Lana Del Rey & Others Played the 1st Live Show at Graceland

Elvis Presley's granddaughter unlocked the gates of Graceland last week to allow some of her favorite artists to unchain the melodies for the first time ever at the most famous home in Memphis.

Lana Del Rey, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Post Malone and others performed at Elvis' house to honor The King and celebrate the holidays in the show titled "Christmas at Graceland."

And best of all, it was televised live on free TV, NBC.

Let's start with Lana Del Rey, who only performed 17 times in 2023 for American audiences, and, no, this one doesn't count because it was a private event, literally made for TV.

Who doesn't love the Brooklyn Baby who misses Long Beach and claims to taste like Pepsi? Yours truly is a giant fan who asked in October Does Lana Del Rey Really Love Touring? It's ok if she doesn't. Miley swore it off this year despite having one of the biggest hits in her career and recently performed at an equally exclusive venue for just family and friends.

So it brought great joy to her fans that she would be back in the land of Waffle Houses, wearing a vintage dress and performing in Graceland's Jungle Room.

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Despite her casual, stoney, dreamy, laid-back vocal style, Lana has a punk rock heart, so it was not that surprising that instead of doing an Elvis cover like everyone else on the program, she performed a song The King covered and recorded just a few months before his untimely death.

But many know it as the song being played during the romantic pottery scene between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in the 1990 film, Ghost.

Lana, who recently received five Grammy nominations for her LP, Did You Know That There's A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, said her version of the tune made famous by the Righteous Brothers, was influenced by Elvis' performance of it in Rapid City, South Dakota in 1977.

At that show Presley performed it as a double-dose of romance to end the night which concluded with "Can't Help Falling In Love." Five days later would be his final performance.

Speaking of punk rock, Post Malone, dressed exactly like a rock star in a tight leopard print suit outside, next to the Graceland swimming pool.

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Before he jumped into the kidney-shaped pool, guitar and all, Posty performed "(You're The) Devil In Disguise," which was a hit for the Elvis and the Jordanaires - though not initially for one John Lennon, who on the UK tv show said the song was a "miss" because it made Presley give Bing Crosby vibes.

British fans disagreed and the tune went to #1 there, as it did in France, Ireland, Sweden and Canada.

Fun fact: Elvis never sang the song live.

The War and Treaty are the husband-and-wife duo of Michael Jr. and Tanya Trotter who earned two Grammy award nominations last month, including one for Best New Artist.

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They sang the uplifting Elvis hit, "If I Can Dream" which Presley commissioned shortly after Martin Luther King was assassinated, which was inspired by the civil rights leader's "I Have A Dream" speech.

Elvis live debuted the tune as the finale of his '68 Comeback Special. His manager Col. Tom Parker did not think the song was fit for the King, but Elvis stood his ground and performed and recorded it.

“In our wildest dreams, we never imagined that we would find ourselves standing on the hallowed grounds of Elvis’ estate, let alone performing the very song that altered the course of his career,” The War and Treaty told American Songwriter. “It is a surreal and humbling experience to be a part of Elvis’ dream, to champion the causes he fought for, even in the face of adversity."

John Legend also chose a non-Elvis song, this one a political flavored Christmas tune the King never performed or recorded.

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The handsome pianist, surrounded by candles, the Harlem Community Choir, and a string section, belted out John Lennon's “Happy Christmas (War Is Over),” which sure seemed like a nod to the tragic fighting happening in the Middle East.

Legend never said anything such thing, instead opting to say how grateful he was to be at the Presley estate, now owned by Riley Keough, Elvis' granddaughter, and playing on the superstar's piano.

When the dapper Legend ended the song with the haunting lyric, "so this is Christmas and what have we done," the spirit of Lennon's anti-war message was heard clearly.

Kacey Musgraves, concluded the hour-long special with the song Elvis performed the most in his 22-year career, "Can't Help Falling in Love."

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The ballad made its live debut at the '68 Comeback Special, which was also aired on NBC. A whopping 42% of American households with televisions watched it.

Originally recorded in 1961 for the film Blue Hawaii, it's been covered by artists from UB40 to Miley Cyrus.

Musgraves, with snowflake-shaped diamond earrings, and a long white feather dress, delivered a simple, yet beautiful version of the song while on the porch of the home as images of Presley and his family were projected on the facade of the two-story residence.

The special is available for streaming for those who subscribe to Peacock or pay for cable TV. There will also be an encore presentation on NBC on December 21 at 8 p.m.

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Last updated: 28 Feb 2024, 16:19 Etc/UTC