake each year?
A fitting tribute to his life and legacy
He inspired an entire generation of people and influenced the rock ‘n roll genre. Without him, maybe we wouldn't have so many inspired artists. Elvis Week, apart from the fun, honors and remembers the man who captured an entire world's interest.
Elvis Week dates