Upon entering Elvis Presley‘s Graceland home, one of the most stunning visuals is turning to the right, standing at the doorway to the living room, and looking deep into the music room. Something about those two rooms gives Presley fans a deep insight into how he lived and enjoyed his private time at the home. One of the most striking elements of the music room is its pristine white piano. That instrument was important to Presley’s legacy and has a mythic story.

The real reason Elvis Presley’s Music Room piano is so essential to his legacy

An official YouTube video hosted by Graceland’s VP of Archives and Exhibits, Angie Marchese, focused on the piano’s history and why it is important to the King of Rock and Roll’s legacy. The piano has become an integral part of Elvis Presley’s Graceland home.

The entertainer first purchased the white 1912 Knabe baby grand piano for Graceland in 1957. Elvis designed the one-of-a-kind bench that complements the gold detailing.

“It was the piano at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis. In the ’30s and ’40s, it was played by everyone from Duke Ellington to Cab Calloway to WC Handy,” Marchese began. “And when Elvis was a kid, he would go to the Ellis Auditorium to the Gospel sings. This piano was used by many of his favorite Gospel quartets; so many people played this piano.”

Presley was aware of the piano’s importance in his personal history when it went up for sale; Ellis Auditorium housed Elvis’ first sold-out shows in 1955

“When Elvis buys Graceland, he hears the piano is for sale because they are remodeling Ellis Auditorium,” Marchese explains. “It was a natural fit. He paid $800 for it and had it brought to Graceland to sit in the music room.”

It was in the music room where Presley spent many happy hours playing the keys. “Elvis loved playing the piano. He loved entertaining friends and family. He played everything from gospel to country to his latest hits and whatever came to mind,” Marchese concluded.

Why wasn’t the piano at Graceland for many years?

Graceland reports that after 11 years in a prominent position within the home, Elvis Presley’s Knabe piano was placed in storage. There it remained from 1968 to 1976 when it was sold to Ted Sturges, owner of the Sturges Recording Studio in Memphis.

The piano was subsequently used to record 50 albums by various artists at Sturges recording studio. Sturges later sold the instrument, which changed hands several times before returning to its former Graceland home in 2017.

Presley’s beloved piano was one of several original furnishings that returned home to Graceland for good in 2017.

In 1977, Elvis Presley’s body lay in state just outside the music room

Elvis Presley fans gathered outside of Graceland in August 1977 after his death.
Elvis Presley fans gathered outside of Graceland in August 1977 after his death | Fred Ross/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Elvis Presley died in August 1977. His body was returned home to his beloved Graceland one last time where it lay in state.

Presley’s funeral was originally to be held at Memphis Funeral Home. However, his father, Vernon Presley, wanted the service at Graceland.

The King of Rock and Roll’s open coffin was placed in the archway between the living and music rooms. It was there that over 200 of Presley’s family members and friends were allowed to say their goodbyes before Vernon allowed fans in for a public viewing.

Upwards of 25,000 fans filed past to pay their respects to Presley on Aug. 17, 1977. Vernon reportedly extended the period for fans to enter the home so as many as possible could say farewell.

In 1991, Elvis Presley’s Graceland was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2006, the home was also designated a National Historic Landmark.





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