Wish Elvis Happy Birthday in Memphis
Think back to your last birthday. How many people showed up to party? How long did the celebration rage on? How many symphonies, giant cakes and official proclamations of your day were involved?
Welcome to birthday party-planning – Elvis-style.
January 8, 2013 would be Elvis’ 78th birthday. And as with all things Elvis, the party promises to be larger than life, spanning Jan. 5-8 in a crescendo of events across Memphis. Here are my best bets:
Opening of Elvis’ Hawaii: Movies, Concerts and More! (Jan. 5): One of two new exhibits scheduled to open at Graceland in 2013, Elvis’ Hawaii commemorates the 40th anniversary of Aloha from Hawaii, Presley’s Honolulu concert (its worldwide broadcast in January 1973 – to an estimated one billion viewers – is considered the most-watched program featuring an individual entertainer in television history). The exhibit reveals previously unreleased footage of Elvis’ first concert and travels to the islands (in 1957); attire he wore during his Hawaiian concerts – from the gold lamé jacket worn during his first concert there to the American Eagle jumpsuits seen in Aloha from Hawaii; movie memorabilia from Blue Hawaii and Paradise, Hawaiian Style and more.
Memphis Symphony Orchestra presents Aloha Elvis! (Jan. 5): At downtown Memphis’ Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra will re-stage Aloha from Hawaii with Terry Mike Jeffrey, an Emmy-nominated songwriter whose Raised on Elvis recordings pay tribute to the King’s hits and feature former Presley band members including D.J. Fontana and The Jordanaires.
D&N’s and Elvis Meetup’s Gospel Tribute to Elvis (Jan. 7): Gather at the gates of Graceland just before midnight to join these fan clubs in an annual tradition: a gospel sing-along capped with a chorus of “Happy Birthday” to Elvis. Bonus: My friend Memphis Jones will be hanging out at Graceland on the 7th – he’ll be emceeing and sharing his crazy-contagious passion for Elvis and Memphis music. You do NOT want to miss him.
Elvis Presley Day Ceremony (Jan. 8): The celebration begins at 9:30 a.m. with a cake-cutting and proclamation of Elvis Presley Day by local officials. This event is not only free to attend – it includes complimentary birthday cake and coffee and is followed by live Elvis tunes performed by Brad Birkedahl (10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Graceland Ticket Pavilion).
Free walk-ups to the Meditation Garden at Graceland: Though ticketed admission to Graceland always includes access to the Meditation Garden, the estate offers free walk-up hours for visitors wishing to visit the garden only. Visit for free 7:30-8:30 a.m. daily or nightly 6-8 p.m. (Jan. 5, 7-8). The Meditation Garden at Graceland holds the graves of Elvis, his grandmother, mother and father, as well as a memorial gravestone for his twin brother.
Tours of Graceland, exclusive events for Elvis Insiders and more will keep the party going. View the full schedule, details and ticketing information (where it applies) here. Now tell me: How will you wish happy birthday to the King?