Elvis Presley: The Story Behind the Jungle-Inspired Decorations in Elvis’s Den Called the ‘Jungle Room’

by Katie Maloney
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After opening many of his shows with “I’m the king of the jungle, they call me tiger man,” it just made sense that Elvis would design a Jungle Room at Graceland.

Elvis Presley was not known for his refined taste in home decor. In fact, the opposite was true. Most believed that if a piece of gaudy, over-the-top furniture was designed, Presley would put it in his home. So, it’s no surprise that he built a Jungle Room at Graceland. After returning from the military in the early 60s Presley decided to do some home renovations, including building a den. Elvis turned what was once an open patio connected to the kitchen into what people would refer to today as a “man cave.” At the time, Elvis simply called it “the den.” There, he ate breakfast, watched tv, and hosted members of the “Memphis Mafia” – Presley’s group of friends, associates, employees, and family.

In 1972, Elvis and his wife Priscilla divorced. And, just like everyone else after a break-up, Elvis decided to make some changes in his life. No, he didn’t get bangs. Instead, he chose to redecorate his entire home including his beloved den. How he landed on a jungle theme is highly debated. Some say he hated furniture shopping and simply bought the first items he saw – which happened to be tiki-inspired. Others say that the whole decor scheme was a joke he played on his father. Regardless of the origins, Presley redecorated the room with green shag carpet, plastic plants, rainbow lights, end tables adorned with chainsaw-carved sea serpents and gargoyles, and faux fur, so much faux fur.

Faux fur and green shag carpet in Elvis’s Jungle Room. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Elvis Presley Recorded His Final Two Albums in the Jungle Room

The Jungle Room served as the site of The King’s final recording sessions. In February and October of 1976, Presley invited a handful of musicians and sound engineers to the Jungle Room. There the team cut 16 songs, which became the majority of Elvis’s final two albums released before his death, From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee (1976) and Moody Blue (1977).

In 2016, those recordings were re-released for the album, Elvis: Way Down in the Jungle Room. The album is a two-disc set that includes rare outtakes and alternate versions of the songs. The 14-by-40-foot Jungle Room is now a Graceland fan favorite. The room draws approximately 600,000 visitors a year. Some believe that people love the room so much because it most accurately represents Presley’s personality. Although most of the home is pretty over-the-top, the decor sticks to somewhat of a theme. The Jungle Room is a room of its own that perfectly depicts Elvis’s humor, bravado, and manic personality.

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