Elvis Presley’s family, friends, and fans gathered at Graceland on Sunday morning to commemorate the rock icon’s 88th birthday.
The annual event, led by Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, included an Elvis Presley birthday proclamation from the city of Memphis, Tennessee, as well as a ceremonial cake cutting.
The event drew an unusually large crowd of Presley fans – clearly boosted by the success of the 2022 Baz Luhrmann biopic “Elvis” – to Graceland’s front lawn for the 30-minute ceremony.
Jack Soden, CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises, greeted the guests. “I can speak with some authority because I’ve been here every year for a long time,” he said. “This is without a doubt the largest crowd we’ve ever had. You’ve come from all over the world… and we appreciate your presence.”
Elvis Presley Enterprises managing partner Joel Weinshanker spoke after brief appearances by Alton Mason, who played Little Richard in Baz Luhrmann’s film, and Presley’s longtime TCB band pianist Glen D. Hardin.
‘Elvis’ is a tasty but overstuffed fried peanut butter and banana sandwich of a film.
Weinshanker noted that one of Presley’s career ambitions “was to be in an amazing movie, with an amazing director, and be part of an amazing film. And I believe we accomplished that for him this year.”
He went on to say that Graceland was “probably the most famous house in the world, and there is only one person whose house it is,” introducing Lisa Marie Presley.
Lisa Marie, dressed in a long black coat and sunglasses, was greeted warmly by the audience. “Thank you very much. It’s been a long time. I was missing you. I keep telling you that you are the only people who can get me out of my house. “I’m not kidding,” she said, prompting exclamations of “We love you, Lisa Marie!”
“I love you back, which is why I’m here. It’s difficult to believe that (Elvis) would have been 88 years old today. I believe he would be pleased. This has been a fantastic year. “I’m very proud of the film, and I hope you are as well,” Lisa Marie said. “But it’s just so moving how you come from all over the world every year. It means a lot to me and my family… so thank you.”
Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Enterprises officials then unveiled a “Aloha from Hawaii”-themed cake – the famed 1973 satellite concert event that is celebrating its 50th anniversary – as the audience sang “Happy Birthday” to end the festivities.
On Sunday, Graceland officially opened the doors to “The Making of Elvis,” a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Luhrmann’s film, which packs props, drawings, annotated scripts, 18 character costumes, and other items into a 3,000-square-foot space. The exhibit will currently be on display until Labor Day.