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July 01,  2017   -    EIN  /  Commercial Appeal  /  Elvis Express Radio
If Elvis is fading you wouldn't know it by the numbers: The Memphis Commercial Appeal has posted an article conteracting the recent UK Guardian's attack on Elvis' popularity.
The article includes...

Memphis tourism has ticked higher this year, a reflection of the new exhibits at Graceland, low gasoline prices and the sheer curiosity of visitors eager to touch
the music and times of 20th-century America.

British newspapers say the value of Elvis collectibles has been declining, though Australian, British and New Zealand visitors have trooped through Sun Studio and Graceland all
spring, part of a general increase in Memphis tourism.

Graceland completed $137 million worth of expansions in March, hotel occupancy rates are up citywide, the
Stax Museum of American Soul Music opens seven days a week,
and visits to the
National Civil Rights Museum, a 26-year-old institution renovated in 2014, have climbed to a near double-digit increase this spring.

“It’s every year, just growing and growing,” said Nina Jones, operations manager at Sun Studio, which figures to attract about
200,000 visitors this year.

For many people in Memphis, and around the world, Elvis Presley typified the genuine nature of Memphis musicians.
EPE will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the entertainer’s death, beginning Aug. 11 at Graceland, the mansion in Memphis he acquired in 1957.

No one doubts the Elvis Week crowd will exceed the 30,000 to 40,000 who typically throng the 14-acre Graceland complex on the anniversary of his death on Aug.
16, 1977
. Graceland has just completed a $137 million expansion. In March, larger exhibit facilities were added to the Guesthouse at Graceland, the 450-room luxury hotel finished
in 2016.

Peak Elvis?
Exactly why the global image of Elvis as an American icon endures is open to debate
, but every so often it’s said interest in him has begun to fade. Last month the idea
The UK Guardian reported an auction house in the West Midlands found values of Elvis memorabilia dropping by half, and noted music catalogs showed the price plummeting on
rare Elvis recordings, including "Good Rockin’ Tonight."

“The truth is, with many Elvis fans and collectors well into their 70s and 80s,” the Guardian opined, “… there simply aren’t enough collectors left.”
Fans contend interest in Elvis hasn’t worn away. Rather, they say, collectors at the leading edge of the baby boom have flooded markets with their Elvis
possessions, driving down prices.

While the Guardian may be accurate, it is not certain fewer collectors translates into fewer Memphis tourists.

Few dead celebrities have been persistently publicized as long as Presley has. “Since his death the stream of printed material on the life, death and myth of Elvis
Presley has been continuous,”
writes George Plasketes in the 1997 book “Images of Elvis Presley in American Culture.”

Because American popular culture became a global phenomenon not long after Presley acquired Graceland, it’s probably safe to guess several billion people on earth know his
name. For decades it was said Coca-Cola and Elvis were the two products known worldwide as uniquely American.

Does that mean Elvis tourists will always stream to Memphis? No.
It does suggest ELVIS will not quickly fade from common memory the way we no longer know the name of, say, Colleen Moore, the once-famous silent film actress who ushered in
the 1920s bob hairdo.

Go here to the
Memphis Commercial Appeal for the full article

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