The key figures in opening Graceland to the public recently sat down with the Associated Press to talk about preserving the legacy of the King of Rock 'n' Roll. In an exclusive interview, Priscilla Presley and Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. CEO Jack Soden talked about opening Graceland to the public and the success they've seen since the first day in 1982.
"I'm blown away by the mere fact that it's 30 years," said Priscilla Presley. "It's been incredible to see that the legacy of Elvis is still going strong. Elvis is as popular now as he was then, if not even more."
When Graceland opened on June 7, 1982, no one knew what to expect. But, they sold out over 3,000 tickets on the first day and never looked back.
"We had no idea whether 30 people were coming, or 300, or 3,000 that first day. Fortunately, it was the latter," said Soden.
The home of the king continues to be a rock 'n' roll mecca for Elvis fans, music lovers, celebrities, and political leaders. Over 500,000 guests come to Graceland each year and the home of the king will welcome its 18 millionth guest soon. Priscilla tells the AP that the spirit of Elvis, not just his music history, is what keeps fans coming back to Graceland.
"Every time I go in there, I feel like Elvis is going to come down the stairs any minute," said Priscilla. "I have no doubt that he's there, somewhere, his spirit. I think people feel that."