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Footsteps Of Elvis – Walk A Mile In His Footsteps

Footsteps Of Elvis – Walk A Mile In His Footsteps: The footsteps of Elvis exhibition came to Amsterdam, finally a chance to ”walk in his shoes”. Before we ”criticise and accuse” we walked a mile in his footsteps (we couldn’t get into the boots that were on display).

The exhibition showcases a private collection and Elvis stepbrother David Stanley cooperates with it. The exhibition got quite a lot of attention in the media, the biggest newspaper (through an interview with David Stanley – who claimed Elvis committed Suicide and died August 17, 1977) and national news broadcasts. So our expectations were high. The exhibition consists of two parts. In three big glass displays various Elvis memorabilia is displayed, besides that pictures by photographer Lew Allen are on display with the title ”Birth Of Rock”.

To begin with the bad news, our expectations were not met walking into the exhibition hall. Just three big displays with memorabilia. One filled with the last Harley Davidson motor Elvis bought, one filled with few documents, three pieces of clothing, a karate suit, several -shot- television sets (the one he apparently shot was actually in tact), a few pieces of clothing from Priscilla, the two-seater bike from TTWII, recording equipment from the Memphis studio and some cutlery from Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding. In the third display we get a copy of Elvis tombstone which apparently was used on Elvis’ grave for about three weeks and some other material like a Gold Record from Lamar Fike and two Elvis acetates. We may have placed a few items in the wrong display, but this was about it.

On display outside the glass display was some (garden) furniture and a golden Mercedes, which Elvis used to go into town in disguise (parking the car behind Graceland so fans didn’t know it was his car). To complete this part of the exhibition, the last items on display were a wall with Elvis albums, but no rare ones, and That’s The Way It Is on a big screen on one site of the hall and a ”Footsteps of Elvis” documentary with people like Sonny West and Charlie Hodge sharing memories on the other side. To be honest, we have seen more interesting private collections from casual fans.

More interesting though were the pictures from November 1956 made by a then 17 years old school magazine photographer. Due to a local newspaper strike he was the only photographer at Elvis performance at the Cleveland Arena in Ohio. These beautifully displayed pictures showed the King Of Rock And Roll who just made it big time in Hollywood, two days after the premiere of his Hollywood debut.

Next to these images of our man the shots of Buddy Holly with the Everly Brothers, Frankie Avalon and other performances from the early days were very interesting to see. They made up for the disappointing other half of the exhibition.

Fortunately Lew Allen was there to sign photographs and share his memories. He was a kind man and took his time for everyone.

Conclusion: The huge publicity on T.V, the Internet and newspapers made us expect too much, unfortunately the Footsteps of Elvis did not meet our expectations. Forty minutes after entering the building we stood outside again.

As Elvis said: ”just walk a mile in my shoes before you abuse, criticise and accuse”, we did, but have to say we won’t follow these ”Footsteps Of Elvis” again.

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