Britain will get personal insight into the life of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, through the largest Elvis retrospective ever mounted in Europe, Elvis at The O2: The Exhibition of His Life. Opening at The O2, London on December 12, the nine month exhibition will showcase over 300 artifacts direct from the Presley family’s treasured Graceland Archives, some of which have never been exhibited outside of Graceland in Memphis. Tickets go on sale for the general public at 9:00 a.m. London time on Friday, November 7, with a pre-sale for Official Elvis Presley Fan Clubs and Graceland Insiders starting at 9:00 a.m. London time on Thursday, November 6.
Elvis at The O2: The Exhibition of His Life chronicles the rise of the rock ‘n’ roll icon and how Elvis impacted popular culture around the world through his music, movies and personal style. From his humble beginnings to his meteoric rise to fame, the exhibition will explore Elvis mania that first swept America and then the world, ground-breaking recording sessions, record-breaking concert tours, his military service, Hollywood film career and influence on fashion. Most importantly, visitors will get an intimate peek behind the gates of Graceland and come to know the man hailed as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, who strived to be the best possible, father, son and friend.
Priscilla Presley comments, “Elvis meant so much to me and our daughter Lisa, but we both know that our family truly shares him with the world. His legacy lives on today, not only through his music, but by those who share in the love and admiration of what he contributed to the world of entertainment. While each and every item contains a lifetime of memories, we are more than happy to allow these treasured memories to leave Graceland, if only for a short time, so that his fans and the curious can learn about who he was as an artist, and understand what he was really like at home, by seeing the things that he surrounded himself with.”
Graceland’s Director of Archives, Angie Marchese, comments, "This is not a collection amassed from auctions; they are personal items from Graceland, where Elvis lived most of his life. The exhibition will tell the story of a music revolution that began when Elvis first stepped into a recording studio in 1954 and the lasting impact of his incredible legacy. Elvis Presley is the greatest of all music icons and these artefacts are the symbols of the man and the music that changed popular culture forever. As John Lennon said, ‘Before Elvis, there was nothing.’"
Over 300 artifacts presented in Elvis at The O2: The Exhibition of His Life will include automobiles, personal items, historical documents, iconic stage costumes, guitars, gold and platinum records, and photography, in addition to dazzling audio and video presentations. Even the famous pool table Elvis played on with The Beatles will be on display.
Specific items leaving Memphis for the first of its kind London exhibition include:
- TCB” (Taking Care of Business) ring, 16 total karats with a centre solitaire of 11.5 karats
- American Eagle jumpsuit from "Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii"
- Red 1960 MG Roadster from the film "Blue Hawaii"
- Elvis’ personal wallet containing photos of a young Lisa Marie Presley
- Elvis’ personal keys to Graceland
Some artifacts will only be on display for a limited period of time during the nine month run, giving the exhibition narrative a fresh and exciting story worth seeing on multiple occasions. Artifacts scheduled to be on display for a limited period of time over the course of the exhibition include:
- American Eagle jumpsuit from Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii
- 1955 Pink Cadillac Fleetwood used for touring and eventually given to his mother
- Elvis’ gold lame? outfit worn on stage in 1957
- Black leather suit from the "1968 Comeback Special"
Angie adds, “These artifacts represent the most intimate picture ever seen in public of Elvis’ journey from teen idol to movie star to rock icon. They are at the core of his work and his life and are the symbols of a social phenomenon that is recognised across the generations like no other.”
Exhibition coordinator Nic Wastell says, “What we will be presenting is as much of Graceland as will fit into The O2. There has never been anything like this for Elvis before. No exhibition mounted previously has ever been so revealing of the man and the star. For people who can’t get to Graceland, Graceland is coming to them.”
As a companion to Elvis at The O2: The Exhibition of His Life, the largest Elvis-themed retail outlet ever assembled in Europe will serve as a marketplace for a large variety of Elvis and Graceland merchandise, including a broad selection of Elvis Presley CD's and box sets from RCA/Legacy Recordings, including an exclusive Limited Edition 2-CD keepsake collection, "The Music From Elvis At The O2," made specifically for this Exhibition and only available with ticket purchase or at the O2 Exhibition retail outlet.