John Lennon famously said, "Before Elvis, there was nothing." But after Elvis, innumerable objects owned by or otherwise connected to the late King of Rock and Roll -- who recorded his debut single, "That's All Right," 60 years ago this July -- have come to rest at his Memphis mansion Graceland, which is still one of America's most popular tourist destinations.
Photo by Chris Gray Kevin Kern, Graceland's Director of Communications, in the Continental Club's backyard
Typically Graceland will reorganize its Elvis memorabilia to create a different exhibit each year. For 2014, reasonably enough, the theme is "60 Years of Elvis," featuring more than 200 artifacts like stagewear, musical instruments and plenty of the King's awards hardware. To drum up interest, Elvis Presley Enterprises sends representatives bearing a few items on media tours through key markets, many of them conveniently located within driving distance of Memphis. Charged with keeping Elvis' stuff safe through his Texas swing this past week was Graceland's Director of Communications, Kevin Kern.
"Elvis has a tremendous history with Houston in terms of performing at the Astrodome, and breaking some attendance records there," says Kern, a former TV reporter who has worked for Graceland for about ten years. "It's a very important market for us."