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MOVING GRACELAND WOULD DESECRATE ELVIS' LEGACY
Money, of course, was the reason relocating Presley’s mansion to Japan was even considered,
but the King’s home should be protected


It sits on a busy boulevard eight miles from Memphis, Tennessee: a peculiar mansion bought by an excitable 22-year-old singer in 1957. He had fallen in love with the blues on
Beale Street, cut his first records in the city’s Sun Studios; he would later make three albums with the city in his name. Elvis Presley left Graceland for the last time in 1977 – he is
even buried in the garden.

I visited Graceland on my musical honeymoon through the US eight years ago. The place was his life. Would it be so if it moved to another country?

“We had an offer 10 days ago to move Graceland to Japan,” Joel Weinshanker, managing director of Elvis Presley Enterprises, said this week. “We had two offers to move to the
Middle East and one [to move] to China.” Why did they even consider it? “They offered us more profit than we could ever make in Memphis.”

Cultural icons have been uprooted before, of course: take London Bridge’s move to Arizona. But relocating a musician’s whole life and legacy feels unseemly.

Walking around Presley’s unexpectedly humble eight-bedroom house is a lesson in how much fame has changed when you compare it with the mega-mansions of today’s
superstars. When it was built, the house was relatively remote.And there is something in that riverside city that still feels uncommodified, connected to the heart of the music.

Over time, a busy boulevard has exploded around Graceland (diners and other museums now line the freeway) – showing just how cultural figures can transform, and be exploited
by, geography. A move to Japan or elsewhere would have taken this journey to its furthest conclusion, of course, but one boggles at what would have happened to Presley’s grave.

This legacy of Memphis in song is of a place which shores up hope. It’s in songs such as Walking in Memphis, which follows Elvis’s ghost through Graceland’s gates. It’s in Paul
Simon’s Graceland itself, written after the breakdown of his marriage to Carrie Fisher, making the lyrical protagonist feel “obliged to defend / Every love, every ending”.

Graceland is staying put for the time being, although that’s because of money again – local tax incentives are being offered on a $100m expansion. Amid the money madness, let’s
remember the small-town boy who lived as he died, with the music in his soul..

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Originating Source - The Guardian