The late Lisa Marie Presley, the only daughter of Elvis Presley and his wife Priscilla, was born into a musical legacy. However, Lisa Marie has blazed her own trail as a songwriter. Lisa Marie’s music was raw. In her texts she processed her life experiences. None of her songs, however, was more poignant than the tune “Lights Out,” an ode to her family.” There she sang to them in Graceland’s meditation garden from an “empty seat” in the “damn lawn.”
Graceland in Memphis, TN is the family home of the Presley clan. Elvis bought Graceland in March 1957 at the age of 22. According to the home’s official website, he purchased the home and adjacent lot for $102,500.
Graceland allowed the entertainer to withdraw from the public eye. When Presley first bought the property, he lived at Graceland with his father Vernon, mother Gladys, and grandmother Minnie Mae. Several family members also lived at Graceland, including Elvis’ aunt Delta Presley Biggs, Vernon’s sister.
Presley also shared the home with his wife Priscilla, daughter Lisa Marie, friends and followers known as “The Memphis Mafia,” and later Linda Thompson. Lisa and her family, including the children Riley and Benjamin Keough and Harper and Finley Lockwood, regularly spent their holidays here. She called it her home.
However, Lisa was well aware that Graceland was also the place where family members were buried. She addressed these complicated feelings in her song “Lights Out.”
In 2003, Lisa Marie released an album entitled To whom it May concern. She wrote a song entitled “Lights Out” which was released as the lead single from the LP. It was an honest look at growing up in the spotlight as Elvis Presley’s daughter.
The lyrics read: “Somebody turned out the light over there in Memphis. That’s where my family is buried and gone. The last time I was there I noticed that there was a seat available. Next to it, there in Memphis. On the damn back lawn.”
Lisa Marie didn’t want “Lights Out” as the lead single. Ultimately, though, she decided it would help “clean up the air” about her life.
She told the New York Times, “I tried to be unpredictable and relate directly to my heritage. “My concern was that it would go against everything I’m trying to do now: do my own thumbprint. However, in the end I saw that it could help to clean the air.”
Lisa Marie spoke about the grim reality of looking out the back window of her home. It has a view that includes stables and horses and a family cemetery.
“Graceland’s back lawn is basically a graveyard. How many people have a family plot in their backyard? How many people are reminded of their fate, their mortality, every damn day?” she once told Express.
Graceland Cemetery is also called the Meditation Garden. Elvis, his parents Vernon and Gladys, and his grandmother Minnie Mae are all buried side by side in graves. There is also a marker for Elvis’ twin brother Jesse.
In October 2020, Lisa Marie’s son with husband Danny Keough, Benjamin, was buried at the family property. Graceland’s official Facebook page confirmed the news. Benjamin died in July 2020 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.