Paul Simon Debunked a Lie About Elvis Presley’s Graceland to Someone’s Face

TL;DR:

  • Elvis Presley’s Graceland inspired the name of a Paul Simon album.
  • Graceland has been the subject of historical misconceptions.
  • Simon cleared up one of these misconceptions to someone’s face.
Elvis Presley standing on the grass in front of Graceland
Elvis Presley at Graceland | Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer

Elvis Presley‘s Graceland inspired the name of Paul Simon’s album of the same name. Subsequently, the album’s name inspired controversy based on a false rumor. Despite the disputation, three of Graceland‘s singles were hits.

People thought Paul Simon made a ‘ridiculous mistake’ when naming an album after Elvis Presley’s ‘Graceland’

During an interview uploaded to Simon’s YouTube channel in 2012, the singer discussed some of the criticism he received for his album Graceland. “They were just hoping I made some sort of ridiculous mistake and hadn’t thought it,” he recalled. “I remember once one guy said ‘How could you name an album after Elvis Presley’s estate which was an Antebellum home in the South that used to have slaves on the estate?'”

This was not the case. “And fortunately, because I went to Graceland, I knew the history of Graceland,” he said. “So I said ‘Look, Graceland was built in 1939 by a podiatrist whose wife’s name was Grace. And he named it after her. And that is how Graceland came to be.'”

According to Graceland.com, Graceland was built by the family of a printer named S. E. Toof, who named it after Grace, one of his relatives. Simon was correct that the house was built in 1939, not during the Antebellum period. It was never a plantation.

Paul Simon was upset someone got the history of Elvis Presley’s house wrong

Simon was upset by the assertion he named one of his albums after a plantation. “‘But why are you deciding that it was an Antebellum home that had slaves and I was so insensitive as to go do that?'” he told the man.

Simon asked how someone could take offense at the title of Graceland without knowing the truth about Elvis’ estate. “‘What’s your case?'” he told the man. “‘What’s your case against me if you don’t even have the facts right?'”

Related

Elvis Presley Sang a Righteous Brothers Song to His Friends at Graceland the Night He Died

How ‘Graceland’ and some of its singles performed on the charts in the United States

Regardless of the controversy surrounding it, Graceland became a hit in the United States. It reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 105 weeks in total. None of Simon’s other solo albums lasted as long on the chart.

The album’s title track became a minor hit. It reached No. 81 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for seven weeks. Two other tracks on the album — “You Can Call Me Al” and “The Boy in the Bubble” — peaked at No. 23 and No. 86, respectively.

Simon’s Graceland became a hit even if he had to defend it from some historical misconceptions.