Roadtrip 2020 Day 4: Memphis, Tennessee

With the phenomenal success of “Heartbreak Hotel,” Elvis’ popularity skyrocketed so much that he found a new place to dwell.

Before flying to Shreveport on March 3, 1956 with cousin Gene Smith, Elvis writes a $500 check for a deposit toward the purchase of a house for himself and his parents at 1034 Audubon Drive.

It would be the first house they ever owned and in a well-to-do suburban neighborhood east of downtown Memphis. While Elvis is on tour, on March 20, his parents move into the new house. Total cost was $29,500.

Gazing beyond the gate, necessary for his family’s safety, I realized how rapid his rise was. He outgrew this home fast.

This was a time of innocence, gracious southern living and the dawn of pop culture, as we know it today.

During their 13 month stay at Audubon, Elvis became a multiple hit recording artist with RCA and movie star. The money was rolling in, and although somewhat overwhelming for his mother Gladys, there were numerous additions and customizations to the property as designated by Elvis, which remain to this day.

They would have been comfortable there had their son not become the biggest show business sensation in the world. But it soon became apparent that 1034 Audubon Drive failed to provide privacy from an increasing army of fans who even started camping on the home’s front lawn.

Consequently, Elvis and his parents spent much of early 1957 in Hollywood where Elvis was filming “Loving You,” his second movie, which featured his parents as extras.

Music instruments still racked on the car, Elvis stands on the front lawn fresh from another tour.

While living at this address, the hard working Elvis literally changed music, youth culture, and defined the 1950s.

He earned his first gold record, first gold album, appeared on TV and made his first and second movies.

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