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Big celebrations planned this week in Memphis for Elvis' birthday

 

Elvis Presley stands at the gates of Graceland in this circa 1957 photo. Had he lived, Elvis would be 79 on Wednesday.

Elvis Presley stands at the gates of Graceland in this circa 1957 photo. Had he lived, Elvis would be 79 on Wednesday. Photo by: elvisfansofnashville.com

 

Special to The Dispatch

 

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Elvis fans from around the world will travel to Graceland this week to celebrate the King of Rock 'n' Roll's birthday.  

 

Elvis Presley's Graceland will also kick-off a year-long celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll during the annual birthday festivities. On July 5, 1954, Elvis walked into Sun Studios in Memphis and recorded "That's All Right" with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black. Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips played the song on July 8 on WHBQ radio and the switchboard lit up. Rock 'n' Roll was born and the music world changed forever. 

 

Radio and television personality Wink Martindale witnessed the historic night at WHBQ in July of 1954, when Sam Phillips brought DJ Dewey Phillips the acetate copy of Elvis' first Sun Record "That's All Right" to be played on the "Red, Hot, and Blue" radio show. After meeting that evening, Wink and Elvis remained friends throughout the course of Elvis' life. Wink will be a special guest for the birthday celebration, along with his wife, Sandra Ferra Martindale, who also dated Elvis off and on for several years early in Elvis' career. Together they will share stories about spending time with the King of Rock 'n Roll. 

 

Also joining the birthday events will be the 16-year-old YouTube singing sensation from Quebec, Canada, who will lead Elvis fans from around the world in a rendition of "Happy Birthday" at Graceland on Jan. 8. David Thibault gained worldwide attention on YouTube in early December. Singing "Blue Christmas" on a Canadian radio station, the version of the song went viral with over seven million views in less than a week. The result caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres and Thibault was invited to perform on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" just before Christmas, where Ellen surprised David with a trip to Graceland. In addition to the ceremony on Wednesday, he will also perform at the Elvis Insiders Event on Thursday. 

 

 

 

Wednesday, Jan. 8 

 

  • Elvis Birthday Proclamation Ceremony - 9:30 a.m. Graceland Front Lawn. Free admission. 

     

  • Special Graceland Stable Tours - 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. Artifacts on display include saddles used by Elvis and his entourage, personal western wear worn by Elvis, and home movie footage of Elvis on horseback at Graceland.  

     

  • Graceland Trivia Tour - 4:30 p.m. Guests are invited to tour Graceland Mansion and the Elvis Presley Car Museum while simultaneously answering trivia questions to which answers can be found on the tour.  

     

  • Club Elvis - 8:00 p.m.-midnight. Elvis Presley Car Museum, Graceland Plaza.  

     

     

     

    Thursday, Jan. 9 

     

  • Fan Club Presidents' Event -10 a.m.-noon., University of Memphis Fogelman Executive Conference Center at 330 Innovation Drive. Fans are invited to celebrate the work of Elvis Presley fan clubs. Special guest Wayne Mann, Elvis' cousin and witness to the start of Elvis' career at Sun Studio, shares stories as the city of Memphis gears up to celebrate 60 Years of Rock 'n' Roll.  

     

  • Official Elvis Insiders Reception and Graceland Tour - 6-9 p.m. A private evening tour of Graceland Mansion decorated for the holidays and a reception across the street in Graceland Plaza. The reception includes Elvis' airplanes, Elvis Presley Automobile Museum, Sincerely Elvis and the Elvis in Tupelo Exhibit. Special guests are Sandra Ferra Martindale and Wink Martindale. David Thibault will perform at this event exclusively for members of the Elvis Insiders. 

     

     

     

    Friday, Jan. 10 

     

  • Elvis Morning Movie at Malco Theatres - 9:30 a.m., 7130 Malco Blvd., Southaven. A special presentation by Malco Theatres of the feature film "This Is Elvis," explores Elvis at different stages of his life. 

     

  • NBA's/Memphis Grizzlies Elvis Birthday Night -7 p.m., FedExForum, 191 Beale Street. The Memphis Grizzlies will play the Phoenix Suns in an arena filled with Elvis-themed music, movie clips and live entertainment. Tickets start at $25. Go to Grizzlies.com. 

     

     

     

    Saturday, Jan. 11  

     

  • Memphis Symphony Orchestra presents Elvis Birthday Pops-60 Years of Rock 'n' Roll, 7:30 p.m., Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, 255 North Main St. Get tickets through the Memphis Symphony Orchestra website or call the box office, 901-537-2525. 

     

    For a complete listing of all events, visit elvis.com. Get tickets for Graceland-sponsored events by calling Graceland Reservations, 800-238-2000 or 901-332-3322, or get them online.

     

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