The memorial service took place on the front lawn of the Presley family’s Graceland home and museum in Memphis, Tennessee. Lisa Marie Presley, the only daughter of Elvis and sole heir to his estate, died at the age of 54 on January 12 after suffering a cardiac arrest at her Calabasas home.
It was previously announced that Presley would be buried at the Graceland site next to her son, Benjamin Keough, who died at the age of 27 in 2020. The gardens of Graceland also provide the resting place for Elvis, his parents Vernon and Gladys, and his grandmother Minnie Mae.
Rose began his tribute performance with a eulogy for his late friend. “I do know Lisa loved her family very much, and was fiercely protective of her father and his legacy”, the Guns N’ Roses band member said. “I never in a million years imagined being here, singing under these circumstances”. Rose then performed a solo piano rendition of the 1991 Guns N’ Roses song, ‘November Rain’.
Axl Rose singing “november rain” at Lisa Presley memorial pic.twitter.com/io9RGnEMDg
— ؘ (@axlrosedaily) January 22, 2023
Earlier this month, Rose had paid tribute to his friend in a statement following her death, saying “her passing, just as her son’s, or as a kid, her father’s, doesn’t seem real”.
Corgan performed ‘To Sheila’, lifted from The Smashing Pumpkins’ 1998 album ‘Adore’. “This would be sorrow and on more levels than I can count,” Corgan, who collaborated with Presley on 2003’s ‘Savior’, wrote on Instagram shortly after Presley’s death. “I truly cannot find the words to express how sad this truly is.”
Morissette was accompanied by a pianist for her tribute performance of ‘Rest’, the single she released in commemoration of Mental Health Action Day and first debuted at Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington‘s memorial in 2017.
The track was “written specifically about those of us who struggle with depression and anxiety, isolation, suicidal ideation and the profound despair that mental illness can plunge us into”, Morissette explained.
Alongside those appearances, Presley’s memorial service saw musical performances by the Tennessee Mass Choir and The Blackwood Brothers, the latter of whom were friends with Elvis prior to his death.
Lisa Marie’s mother, Priscilla, led the service’s eulogies, reading a letter penned by Lisa Marie’s eldest child, Riley Keough. “I have no idea how to put my mother into words. Truth is there are too many”, the letter read. “mama was my icon, my role model. Even now I can’t get across everything there is to be understood and known about her”.
Priscilla went on to recite a poem written by Keough, titled The Old Soul, which described Lisa Marie as “fragile yet strong”, and touched on her “survivor’s guilt” following Benjamin’s death. “A broken heart was the doing of her death. Now she is home where she always belonged… The old soul is always with me.”
Keough’s husband, Ben Smith-Petersen, continued the tribute with another letter. “I am eternally grateful to have spent 33 years with you”, Keough wrote. “I’m certain I chose the best mother for me in this world and I knew that as far back as I remember you and I remember everything”.
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, and talent manager Jerry Schilling also spoke at the ceremony. Earlier this month, John Travolta, Pink, Garbage, Diane Warren and Bette Middler were among those to pay tribute to Lisa Marie. Austin Butler, who starred as Elvis in the namesake biopic, described her as a “bright light” and remembered her for “her warmth, her love and her authenticity”.