Graceland: Take a live virtual tour of Elvis' Memphis home
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Elvis Presley’s most famous space at Graceland has to be the Jungle Room. The King had the Hawaii-inspired room furnished with Polynesian style furniture and green shagged carpets after his father Vernon spotted the set in Memphis. But did you know that Elvis never called it the Jungle Room?
Appearing on the Memphis Mafia Kid YouTube channel, Elvis Presley’ cousin Billy Smith and his wife Jo were answering fan questions in a new video.
During the Q&A, one fan had written in to ask what The King would call The Jungle Room in his lifetime.
Jo replied: “We always just said the Den. I don’t know who came up with the Jungle Room, we never said the Jungle Room.”
It turns out the name came and stuck five years after Elvis’ death when Graceland opened for tours in 1982.
According to Rolling Stone, it was a journalist who first referred to the Den as the Jungle Room.
Of course, Elvis didn’t have the Den furnished in the way it remains today until 1974. While for the first 17 years he lived at Graceland, the space looked totally different.
According to the Memphis mansion’s official website: “This room was once the exterior access to the basement.
“In the 1960s, during one of Elvis’ home improvement projects, it was added to the back of the house – first as a screened in porch and then closed in as a room a few years later.”
Elvis loved the Den and would eat his breakfast on the corner of one of the sofa’s facing the waterfall.
This would be at 4pm each day since The King was a night owl who would stay up all night and sleep all day.
His choice of breakfast would be a Spanish omelette with burnt bacon and black coffee.
Elvis also famously recorded songs from his last two albums in the Jungle Room, since its green-carpeted ceiling was great acoustically.
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Elvis’ record company RCA would park their trucks outside the window of the Jungle Room and wired the equipment inside.
And The King would start recording around 2am with his TCB band members like guitarist James Burton.
While every now and then Elvis would pause the sessions to give out some of his clothes to his Memphis Mafia.
During the final recording in late 1976 for Moody Blue, Billy Smith remembered in another video: “I know once he was recording one of the songs [and] the phone in the kitchen went off. That set him off!”
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Elvis apparently picked it up when the phone went off and threw it in the air to stop the ringing.
Billy said how hearing The King sing with his rhythm section was an “awesome time, awesome feeling!”
Next year sees the release of the Elvis movie biopic starring Austin Butler as The King.
Graceland was recreated on the Australian set so here’s hoping the Jungle Room has been too.
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