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Elvis Presley Memorabilia Goes On Display At New Exhibit

posted 7 May 2013, 14:12 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 7 May 2013, 14:14 ]

Elvis Presley's rhinestone cape and diamond and sapphire studded belt are part of two new exhibits at the King of Rock and Roll's Memphis home, Graceland.

HONOLULUHAWAIIUNITED STATES  (ELVIS PRESLEY) -  Elvis Presley is celebrating another anniversary this year. 40 years ago, on January 14, 1973 Elvis performed the first televised satellite concert from Honolulu,Hawaii. Graceland, Presley's family home and now museum, has put together an exhibit that highlights singer's relationship with Hawaii and displays some iconic memorabilia from his historic performance.

"Elvis was the shot heard around the world in terms of the music revolution. It started with Elvis Presley, there was a ground swelling of sorts in the 50s but Elvis really was the first out of the gate and he really broke a lot of barriers and that's why they call him the King of Rock and Roll," said Kevin Kern, the Director of Public Relations at Graceland. "He was shot from the waist up after his initial television appearance, he was banned on some radio stations and there were petitions to not allow him to perform in certain cities in the U.S. because he was considered vulgar. And then today, what he did back then would be considered mild by modern day standards. But he truly was a revolutionary. Elvis kind of believed in the philosophy of lead, don't follow."

At the "Aloha from Hawaii" concert Elvis wore a white jumpsuit studded with red and blue rhinestones as well as a large white cape with a rhinestone eagle on the back. Presley famously threw the cape in to the audience at the end of the performance but it returned to the Presley estate in recent years after a collector gifted the cape back to Graceland in his will. The "Aloha from Hawaii" exhibit also features the gold lame jacket he wore at his first concert in Hawaii in 1957.

Graceland also put together an exhibit recognizing Presley's relationship with Las Vegas. The exhibit includes part of the 30 foot marquee that stood outside the New Frontier Hotel in 1957 and the first jumpsuit worn on stage by Elvis in 1970. Also on display is the Gretsch guitar that was used in a series of concerts at theInternational Hotel in Las Vegas in 1969.

Perhaps one of the most eye-catching items on display is the International Belt, awarded to Presley for breaking all pre-existing attendance records in Las Vegas. The belt is cast in silver, gold plated and studded with diamonds, sapphires and rubies. It was made even more recognizable when Presley wore it to meet President Richard Nixon in 1970.

The exhibits are part of the ever rotating displays of memorabilia associated with the King at Graceland and will run through early 2015.