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Elvis Presley Spotlighted at Country Music Hall of Fame

AP

He may have been the young man who bombed when he played his one and only show at the Grand Ole Opry in 1954, but even when Elvis Presley was told that night to go home, quit music forever and go back to his job driving a truck, the fiery talent inside the Mississippi native would not be quelled.

Today, the very idea that he would have followed that advice is inconceivable, for “the King” changed the face, heart and soul of music forever. Inducted with the original class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, it was natural he would follow suit into the Country Music Hall of Fame, where he was inducted in 1998.

Elvis was born January 8, 1935, and with 2010 being the 75th anniversary of his birth, Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is set to unveil a new Spotlight Exhibit on the King entitled ‘Loving You: Collecting Elvis Presley.’ Opening August 6, the exhibit will be on display for visitors until January 2011.

This special exhibit gives fans the chance to see items from the Museum’s collection that are rarely available to the public. Visitors will be able to examine Elvis’ continued appeal around the world through documents and items that show how beloved the superstar remains, nearly 33 years after his death. Some of the artifacts included: a Munsingwear bathrobe and Lord Nelson wristwatch owned and worn by Elvis himself, items featuring Elvis’ likeness, such as a bronze bust designed by Armand LaMontagne, a Christmas ornament, a porcelain music box, a bottle of ‘Always Elvis’ white wine, and much more.

Though more closely associated with rock ‘n’ roll, Elvis’ strong ties to country music are still being celebrated. The true tale of the ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ is currently being told on Broadway, in a musical which chronicles the day in December, 1956, when the King joined Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis at Sun Records in Memphis for an unforgettable jam session.

Elvis also recorded country music from time to time, and was deeply influenced by its sounds. In fact, it was through country radio that Elvis first gained exposure in 1954 and ’55, before he broke through the new rock market in 1956 with ‘Heartbreak Hotel.’ He was often heard on the Louisiana Hayride radio show and other country outlets. Country songs he recorded include Bill Monroe‘s ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky,’ ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’ by Hank Williams and the Hank Snow classic, ‘I’m Movin’ On.’

In addition to the one for Elvis, other Spotlight Exhibits now featured in the Museum pay tribute to his manager, Colonel Tom Parker; Rascal Flatts; the Statler Brothers; Taylor Swift; Porter Wagoner and Carrie Underwood.

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