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My visit to Graceland, Beale Street – Memphis, TN
By Ida Ritter
I went to Memphis in July 2013 and of course the first thing we did was visit Graceland with my friend that was so happy to be able to see it for the first time, we took the
VIP tour as we wanted to visit everything,  To be truthful this tour included to see the back of the house and the trailers that supposedly were used by some of Elvis’
bodyguards but I was surprised to find out that we did not get to see anything, all they did was tour us in the bus and that was it, for that, the tour cost $70.00 each which
I did not think was worth it because the most interesting things were already in the less expensive tour price.  But aside from all this, was so beautiful to see Elvis’ house
again, the addition of new exhibits, like his clothes, the racket ball court, the horses, and finally his resting place where he is together with his mother and father.  It was
so nice to be there one more time, and as every time I went I could feel his presence somewhere and you get the impression that at any moment he will come down
those stairs to salute you.

We also visited the
Hard Rock Café with a lot of Elvis memorabilia and pictures everywhere, a very nice tribute to the King. But most of all I would like to comment on the
fact that walking through Beale Street which was already closed on both sides to make it easier for everybody to walk through, and visiting the stores, and some of the
launches and bars, I did not hear one Elvis song, You could hear music coming from everywhere of those bars and open terraces but no Elvis music.  

We went to the B B King restaurant and bar and there was the only place where we heard a live band playing all kinds of music, it must have been about 4p.m. and the
band was supposed to play until 6p.m. when another band came in for the rest of the evening, they played lots of Elvis songs and they even took some requests from the
public, the place was full, but when the other band came in everything changed, blues only.  I or we understand that Beale Street are mostly blues, but my question is:  
no Elvis at all?

Just because this is the way I am, on that day that was the last day of our 4 day stay, I questioned some people standing outside of the bars calling people in for a drink
or food, and I asked him:  
Why we do not hear any Elvis songs or music?  He answered:  ''Why?  Because he (Elvis) never came down to Beale Street'', at which I
responded:  
''What do you mean, he never walked through here because his fans and the people never let him, he was always followed everywhere and that made it
impossible for him to move around freely and safely but he attended his fans all the time at the doors and fences of his house I said''.
To this I would like to add that the
man was not a young one that will make you think that he did not know Elvis history but that will be hard to believe because this is Memphis the place that Elvis made his
own.

At another terrace which was a bar and restaurant, which was very nice. We entered to have something to eat and drink and we send a request for an Elvis song with the
girl that was our waitress, she came back saying they did not know the song, I went there and talked to one of the band players and he said the same,
''Elvis never came
down this road''
, this time I went further and told him or them:  ''This is very sad I said because this town is well know in US and around the world precisely because of
Elvis, he loved this town, he bought a house here for his mother and made it a sanctuary for the rest of his life, the street surrounding his house has his name Elvis
Presley Boulevard.  He died here,  It is very ashamed that he gets very little recognition in this town and respect to his memory, and I also added this:  When Elvis week
comes around I said, this town comes more to life because most of the people that comes from all over the world comes to see the land and the house of the King and to
pay their respects''.
 I would like to add that this was a much older man.

The other times I went to Memphis where much closer to Elvis week and of course I saw and heard so much more of Elvis, but still not a lot of his music or songs,  more
memorabilia was sold also closer to Elvis week, I never went for Elvis week because I particularly do not like the big multitudes of people and enjoy it better when you
could walk more freely and safe.  But the last thing I would like to say is that the impression is the same, the people of Beale Street do not think they owe anything to
Elvis, what about telling them that if it was not because of Elvis maybe Memphis will not be so well known, very sad.

Other than those disappointments we enjoy our visit to the last minute, we visited museums and stores and in all we have a great time but needed to talk about this and
send you this writing.

After reading Ida Ritter's revealing trip report regarding certain opinions on Elvis by Beale Street dwellers, one of Elvis' long time friends, Marty Lacker wanted to write in to
have his say on the matter...Marty Lacker writes.
"I read Ida Ritter's interview and in regards to Beale Street tell her the next time someone there says Elvis didn't come to
Beale Street she should tell them he was there many times when Beale was the original Beale Street that also included the black owned night clubs like Club Handy and
Sunshine Mitchell's club. Elvis used to go down there and listen to all the old blues singers and bands and was greatly influenced by them. In addition he did his clothes
shopping at Lansky's on Beale where most of the black guys shopped.  Tell her to tell those guys that if they're gonna work there and represent Beale and it's history they
should get better informed."