Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie is haunted by Graceland’s ‘damn back lawn’ and what it contains
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Lisa Marie still visits her childhood home every Christmas and is one of the very few people to have access to the upstairs floor which houses just her bedroom and that of her father. She still entertains friends there, using the kitchen and dining room. The Memphis mansion is both a museum and a home. Outside are the gardens where she raced golf buggies with Elvis during the days and nights. But one part of the grounds has been particularly troubling to the rock ‘n roll heiress – and understandably so.
Lisa Marie has rarely given interviews and even less so in the past decade. But the songwriter has often expressed her most personal feelings and thoughts in her lyrics.
Asked about her 2003 track, Lights Out, she opened up about the painful personal inspiration behind the song.
One of the verses says: “Someone turned the lights out there in Memphis, That’s where my family’s buried and gone. Last time I was there I noticed a space left, Next to them there in Memphis, In the damn back lawn.”
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Asked about the lyric, Lisa Marie was painfully honest first about why she used the phrase “Damn back lawn.”
She said: “Because I couldn’t say ‘mother****ing back lawn.’ It didn’t work melodically.”
She went on the explain why she feels that way about Graceland’s back garden, and why it haunts her years later.
Lisa Marie said: “The back lawn of Graceland is a graveyard, basically.
“How many people have a family grave in the backyard? How many people are reminded of their fate, their mortality, every ****ing day?”
She went on to talk about whether she would also be buried there – something which became even more heartbreakingly likely after the tragic events of last year.
Until last year, The Meditation Garden at Graceland housed the graves of Elvis, his parents Vernon and Gladys, and his grandmother Minnie Mae.
It has been a place of pilgrimage for fans ever since the house was opened to the public.
Last year, Lisa Marie’s son, Benjamin Keough, died in a horrific accident on July 12 and was also buried at Graceland with his family.
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Lisa Marie had previously said: “All the graves are lined up and there’s a spot there, waiting for me, right next to my grandmother
Asked about her own plans, she added: “I don’t plan on anything. I’m sure I’ll end up there.
“Or I’ll shrink my head and put it in a glass box in the living room. I’ll get more tourists to Graceland that way.”
Despite that, the singer/songwriter also talks about the great joy she remembers during her childhood at the house with her father.
Lisa Marie was only nine when Elvis died, and those early years were a child’s paradise, filled with extravagant gifts, extraordinary trips and the private hiring of cinemas and funfairs purely for her enjoyment.
Elvis kept unorthodox hours and his daughter described them as “nocturnal,” with her father sometimes waking her in the middle of the night to go and play in the gardens.
She said: “(He would) go to bed at four or five A.M. and get up at two or three the next afternoon. It was always a lot of fun. There is not one bad memory. There was always a lot of energy and life in the house. He was very mischievous.”
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