Elvis: A Pilgrimage to Graceland In the summer of 1978 I made a Pilgrimage to Graceland with my wife and son. I made the pilgrimage to celebrate Elvis' first memorial anniversary. Now I commemorate his 30th memorial anniversary in 2007.
The following pictures reflect some of the images that I saw and photographed.


1. Gold Dust West Casino in Reno, Nevada. Located on 4th & Vine. Featuring Stamps Quartet (Ed Enoch, Buck, Larry; J.D. Sumner was absent due to open heart surgery). I saw the show on July 8th. The 1973 Lincoln Continental was a present given by Elvis to J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet. Tennessee license number 575 205-XT. Date purchased 12-27-75.


2. In Las Vegas, at the Stardust. Rick Saucedo (an Elvis-impersonator) presents “Elvis – The Legend Lives” with Elvis’ own Jordanaires (featuring Ray Walker and D.J Fontana, Presley’s drummer of 16 years). The Sweet Kharisma resembled Elvis’ group, the Sweet Inspiration. Rick Saucedo was dressed in a white jump-suit with a blue Star of David (with blue stones) on his back.


3. L.C. Humes High School (presently,1978, Humes Jr. High) on Manasses St. Elvis attended grades 7-12 here. He graduated in 1953. There’s a saying on the top-right of the building: “The whole world here unlocks the experience of the past to the builders of the future.” Saying on left wall: “The hope of democracy depends on the diffusion of knowledge and wisdom.” Elvis said that the very first day he walked into this building he felt like the hairs on his head were standing on end because he was a country boy that had come to a city school, and he was totally scared to death.


4. Sam Phillips Recording Studio at 639 Madison St. Sam was the man who helped Elvis get his start in the record business. Sam Phillips Recording Studio as it is seen today (1978) is on Madison St. The original Sun Recording Studio is now Uniserve, a Auto body shop on 706 Marshall St. What happened was that one day in August Elvis walked into Sun Recording Studio to record a disk as a birthday present for his mother. He paid $6.00 for the disk. Well, at that time Sam Phillips was looking for a white singer with a black man’s voice. Marion Keisker, the secretary, thought that she found what Sam was looking for when she found Elvis Presley. So she spent $24.00 on a tape of Elvis, but she forgot to get his name or his address. Well, a year later Elvis came back to record a disk as a birthday present to Red West, and about a week after that the Blue Mountain Boys (Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and Elvis) were in the studio recording Elvis’ first hit single, “That’s All Right, Mama” (the same song he sang for his mother Gladys a year earlier in the same studio).


5. Original Sun Recording Studio on 706 Marshall St. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones both say that without Sam Phillips and his studio they wouldn’t be where they are today. Rock-n-Roll became popular right behind the studio doors. And Elvis was the spark that lit the fire! Also, Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis, and a whole lot of other performers have gotten their start from Sam Phillips.


6. “The Wall of Love” around Graceland. On this wall are written the most eulogizing words about Elvis – all out of respect and love by his innumerable fans. Examples: “I miss you Elvis, and I still love you.” “Elvis – a man is never dead until his memory dies; he will remain immortal in our hearts.” “No stage will ever shine so bright, no voice will ever sing and bring the joy you brought, you’ll always be the King.” “Elvis – a god among men.”


7. A page out of the 3-album Pilgrimage of Graceland collection from the summer of 1978.


8. In front of Graceland, home of Elvis. “Keep Out” sign is posted on yellow nylon rope. Two white marble lions guard the four-pillared stone mansion of antebellum design.


9. Author of “In Search of Elvis” book with son at Graceland. The book was never published.


10. In front of Graceland gates, made from white cast iron and painted with green trimmings; includes Elvis-with-guitar figures and musical notes; the two halves of the gate swing inward and form a symmetrical whole.


11. My son in front of the fountain in the Meditation Garden.


12. Elvis Presley’s burial site with cross (at northern head), which has a smiling picture of Elvis and three red roses on it, and with Vernon’s eulogy on the tombstone. The eulogy begins with the words: “He was a precious gift from God we cherished and loved dearly.” It ends with the words: “We miss you, Son (from Vernon) and Daddy (from Lisa Marie). I thank God that he gave us you as our son.” Note: Elvis’ middle name is spelled Aaron, the biblical way, instead of Aron, the way it appears on most documents. Born January 8, 1935. Died August 16, 1977. Age 42. Tombstone inscription is cast in a 400-pound granite slab which covers the grave of Elvis. Vernon Presley received the inspiration to write the eulogy one morning at dawn when he was awakened by the bright rays of the sun streaming through his window. The words came to him in a rush from his subconscious mind. What he wrote seems to be a beautiful example of automatic writing.


13. He was a precious gift from God
We cherished and loved dearly.
He had a God-given talent that he shared
With the world. And without a doubt,
He became most widely acclaimed;
Capturing the hearts of young and old alike.
He was admired not only as an entertainer,
But as the great humanitarian that he was;
For his generosity, and his kind feelings
For his fellow man.
He revolutionized the field of music and
Received its highest awards.
He became a living legend in his own time;
Earning the respect and love of millions.
God saw that he needed some rest and
Called him home to be with Him.
We miss you, Son and Daddy. I thank God
That he gave us you as our son.


14. Floral ornaments surrounding Elvis’ burial site: blue arrangement with famous T.C.B. insignia and lightning bolt (meaning “Taking Care of Business in a flash”); biblical one with page of Psalms 23 – “The Lord is my Shepherd;” heart with red roses; guitar with orange and white roses; cross with red roses. These arrangements seemed to be permanently placed because they were plastic, and not real.


15. Ten-foot Presley tombstone, Cross, risen Christ and two angels. It was originally placed at Forest Hill Cemetery Mid-Town. Symbolical heart is placed on chest; hands outstretched as if to say: “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest.” Two angels, symbolical of angels present at Christ’s resurrection; acronym HIS means “In His Service.” The entire tombstone is made of white marble. Statue to right of Presley tombstone is a white marble statue of Mercury, the messenger of Zeus (Jupiter), in a Roman outfit, with winged sandals, a winged low-crowned hat, and other accoutrements of the graceful and swift-of-motion god.