By Patsy Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
Every Elvis Presley fan knows about “Blue Christmas,” which the Tupelo native sang on his 1957 Christmas album.
First recorded in 1950 by Ernest Tubb, the holiday tune has been covered by the likes of Ringo Starr, Celine Dion and The Beach Boys to Bill Haley and the Comets, and even Porky Pig.
The Christmas Album spent four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart and was the first of two Christmas-themed albums Elvis recorded. It was his first to attain Diamond certification by the Recording Industry of America and is the best-selling Christmas/holiday album of all time in the U.S.
While Elvis’ early Christmases in Northeast Mississippi may not have been entirely blue, they surely weren’t as grand as those at his Graceland mansion in Memphis.
For his first Christmas there in 1957, Elvis had a Santa, sleigh and reindeer displayed on the front lawn with the message “Merry Christmas to All, Elvis” spelled out above it. A replica of the original sign is in use today.
Elvis gave “Blue Christmas” a new meaning a few years later with the decision to line the winding driveway with hundreds of blue light bulbs. His father Vernon often joked that he was lucky if a plane didn’t try to land at Graceland, thinking it was a runway at the nearby airport.
Even today, fans can own one of those actual, holiday driveway blue lights – for only $39.99.
“Please note that these light bulbs are no longer working,” Elvis Presley Enterprises reminds you.
An ongoing tour of Graceland shows off its Christmas decor, including the traditional red velvet draperies Elvis had substituted for the usual blue. The tour continues through Jan. 9, the day after his birthday.
Elvis’ birthplace and park in east Tupelo is closed Christmas Day.