Alanis Morissette, Billy Corgan and Axl Rose were among those who paid tribute to Lisa Maria Presley during the public commemoration of the late singer yesterday (January 22).
The memorial service was held on the lawn in front of the Presley family’s Graceland House Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. Lisa Maria Presley, Elvis’ only daughter and sole heir to his fortune, died at the age of 54 on January 12 after a cardiac arrest at her home in Calabasas.
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. Graceland Gardens is also the resting place of Elvis, his parents Vernon and Gladys, and his grandmother Minnie Mae.
Rose began his tribute speech with a eulogy for his late friend. “I know Lisa loved her family very much and fiercely defended her father and his legacy,” said the Guns N’ Roses member. “I never imagined in a million years that I would be singing here under such circumstances.” Rose then performed a solo piano version of Guns N’ Roses’ 1991 song “November Rain”.
Axl Rose singing “november rain” at Lisa Presley memorial pic.twitter.com/io9RGnEMDg
— ؘ (@axlrosedaily) January 22, 2023
Earlier this month, Rose paid tribute to her friend in a statement after her death, saying that “her passing, just like her son or her father as a child, does not seem real.”
Corgan performed “To Sheila”, taken from The Smashing Pumpkins’ 1998 album “Adore”. “It would be a grief and on more levels than I can count,” Corgan, who collaborated with Presley on 2003’s “The Savior,” wrote on Instagram shortly after Presley’s death. “I really can’t find the words to express how sad it is.”
Morissette was accompanied by a pianist at a tribute performance of “Rest,” a single she released to commemorate 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 thoughts and the deep despair that mental illness can plunge us into,” Morissette explained.
Along with these performances, Presley’s memorial service featured musical performances by the Tennessee Mass Choir and the Blackwood Brothers, the latter of whom were friends with Elvis before his death.
Lisa Marie’s mother, Priscilla, led the eulogy of the service by reading a letter written by Lisa Marie’s eldest daughter, Riley Keough. “I have no idea how to describe my mother in words. The truth is that there are too many of them,” the letter says. “Mom was my icon, my role model. Even now I can’t convey everything that needs to be understood and learned about her.”
Next, Priscilla read a poem by Kio called “Old Soul”, in which Lisa Maria was described as “fragile but strong” and touched upon her “survivor’s guilt” after Benjamin’s death. “A broken heart was the cause of her death. Now she’s at home, where she’s always been… The old soul is always with me.”
Kio’s husband, Ben Smith-Petersen, continued the tribute with another letter. “I am eternally grateful for having spent 33 years with you,” Kio wrote. “I am sure that I have chosen the best mother in this world for myself, and I have known this for as long as I remember you and remember everything.”
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and talent manager Jerry Schilling also performed at the ceremony. Earlier this month, John Travolta, Pink, Garbage, Diane Warren and Bette Midler were among those who paid tribute to Lisa Marie. Austin Butler, who played Elvis in the biopic of the same name, described her as a “bright light” and remembered her “for her warmth, love and sincerity.”