As Elvis Week 2015 kicks into gear this week in Memphis, Tennessee, Elvis Presley’s original hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi, wasn’t to be left out of the action. The town unveiled two brand new statues of The King overlooking the singer’s iconic birthplace (a two room, shotgun shack that has been preserved).
Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935, to Vernon and Gladys Presley. Elvis was actually born a twin, though his identical twin brother Jesse Garon was stillborn 35 minutes before Elvis came into the world. The Presley family lived in Tupelo until November 1948, when the family and 13 year old Elvis packed up their things to move north to Memphis, Tennessee.
Though his adopted hometown of Memphis has been most closely associated with Elvis over the years, Presley never forgot his original hometown of Tupelo. After achieving stardom originally at Sun Records, Presley returned for a concert in Tupelo in 1955. However, after signing with RCA and exploding on the scene in 1956, it was Elvis’ 1956 homecoming return to Tupelo that stands out in fans’ minds. Elvis gave two iconic concerts at the Tupelo Fairgrounds on September 26, 1956 in a shirt handmade by his mother Gladys, and the concert is the source of some of the most iconic photos of Elvis ever taken.
Presley returned for a concert in his hometown only once more, in September 1957, though the love for his hometown of never waned. Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla once spoke of visiting the town with Elvis in the early 1970s.
The original home in Tupelo that Presley was born in was restored over the years as a historic landmark, and each week during Elvis Week the site sees a spike in tourism as fans in Memphis for the yearly gathering make the 100-mile trip southeast to visit the birthplace of The King.
The new statues were unveiled on August 8, and they overlook the birthplace and museum location. The statues depict a young, 11-year-old Elvis sitting down holding a guitar and a 1970s era Elvis, at the height of his powers, arms outstretched in his iconic American eagle jumpsuit.
The statue unveiling was part of Tupelo’s yearly Fan Appreciation Day, which is held every August in conjunction with Memphis’ Elvis Week celebration. August 16 will mark the 38th anniversary of Elvis’ 1977 death.
[Photo by Keystone/Getty Images]