Don McLean: Prince Harry doesn’t understand that Elvis was the poor man’s king

Do you guys remember Don McLean? He’s the 78-year-old singer-songwriter of such hits as “American Pie” and “Vincent.” I thought this story was going to be yet another instance of “the British media obsessively asking every American what they think of Prince Harry and Meghan,” which is a real thing that has been happening for years. But in Don McLean’s case, he actually has a history of saying sh-t about Prince Harry which predates his Daily Mail interview. McLean took exception to a passage in Harry’s memoir Spare. The passage? When Harry visited Graceland, Elvis Presley’s Memphis home, which was made into a museum/memorial after his death. Millions of people have visited Graceland, but Harry was unimpressed with the decor and he noted as much in Spare. This is why Don McLean has beef with Harry. LMAO.

Having aimed so many stinging barbs at the Royal Family in his bestselling memoir Spare, it was easy to overlook one choice comment Prince Harry made about America’s very own king – Elvis Presley.

Describing a visit to Graceland – Elvis’s home in Memphis – Harry wrote that it was, ‘Dark, claustrophobic. I walked around saying, “The King lived here, you say? Really?”’

He recalled that he stood ‘in one tiny room with loud furniture and shag carpet and thought, “The King’s interior designer must have been on acid.”’

Unsurprisingly, Elvis fans didn’t take kindly to his attempt at humour, not least singer-songwriter Don McLean, who tartly remarked on X, ‘“Prince” Harry should shut his mouth about Graceland and Elvis. He is a hot house orchid, a show horse who never did a thing.’

As Don says now, ‘He doesn’t understand that Elvis is like the poor man’s king. He came from nowhere and his recordings are among the greatest ever made. His family were as poor as they could be and Harry criticised Elvis’s home as if he’s comparing it to Buckingham Palace, and that misses the point completely. Here’s a fellow who has been brought up to be mannerly, but you don’t criticise America when you’re living here as our guest.’

Don adds of the prince, who recently listed the US as his primary residence, ‘He just doesn’t get America.’

[From The Daily Mail]

So… don’t hate me but I slightly agree with McLean?? While I don’t think Harry meant anything super-serious about his judgments on Elvis’s interior design, McLean is right that Harry stepped into Graceland without really knowing anything about Elvis’s backstory and history. Elvis grew up dirt-poor and Graceland was his palace, his dream of having a big house for his whole family. The decor reflected the times and the whole reason Graceland functions as a museum and tourist attraction is because the family didn’t change anything. Now, I kind of think Harry just included that story because he’s a British prince and he visited The King’s house and he thought that was funny. But yeah, Harry didn’t know anything about Elvis’s history and it showed.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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116 Responses to “Don McLean: Prince Harry doesn’t understand that Elvis was the poor man’s king”

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  1. Kokiri says:

    Elvis stole his moves, musical style from Black men.

    He’s no one’s king, for heavens sake.

    • Joyful Liluri says:

      Elvis was a grooming pedophile.

      Elvis stole black music, dance styles and mannerisms at a time when Jim Crow laws and segregation was in full swing. He stole from the black community and gave nothing back. He’s nothing but a colonizer.

      Elvis is neither a king or a sympathetic figure of any kind.

      Harry’s opinion on his drug fueled decor doesn’t bother me in the least. The man stood on the necks of black people to pull himself up.

      • SussexWatcher says:


      • Kingston says:

        Thank you, @Joyful Liluri! And ditto.

        That mclean fellow, whoever the fck he is, doesnt know elvis’s backstory either, or else (which is more likely) he doesnt give a shidt that elvis stole from and owed his entire musical/entertainment success to the appropriation of the music & entertainment inventions of Black people.

        Mclean doesnt get america – america that was built on the backs of Black people. Of course, to a fvckng royal arse-licker like him, none of that matters. Saying H is “a hot house orchid; a show horse who never did a thing?” Its more likely that mclean is the typical drunken, drug-filled waste of space who was somewhere pissing his pants after a drunken, drug-filled orgy while H was flying his Apache helicopter and killing terrorists so that a fvkng waste of space like mclean can be free to be a drunken drug-filled wasteman.

        I, who grew up way on the other side of the world, knew of H long before he became an interesting man in his own right and long before he met his wife and became one half of the most interesting, productive and relevant figures on the global stage.

        Ive never heard of this mclean fellow before he opened that oral sore in the middle of his face and uttered Prince Harry’s name.

        See how that works, ya dumbfck?

      • BlueNailsBetty says:

        I’ve never understood the hero worship of Elvis. But then again, my mom met him a few times and although she LOVED his voice (and especially his gospel songs), she thought he was greasy white trash with a creepy penchant for young girls.

        And that was before we found out how much he stole from Black singers/entertainers.

      • Chelsea says:

        OT but wasteman has got to be one of my favorite insult. Just so fitting here

      • CatMum says:

        100% agree, Liluri and Kingston! Dude had one hit and now acts like he’s better than Harry. As. If.

      • MicMack says:

        Significant grooming issues aside. Why are so many people on this site parroting a rap group whose heyday has long since past and refusing to look at Elvis contextually? He introduced Black American music to the wider White American public in a time they would have otherwise not had access to it, and quietly did what he could in the Civil Rights era. Part of the outrage regarding being called a racist in 1991 wasn’t a reaction to “whyte peepal” defending their “King” so much as it was a white man introducing Black culture in a time of real suffering and death for many in the United States that couldn’t remove the color of their skin as easily as someone can simply change appearance when faced with death

    • Nicole says:

      This all day long.

      • B says:

        Exactly! Elvis was the poor WHITE man’s king. All that man did was steal from black artists and while thievery is common in that industry Elvis was really egregious. He used to travel the chitlin circuit and sit in the audience and lift whole routines. Ray Charles was once asked about Elvis and his response lives in my memory and still makes me laugh.

        Some of us don’t revere Graceland or Elvis but I do understand that he means something special to others. But is it on the level where you can’t crack jokes about bad decor?? I don’t know.

      • Jeanette says:

        But on the opposite side of that…

        BB King said in a 2010 interview. “It (music) isn’t exclusive to the Black man or the white man or any other color.” In his 1996 autobiography, Blues All Around Me, King wrote, “Elvis didn’t steal any music from anyone. He just had his own interpretation of the music he’d grown up on, same is true for everyone. I think Elvis had integrity.”

      • Lisa says:

        I never understood the level of appropriation of Elvis until the past few years when we are seeing more realistic portrayals of who he actually was. the Appropriation, along with the inappropriate age of his sexual interests, his mental and physical abuse, and gaslighting of his wife.

        My most striking memory of Elvis was my grandmothers love of him as an artist (she was born and lived in Germany until she was 35!!!!) and her utter contempt of the Beatles who were, in her opinion, communists.

      • Joyful Liluri says:

        @jeanette you know that black people aren’t a monolith, right? BB King said Elvis was cool? That’s one black man’s

        A black man who had name for himself in white spaces and who – in doing so – had learned to tolerate the entitlement of white people and had learned how necessary it was to appease and placate them.

        He did that to survive. And in doing so, it seems that a whole lot of that acceptance of white entitlement worked its way into his heart and soul. That’s bitter and hard. But true.

        Elvis has widely been decried for his theft of black music, dance and culture.

        Just because one of his black peers was ok with giving him a pass in it – largely because of the segregated systemically racist system BB King had grown up in, without the language or global community available through social media to support him if he had condemned Elvis’s actions – does not excuse Elvis or make any of his actions acceptable.

        Elvis profited off of the music that black people were condemned and denigrated for. The dance moves that black people were condemned and denigrated for. Because he was white.

        BB King was raised in a horrific system without the means to have access to such language, ideas and truths of white colonization and appropriation and the understanding that anger against such actions is just and right.

        What’s your excuse for defending Elvis?

    • OriginalMich says:

      Not just black men. The original ‘Hound Dog’ by Big Mama Thornton is amazing.

      • swiftcreekrising says:

        Speaking of Hound Dog – people really should take a good look at the lyrics to Jailhouse Rock, which was written by the same team. I suspect much of the “we love Elvis” crowd would be clutching their pearls if they realized what they were bopping to.

      • Mina_Esq says:

        He even tried to steal from Dolly, asking for 50% credit just to cover her song. The man was a dirtbag and a groomer. Good riddance.

    • Southern Crone says:

      Public Enemy said it best:
      Elvis was a hero to most
      But he never meant s- to me you see

      • @imsoblessed702 says:

        Look up the lyrics to ‘Elvis is Dead’ by Living Colour, they’re hilarious.

    • JENNIFER says:

      Thank you! Elvis fans annoy me with their retelling of history.
      He exploited black musians and got fame, wealth and acclaim from their intellectual property.
      Then, his fans have the nerve to say he was liked and he liked and respected the musicians. It was 1950s to 1970s. He was a white man, how would it have gone for them to tell their true feelings.
      He used his power against black people. Smh

    • Nikki says:

      Elvis donated money to the NAACP and always treated persons of color with utmost respect, which was NOT how white men from Tennessee were raised back then. What he’s being vilified for many decades later is “stealing” black music. At a time when many radio stations wouldn’t play black artists’ music, Elvis recognized how fabulous their music was and incorporated it into his music. To judge a small town Southern white guy as racist for doing that is judging him by our standards of appropriation formed many decades later. And frankly, all true artists seek TRUTH and artistic development wherever it can be found. We live in a global culture, and it’s not realistic for any artist to follow only white, Latino, Native American, Asian, or black music.

    • QuiteContrary says:

      This is 100% true. Elvis owes his success to Black musicians.

      What’s not at all true: Harry “is a hot house orchid,” according to McLean.

      How many hot house orchids do you know who have flown helicopters in combat?

    • Kelsey says:

      Right on!

  2. Bettyrose says:

    This is the type of legit observation that should be fine because it’s not a character attack. But the never ending rain of character attacks makes yet another pointless criticism feel cheap.

    • SussexWatcher says:

      He seems to have a history of attacking Harry even before this so that also adds to the character attack feel. Plus he could have easily just said something like he’d love to send Harry a book about Elvis’s life so he’d understand the bigger context. Or something. He didn’t have to personally attack Harry by calling him names and saying he’s done nothing with his life. Which is just a clear lie. For starters, thousands of Invictus veterans would like a word.

      • bettyrose says:

        Ugh, thanks for the background. He’s not even British. Why does he care? I mean, I get my hackles up when an aristo from any country is contemptuous of self made success stories or even just people living their best lives while not being rich, but that’s not even close to Harry’s style.

  3. Royal Downfall Watcher says:

    So I get this. My grandmother grew up in the depression on a farm. So when she was older and actually could live comfortably, she moved into an old farm house and TORE OUT the foot wide gorgeous oak hardwood floors. Threw them on the curb and put in wall to wall carpet. 😂. She did this because carpet was something she could never afford growing up, and hardwood was for poor people like her. So it’s all perspective. To this day my family still mourns that hardwood floor. But taste is subjective.

    That being said, I’m sure Harry meant it as a joke.

  4. Kristen from MA says:

    I’m with Harry. Graceland is tacky AF. Yes, shag carpet was in at the time, but Elvis had it on the walls. The walls.

    • Jais says:

      Wait, there’s shag carpet on the walls? Okay, I didn’t know that. That’s funny. I mean I get his reaction then. And saying it’s tacky or kitsch decor wouldn’t be wrong. But it is reflective of the time period. I think it’s cool they’ve kept it exactly as is.

    • Ginger says:

      A friend of mine ( who adores Elvis) went to Graceland and commented on how awful the decor was. She loves Elvis and even hated it.

    • kirk says:

      My son went to college in Memphis, so we toured Graceland when taking him back to college. Shag carpet on the walls was kind of weird. Didn’t want to be too disrespectful, so went to the gift shop and bought stuff. The pecan pie recipe just doesn’t work. Waaaay too much butter, it just fries out all over. OTOH the Mississippi River Museum at Mud Island was quite impressive, even in 90+F still heat of August. The National Civil Rights Museum is also very impressive, but really eery. Memphis became the regional center of cotton and slave trade, so there’s the Cotton Museum and Burkle Estate (Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum). But that was before the slave and racism Education of Harry, so he missed out on that.

    • AMB says:

      Hey, if it’s good for the walls of your van, it’s good for the walls of your house.

      Sometimes “retro” and “kitsch” things deserve a second look, but shag carpet on the walls of ANYTHING isn’t one of them.

    • Lulu says:

      I haven’t been but I’ve known so many people who describe Graceland this way. I’ve also been told to keep these thoughts to yourself until you leave because there are older fans who do not appreciate a snicker. Also, I DM is wrong, it never only poor people who, at one time, loved Elvis.

    • Saucy&Sassy says:

      Kristin, I’m with Harry, too. I’m old enough to have lived through the shag carpet, the colors and decor at the time it was furnished. When I saw it 2-3 decades later, I looked around and thought it look tired. No other way to describe it. It IS dark, too. The paraphernalia spread all around was the interesting stuff. The location and grounds were beautiful.

      You can’t fault someone for having taste, which it sounds like Don McLean is doing. Perhaps he needs little more whiskey and rye?!

    • goofpuff says:

      I mean, Harry isn’t wrong to be surprised that its so Vegas that someone actually lived there instead of it being a showpiece. His father has castles full of things and doesn’t live there at all.

  5. Sarita says:

    I don’t see any point in mythologizing a known pedophile. Elvis’ history demands no reverence.

    • Bettyrose says:

      Elvis is problematic on so many levels. I also hate anyone being crowned American royalty.

  6. Ange says:

    Don McLean is a gross old man who basically wears a dead rabbit on his head.

    • SJP-NYC says:

      I was just thinking it is hard to take him seriously as I was mesmerized by that badly dyed, straw-like, comb over

    • samipup says:

      FYI: Don Mclean was arrested for physically abusing his wife.

      • Yonati says:

        Exactly! DV Mclean is more like it. And he also mentally and emotionally abused his daughter. So I guess, on a certain level, he and Elvis Presley are two of a kind.

  7. Wagiman says:

    And Don McLean knows nothing about Harry’s real background and what’s been going on for him and his wife. There are times to say nothing.

    • Jess says:

      Everyone knows something about Harry’s background, come on, that’s a silly retort. And you don’t have to know what is going on with his wife in order to comment on thoughts about Graceland that Harry had years ago. There are, indeed, times to say nothing, perhaps visiting Graceland was one of those times for Harry? I agree with Kaiser, there are very few instances where a prince born into royalty won’t come off arrogant criticizing the dwelling of someone of far more modest means (I don’t know how wealthy Elvis got, I am quite sure he never got wealthy enough to own several palaces with grounds, filled with antiques and vaults with priceless jewels).

      • C says:

        How is saying the decor is kitsch criticizing a dwelling of someone with more modest means?
        And honestly this is the kind of comment from someone who really *doesn’t* know Harry’s background. Elvis had more disposable income at his fingers during his career than Harry did well into his own adulthood. None of the palaces and vaults and jewels were there for him to access or even live in most of the time.

      • Joyful Liluri says:

        Elvis was a culture stealing pedophile.

        If y’all hate prince Andrew but don’t say shit about Elvis – we’ve got problems.

        As for Harry supposedly judging someone who was poor who became wealthy – Elvis was a 50’s-70’s sensation and not a personal fan of anything remotely understated.

        The man has been roasted for decades for his sequin jumpsuits and dying on the toilet.

        Harry saying Graceland looked dark and weird is just an accurate and apt description. No one has ever said that Graceland was stately or timeless or chic or elegant. Or even, as Jane Austen said, “well appointed”.

        The private areas of the White House also suffers from this same issue. Families make it to their taste and then the next family has to replace tacky ass gold toilets. I think when one family moved in, it hadn’t been touched in a couple decades and was just nasty and gross.

        I assume that to most, king or monarchy implies an unchanging-ness. Continuity even if it comes via steam roller. The decor doesn’t change but gets “refreshed” by paint and cleaning only in 95% of the places as they are now so removed in time that no one is upset by Victorian curtains being used with Edwardian side tables.

        Lastly. Harry lived in army barracks. He lived in nott cott. A falling down shack that the Royal collection of the purse string holders of renovations and property upkeep couldn’t be bothered to upkeep or even pay for the gardening and maintenance of the building. H&M actually restored some of the outside areas by hand.

        Just …. Leave Harry out of it.

      • Becks1 says:

        Wait, are we really saying now that people can’t criticize Graceland because Elvis was of “modest means”? lmao.

        I’ve never been to graceland, but I saw one of Elvis’s cars at the Country HoF in Nashville and there was nothing subtle or…..well…..not-tacky….about that damn thing. And that’s fine. But it doesn’t mean its not immune to criticism. My husband is a semi-big Elvis fan (its more nostalgia than anything for him bc his grandmother was a huge fan) and he thought the car was hilarious and ridiculous.

        And now granted for Elvis the “over the top” element was part of the point – but I doubt harry was thinking anything that at least half the visitors to Graceland don’t think.

      • Lawrenceville says:

        Just because Harry was born a prince doesn’t necessarily mean he was wealthy or that he was in a better position that Elvis and I think this is where some critics miss the point. And just because Elvis was American and came from modest beginnings doesn’t mean he can’t be critiqued by anyone that’s not American, that’s just absurd. And I also believe “taste” whether in food, decor or anything else is subjective, one’s gold is another’s trash, to each their own. Prince Harry visited a museum, and critiqued it as the tourist he was, nothing wrong with that. If family and/or fans like this Mclean fellow wanted no criticism of any kind but just wanted sycophant praise, then don’t open it to anyone else but Elvis’ fans. But once its open to everyone, people will have different takes on what is classy or gaudy, again different strokes for different folks; Harry was within his right to criticize Graceland as a tourist, I don’t see why anyone would take any offence to this. It was Harry’s personal observation, his opinions, no reason to bash him over an opinion.

      • Saucy&Sassy says:

        Jess, I’m American and I agree completely with Harry. I’m old enough to have lived through the shag carpet, etc., decor and I’m telling you that Graceland (inside) is dark and furnishings are sad, sad, sad. Why do people think that other people shouldn’t have opinions? Elvis was a human being who was famous for his music. Let me tell you–he was not famous for his decor.

      • CatMum says:

        Harry used to have to wear shoes with holes in the soles and clothes from TK Maxx. And graceland IS tacky! Don can shut it.

  8. I’m with Harry with this one I don’t like the decor there either but it what was done when you had money at that time and decade. Shag rugs were all the rage.

    • BlueNailsBetty says:

      Plenty of wealthy people of that time did not decorate their homes the way Elvis did. He deliberately was over the top on all things fashion and decor because he could. He didn’t care if anyone liked his style. His brand was “the King” and in his juvenile mind a king would have over the top everything.

      Add in that Elvis didn’t like people telling him “no” and you have a home decorated by someone with zero taste, a lot of money, and an unwillingness to listen to people with more knowledge about interior design.

  9. Cheshire Sass says:

    Don MacLean – the “domestic assault” one hit wonder dude needs to keep his American pie hole closed- Having an opinion about a house is no big deal – he wasn’t talking about Elvis’s talent – He was talking about a house that by all accounts is a time capsule of tacky claustrophobia – I agree with Harry – even getting why poor Elvis would have thought this was a King’s kind of pad – Context is important, but really I don’t find what he said wrong

    • Tsar says:

      @Cheshire Sass
      “dude needs to keep his American pie hole closed”
      lol so true
      Also, love your username.

  10. C says:

    Harry’s words were not a value judgement and this is really one of the strangest criticisms of him I’ve ever read.

    • Jess says:

      Saying “your decorator must have been on acid” isn’t a value judgement? Interesting…

      • C says:

        No and I refuse to believe you’re really serious with this line of reasoning, lol.

      • C says:

        Although the funny part of this is, even though Harry’s comment was obviously a joke, Elvis actually did acid at Graceland, so I’m not sure why the implication is so insulting, lol.

      • Joyful Liluri says:

        Harry came through, what? 40 years after Elvis died? And he died at the full strength of 70’s decor.

        It hasn’t changed at all since the day the man died.

        And honestly Elvis AND his decorator were most likely on acid/ a myriad of drugs! Like actual facts.

        So… stepping back in time to the early 70’s with the full might of 70’s interior design on display … yeah. That would be trippy. ESP if you hadn’t been exposed to it a ton.

        Graceland is A LOT.

      • Tsar says:

        I’d be far more concerned about the victims of pederast Elvis Presley and domestic abuser Don McClean than about the feelings of a long-dead decorater or his pederast employer.

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      It seems they conveniently left out the words in SPARE during this part of how the dark and claustrophobic feel reminded Harry of when he lived in the badger sett. (we don’t even need to go into the condition of Nott Cott)

      ‘Hot house orchid’ is such a dumb@ss & ignorant thing to say about Harry.

      I’ve never been to Graceland. Know a few people that have. Interesting is the nicest description. The wall-to-wall carpet commentary was/is pretty funny.

      Harry didn’t make fun of Elvis. In fact, he mentioned how they wore blue suede shoes at Guy’s wedding.

  11. Alice B. Tokeless says:

    Graceland was an assault to the eye in its time, and it remains so. Another part of Elvis’ history is that he stole most of his music from the black Blues artists of the time. Big Momma Thornton, anyone? He also stole their moves. And let us not forget how he groomed a teenager.

  12. Becks1 says:

    oh for pete’s sake, you’re allowed to have an opinion on a tourist attraction, even if you are a “guest” in another country. I’ve been to other countries and I’ve had opinions on various tourist attractions. Who hasn’t??

    • Joyful Liluri says:

      But you must never ever say anything negative about the USA! Nothing in it, nothing it’s citizens have ever done, and esp not anything it’s government fails to do for its own people or our invasions of other nations / toppling of governments.

      That’s just unacceptable! /s

      Someone tell this jerk to shut his American pie hole.

      • Saucy&Sassy says:

        Joyful Liluri, as I stated above, he needs a little more whiskey and rye.

  13. girl_ninja says:

    Elvis The Poor Mans King, culture vulture, groomer and adulterer. Don plead down to domestic violence after attacking his wife. His daughter accused him of mental and emotional abuse. Abusers defend abusers.

  14. Walking the Walk says:

    Elvis was a groomer.

  15. bisynaptic says:

    #TeamHarry. Elvis might have been the poor man’s king, but he was filthy rich, when he died.
    Don McLean is ruining American Pie and Vincent for me.

  16. Cc says:

    This does remind me that the second season of “We Are Lady Parts,” in which the main character and her dad are obsessed with Don MacLean, is going to be back soon.

  17. Brassy Rebel says:

    Don McClean is still alive? This is the news to me in this story.

  18. Amy Bee says:

    Elvis was a culture vulture who’s whole career was based on mimicking black artists and music. Plus what happened to free speech, Harry didn’t like the decor of Graceland. So what?

  19. Mslove says:

    I think Don McLean read Spare, y’all. Spare was the fasted selling non-fiction book since records began, Don McLean can’t top that. I also agree with Harry’s opinion of Graceland, very tacky.

    • kelleybelle says:

      I love the stained-glass peacocks, but overall it’s very ’70s and considered tacky today by many people.

  20. Beverley says:

    Elvis was perfect for those who wanted Black music and Black style, but disliked/despised/ignored Black people. It was so convenient in that way. They could have Black music without having to acknowledge Black people at all.

    Elvis’ music was a win-win for culture appropriationists, in much the same way Eminem and Iggy Azalea’s music also was.

    • Eurydice says:

      My evil old aunt was a huge fan and had a whole room in her house devoted to Elvis, like a shrine. I’d say that never in her whole life did she think about anything Black at all, let alone want Black music and Black style. She was totally unconscious about where Elvis’ music came from and I don’t know that even she cared about his music all that much – she just thought he was dreamy and sexy.

  21. OriginalMich says:

    Aside from what everyone else has said, the xenophobia in McClean’s weird diatribe is as tacky as Elvis’ palace.

    Also, is “hothouse flower” really an apt description for a military veteran who saw active combat?

    • Joyful Liluri says:

      Don McClean is as mentally and emotionally dated as Graceland.

      Which might be what he’s really taking umbrage with but doesn’t have the self awareness to realize.

      Don’t call Graceland tacky! I have refused to make any personal changes to my mental / emotional / spiritual state since the 1970s and I’m perfect! Everyone else is the problem!

  22. Eurydice says:

    It’s hard to know which room with loud furniture and shag carpeting – maybe the Jungle Room? I think I remember reading somewhere that Elvis bought the whole suite out of a furniture window because his father said it was the ugliest thing he’d ever seen.

    Anyway, I don’t know what Graceland is like now, but when I visited it was a big dirty white house that needed a lot of renovation from the wear of 3,000 visitors every day. And I remember a perky young tour guide named Billie Joe Bob Something who introduced us to Elvis’ toilet where he died, which was weird because Elvis died in the off-limits second floor. We were going to question her, but it was 104 degrees outside and the house was boiling hot.

    • Joyful Liluri says:

      That sounds like a humid musty hellscape.

      • Eurydice says:

        Omg, it so was. None of us were Elvis fans. Like Harry, we were in town for a wedding and had some time to kill.

  23. blueberry says:

    Oof I went to Graceland ages ago and all I remember was the claustrophobia. I think–simply from a design perspective–it says a lot about how much homes and interior spaces have changed over the years. Most 70s decor would skew tacky and overdone for people today. We associate wealth with abundance of space (compare the shelves in a high-end boutique to those of a bargain store) so learning that this legendary person lived in a suffocating, junked-up space is surprising. Anyway, this Mclean guy is obviously an ass.

    • KT says:

      Same. Graceland’s decor is tacky AF, and does look like whoever designed it was on acid.

      And the place is dark and cramped.

  24. kelleybelle says:

    Don MacLean has a reputation as being an arrogant dick, too. And American Pie is overrated. JMO. He’s a nobody still craving relevance.

  25. Eurydice says:

    Never mind reverence, they probably wouldn’t have a single thought about Elvis, unless maybe they saw the biopic or something. I mean Elvis is a legend, but he’s been dead for a long time and every generation has their own stars.

  26. tealily says:

    I don’t think anyone’s praising Elvis for his taste.

  27. MsIam says:

    Who is to say that if Elvis had lived he wouldn’t have gotten rid of that tacky stuff anyway? I just graduated high school right before he died so I grew up in the shag carpet, avocado green appliance era and I will be the first to say I hope that sh*t never comes back in style again. But people who are fans of Elvis are fans of his music, not necessarily his taste in home furnishings. In fact I think when he died in 1977 most of that stuff was on its way out of style anyway.

    • Lulu says:

      IDK if Elvis had the money to redecorate later in his life. After he died it was Pricilla who made the fortune by opening and monetizing Graceland.

    • Saucy&Sassy says:

      MsIam, I said much the same above. He wasn’t known for his decorating abilities. That’s a beautiful spot and the grounds are really lovely. I wish they would update the house–put in more windows and really update it. They can still put his stuff out, but it’s a shame not to keep that place up.

  28. Andrea says:

    Elvis’s whole family? You mean the child bride he groomed and neglected and the kid he ignored? In the mansion he built on music stolen from Black people, especially Black women? Harry was right.

  29. Arhus says:

    I agree with you and McLean. Also, I feel like photos of the places nobility in England show are dated and dark. But they got their (updated) furniture in the 30’s rather than the 60’s/70’s. And yeah, his interior designer probably was on acid! Why not, man!

  30. filledelettres says:

    This is one of those news items that only serves to remind one that absolutely everybody involved in a story is terrible: Harry could have side-eyed literally anything else about Elvis, not least of all that his success relied on the exploitation of others, but being an aristocrat, of course he chose the ~tacky~ decor of those less entrenched into wealth and power than he is. Meanwhile, Don McLean is right that Harry came off as an arrogant ignoramus, but his defense of Elvis at his wealthiest serves only to remind one just how much Don and Elvis have in common, not least of all their use of their eventual wealth and power to escalate their abuses of others.

    • Saucy&Sassy says:

      filledelettres, have you been to Graceland? I have and I totally agree with Harry. Does that make me an arrogant ignoramus?

      • filledelettres says:

        Listen, you could not pay me to see Graceland for reasons entirely unrelated to the decor, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s absolute rubbish, too. But I also wasn’t born into wealth and power, let alone literal aristocracy entrenched into the most expansive colonial empire in history, so it would be a little bit different for me to decide the interior decor absolutely deserved a passing remark, wouldn’t it. Now, is it fair that part and parcel of being raised into the inordinate wealth and power that ostensibly confers ‘good taste’ is also refraining more than most from commenting on what you perceive as ‘bad taste’, lest you appear to be showing your ass in public — even you think it’s really, REALLY bad, and even if you think EVERYONE would agree with you? It sure isn’t, because it’s entirely to your advantage!

    • Kit says:

      Sure Harry could have played the populist “I’m with the poor” and really admired Graceland decor. But instead, he was honest and stated he didn’t care for it.

      McLean, Mr. Big NRA supporter (except when it’s inconvenient) OTOH, jumped on the populist bandwagon and tried to be the poor man’s champion here by standing up for what exactly? Graceland interior decorations that haven’t aged well? And yeah, not sure poor people want Graceland’s to be considered their signature style, then or now. McLean watched way too many episodes of Beverley Hillbillies.

      I’m not a blue blooded aristocrat or of loyal lineage, but I also think Graceland is OTT fun house reflecting the drug fueled craziness of Elvis in his last decade. Elvis was a mess those years.

    • Kit says:

      Sure Harry could have played the populist “I’m with the poor” and really admired Graceland decor. But instead, he was honest and stated he didn’t care for it.

      McLean, Mr. Big NRA supporter (except when it’s inconvenient) OTOH, jumped on the populist bandwagon and tried to be the poor man’s champion here by standing up for what exactly? Graceland interior decorations that haven’t aged well? And yeah, not sure poor people want Graceland’s to be considered their signature style, then or now. McLean watched way too many episodes of Beverley Hillbillies.

      I’m not a blue blooded aristocrat or of loyal lineage, but I also think Graceland is OTT fun house reflecting the drug fueled craziness of Elvis in his last decade. Elvis was a mess those years.

    • Eurydice says:

      Harry doesn’t seem to have said anything that thousands of other people have said. And he hasn’t been all that complimentary about the royal palaces, either.

    • Joyful Liluri says:

      I’m sorry. What?

      Everyone in this is horrible? So – Harry is horrible?

      Because he recognized shit taste that was considered gaudy and gauche and tacky at the time? Because he lived in and had spent time in palaces, so he was punching down when he called a dead man’s atrocious decor awful? Harry is allowed to have opinions and those opinions don’t necessarily revolve around his status as an aristocrat. The man ran through the bush barefoot because his friend told him to follow an animal with the camera. He stayed at their home, lived in barracks without hot water while deployed and a derelict cottage that was deemed too crappy for servants. He also had some things to say about the drafty castles that he spent time in. Was that shitty too?

      Harry has worked hard to better himself as a human being and to become aware of the prejudices, biases and isms that white people are baked with.

      He’s not horrible for expressing a simple opinion regarding a place known for its horrific decor. Stop trying to make him look shitty for stating the obvious.

      • filledelettres says:

        Lmao, yes, it comes off horribly for a literal member of the landed gentry to go inspect the home of some nouveau riche racist paedophile and come after the poor taste in DECOR. Like, be for real. He not only chose to tour Graceland, but decided to comment on the one thing about it he ought to know better than to ever utter as an aristocrat. Of course people are going to clown him about it, and of course even Don McLean will milk it for being able to sound mildly sensible for about two milliseconds.

  31. Bad Janet says:

    I mean, Graceland is a weird place. IYKYK. 😂 I thought Harry’s comments were funny and not meant to insult “the peoples king,” just differences in regional/generational tastes. These were two very different ideas of a king.

    If we really want to go there, one was a colonizer, the other took artistic style from Black artists and popularized it.

  32. Maybe says:

    “There was a constant state of fear in the house about the slightest thing [that] would make my dad turn into a crazy person,” Jackie McLean says about her famous father:

  33. CM says:

    YES @Kingston!!! 🙌🏼. Yes.

  34. Kit says:

    Well Don McLean is a very BIG NRA supporter. McLean used that trope of “poor man’s king” to bash Harry is a classic populist move right there. So Trumpy.

    First off, I really hate this assumption by people that poor people have trashy taste, even when they get rich. Poor people, just like anyone else, are not of one note. My dad’s family grew up poor. Like the kind that lived in the original log cabin the family built generations ago that fitted a family of five in 750 sq feet. He was the first in the entire extended family to win a full scholarship to a state university. His dad didn’t use the GI bill to go to university. He got a job working in a naval shipyard instead after WW2. My grandfather never finished HS you see. But you know what, even when they had money to “decorate”, my grandmother loved all the handcrafted wooden furnishings, curtains, tablecloths, rugs and crockery. She knitted, loomed, and quilted. We have many of those pieces today. Today, these pieces are valued and loved by interior designers as “American folk art”. Back in the 60’s and 70’s, shag rugs, and the dog-playing-poker tapestry were considered modern, edgy, on trend, along with lots of brass and gilt. It was the bohemian rich and wannabes that made that stylish. You see spillage into fashion and home decorating of the time. It’s back today as vintage kitsch.

    It wasn’t poor man’s style. It was style of the time reflecting the flipping of culture, aka, counter culture of the 60’s and early 70’s. Just like the shabby chic craze or today’s “mad men” retrostyle (back then, the acid tie-dye, leather fringe, shag stuff was a reaction to the corporate mad men in grey suit).

    McLean pulled this stereotype and then used it as a populist truncheon thinking yeah, “I’m going to do a ‘hillbilly elegy’ move here.” It’s classic dog whistle. Don’t fall for it.

    McLean is using poor people to beat others with. That’s an opportunistic, cheap shot. So f**k him.

  35. Nedsdag says:

    Why should I listen to or take seriously someone who wears a dead raccoon on his head and is basically a one-hit wonder (I know about his song “Vincent”, but you get my drift)?

  36. therese says:

    But why pick Harry to complain about, and why say that he’s never done anything? Harry is the epitome of not resting on your laurels and trying to do something good with your life. I’m tired of people objectifying H&M and trying to use them to be relevant. At any rate, I appreciate the comments, and it was educating. I looked up Ray Charles’ opinion of Elvis, and Big Momma Thornton on You Tube. Love Big Momma Thornton and her rendition of Hound Dog.

  37. Kit says:

    I’ve noticed a popular trend among some of our aging entertainers like Judi Dench, John Cleese, Jeremy Clarkson, Ted Nugent, etc. to dig into their politics and culture war by decrying against wokism and what not.

    There’s John Cleese who’s desperately trying to be relevant getting huffy and lecturing younger generations because supposedly they can’t handle racist tropes and the N word usage in his old sitcom. As if black people were ok to be called by the N word in 1970’s England? And Judi there with her head shaking about trigger warning. Oh my, pretty sure movie rating falls into that category. Judi wants to be grand dame, now that she is one, but she forgets her world isn’t one the viewing public, or even her fans, inhabits. You’d think she’d climb a more relevant rooftop to shout her culture war from.

    But there you have it. Add McLean to the list. I’m a “boomer” and yeah, I’m embarrassed. I think these people are exactly who they are when they were young as when they are old. The public didn’t see it because they were too busy climbing the success ladder. Now, they are comfy and rich enough to play the whole wise sage schtick. Sigh.

  38. Livila says:

    I went to Graceland and found it garish and oppressive… as have other family/friends who’ve been (also from UK). I’m a U.K. person moved to USA before going to Graceland and my trips to Ashley’s and roomstogo prepared me for 70s American decor. It’s a lot! Not my taste. Cultural clash. ^_^

  39. Chelsea says:

    He’s right that Harry probably is ignorant of Elvis’ backstory but the idea that him making a couple dumb jokes about the decor at Graceland means he doesn’t get America or is insulting America is ridiculous and the kind of stupidity you get from white Americans who themselves don’t like facing Elvis’ backstory. They like to pretend that he invented entire genres of music that he stole from Black people and they don’t like dealing with the fact that a significant part of this country doesn’t view Elvis as a God but as a thief who groomed a teenager so it’s no surprise at all that he’s so triggered over something as insignificant as this.

  40. Lisa says:

    When I was a very little girl my grandma liked his music and I can dance to anything.
    When I became a teen Chuck D came on the scene & I started looking into his words as they weren’t taught in school & well I agree with Chuck D. Elvis was a icon for many, but in reality he stood on the backs of black singers, while stealing their culture. I do tend to go easier on him than John Wayne, who was a total pos. Elvis was also a victim to the music industry in ways. However the whole Priscilla thing just makes him really uncomfortable and icky.

  41. Tsar says:

    Wife-beater Don McClean defends pederast Elvis Presley against criticism of his home decor.