My recent trip to Graceland put Elvis Presley, or more properly what I call the "cult of Elvis" at the forefront of my mind once again. It never wanders far, lurking in my subconscious as it does, simply waiting for a proper triggering event. Graceland certainly qualified.
Go ahead and play "Elvis is Everywhere" by Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper in the background and get into the proper mood. This time I concentrated my efforts outside of the United States in a true Elvis is Everywhere spirit. He turned up in interesting places, both historically expected and locationally inexplicable through the actions of his acolytes.
Graceland Randers, Denmark
An event hall in Randers, Denmark recreated the form of Graceland and even named itself Graceland Randers. In addition to hosting Elvis-inspired weddings and sponsoring meetings of the Official Danish Elvis Presley Fan Club, Graceland Randers offered an Elvis museum and an Americana-inspired diner called Highway 51 (the actual Highway 51 is known as Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis and runs directly past Graceland).
I’d include photographs, however Graceland Randers hadn’t been around long enough to generate anything with Creative Common licenses yet. Even Street View showed it as an empty lot. I did find a nice copyright protected photograph that showed Graceland Randers’ decent albeit incomplete rendition of the real deal.
Capri Club 2009 – the army home of Elvis Presley by Barbara Müller-Walter, on Flickr
via Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) license
Ray Barracks, an American military facility, used to exist at Friedberg, Germany until it was decommissioned in 2007 and returned to German control. Elvis Presley served in the US Army as a draftee and was assigned to the 3rd Armored Division at Ray Barracks. He lived at the barracks for an 18-month period during 1958-1960. Friedberg legitimately claimed a connection to Presley. It made sense for the town to erect a monument in a roundabout outside of the former barracks gates (map).
There were several other Elvis-inspired locations I managed to find elsewhere in Germany, including:
- Elvis-Presley-Straße, Hochstadt, Germany
- Elvis-Presley-Straße, Eschenbach, Germany
- Elvis-Presley-Weg, Oberursel, Germany
I imagine that Elvis’ German tour of duty likely contributed to the proliferation.
Neve Ilan, Israel
Burma Road 024 by Alex Jilitsky, on Flickr
via Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license
Uri Yoeli constructed the Elvis Inn in Neve Ilan, Israel (map) even though Elvis never stopped there. Rather it sprang from the owner’s devotion. It has been described as "a cafe and souvenir shop off the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway that’s more like a shrine."
Mixed in with the menorahs and Hebrew T-shirts are 728 pictures of Elvis Presley that cover every wall, the ceiling and four brick pillars supporting the roof. Young Elvis, old Elvis, fat Elvis, slim Elvis, white-jumpsuit Elvis, Army Elvis, Elvis and Priscilla, and Elvis wearing a cowboy hat in the middle of a framed Confederate flag. Even the napkins say Elvis.
Trip Advisor gave it mixed reviews.
View Larger Map
This one took some digging. I’d noticed references to a rock ‘n’ roll museum in the Harajuku district of Tokyo, and its Love Me Tender Elvis store, Get Back Beatles store and Gimme Shelter Rolling Stones store. Then it closed suddenly in 2009. There was speculation about where or whether its iconic Elvis Presley statue would reappear.
Later sources referenced Kobe Harborland, but where? Thank goodness this large cluster of malls and shops included an online guide with a decent map, even if mostly in Japanese. Transposing between the the Harborland reference and Google Maps allowed me to approximate the location in Street View, and I finally spot Elvis’ current whereabouts. Elvis left the building and reappeared in Kobe.
Waymarking includes an entire Elvis Category. I had fun searching for Elvis around the world. I even used it to find a replica Hollywood Boulevard star for Elvis at a hamburger joint in São Paulo, Brazil (map). I’ll also note that an Ancient Roman Elvis bust was discovered not too long ago and sold at auction.
Elvis is, and truly was, everywhere even before his "birth." And of course we all know he never died.