An Eternal Flame for Memphis
“Close your eyes, give me your hand darling, do you feel my heart beating?…”
You probably know the lyrics to this classic 80s hit tune, and you’ve probably started humming it, too. If the title still eludes you, these last two lines might jog your memory:
“Do you feel the same? Am I only dreaming?
Is this burning an eternal flame?”
The Bangles sure knew how to dish out the perfect ‘80s hit, and one inspired by the burial site of Elvis Presley!
Susanna Hoff, lead singer of The Bangles, returned from a visit to Elvis's Graceland in Memphis when she told songwriter Billy Steinberg that there was “some kind of eternal flame” on the popular site. This inspired Steinberg to write the lyrics to the chosen song title. He recalled having seen something similar as a child that “never burned out...it was something like the sun…” And those of us who have fallen in love can easily identify; we can only wish the fire of love can burn forever, just like an eternal flame.
Graceland is a 14 acre estate which Elvis built when he rose to fame. With a wide fan base the property was opened to the public in 1982. Here you can get a glimpse of his life within the rooms, his costumes, trophies, gold records, awards, mementos, jewellery and photos. Conveniently, it is in Graceland's garden where ‘The King’ and his family are buried. Adjacent to Graceland is the Heart Break Hotel where tourists can choose to stay. Also on the estate is the Chapel in the Woods where couples can get married. So if you’re an avid Elvis fan, and you want him there at your wedding, this is the perfect place to celebrate it.
Outside of Graceland, you will come to understand the rest of Presley’s hometown – Memphis. The word Memphis translates to “that which binds two lands” in ancient Egypt, from which the town gets its name – that explains the Pyramid Arena; a 32 story stainless steel sports and concert arena.
In a town that celebrates the life of a rock star, Sun Studio serves as the heart of music where big names like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and BB King recorded their albums. While music rides the airwaves, Memphis also remembers civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King at the National Civil Rights Museum – the very spot where he was assassinated while speaking on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. The Museum engages its audiences into re-living the events that led to his untimely death as well as the assassination itself.
If you aren’t a fan of walking, the vintage Mainstreet Trolley can take you on a ride through downtown Memphis and the riverfront. If you are a sports fan, you’ll enjoy the AutoZone Park. But if its art you’re looking for, the Orpheum Theater might be the best place to explore. An architectural treasure from the 1920s, the Orpheum Theater is today where traveling Broadway musicals are staged. And nature lovers can visit the Memphis Zoo and Aquarium, Mud Island River Park and Lichterman Nature Center. Our hearts are definitely burning up for Memphis, at one with its Eternal Flame!