USA holidays: Elvis Presley sightseeing in Memphis, Tennessee

Zoey Goto explores the city that made a legend out of Elvis Presley

Memphis is the city that introduced young Elvis Presley to African American music – via the bustling juke joints of Beale Street and buoyant gospel church services – which he then blended with country music to create the trailblazing sound of rock and roll in the mid-50s.

It’s also the city that lifted Elvis from rags to riches, upgrading his low-income housing to a palatial Graceland mansion in just a few short, sweet years. Memphis made Elvis, and he repaid it by faithfully staying rooted to the city for his entire adult life.

I am here in Elvis’ hometown to celebrate what would have been his 85th birthday and to try to understand why his appeal is still so great that Graceland remains the second most visited private home in the United States, pipped to the post only by The White House.

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