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Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault

Bill Speros for Bookies.com

Bill Speros  | 6 mins

Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault

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HOLLYWOOD, Florida – If you want to find Elvis Presley’s will, you have to visit Rock ’N Roll Heaven.  

Thankfully, this journey doesn’t require celestial transportation.

Our version of Rock ’N Roll Heaven is located near the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. You can get there with four wheels. Or even two. 

The Hard Rock Memorabilia vault features more than 40,000 items commemorating all forms of music going back to the middle of the last century. The company has another 48,000 or so items on display at its properties worldwide. Rock. Pop. Rap. Country. Classical. R&B. Soul. Heavy Metal. It's in there. 

All the swag not featured in the resorts, hotels, casinos, and cafés bearing the iconic Hard Rock trademark is stored in this climate-controlled facility somewhere in South Florida. 


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The King, Prince, And Lots Of Royalty 

In order to get a peek inside the place that houses the suit worn by Prince in the “Purple Rain” video, a green suit worn by Ringo Starr, the very real bus featured in the Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour” movie, and several firearms owned by the King, you must first agree to secrecy as far as its exact location. 

Insurance and such, you know. 

The Hard Rock Memorabilia was opened recently for a small group of journalists. We were given free rein of the place, which covers several rooms and two floors in a nondescript, fenced facility. 

There is no museum in the world that contains as many guitars, especially those used by chart-topping artists since the Eisenhower administration. 

There’s nowhere else on earth you can find: Presley’s Last Will and Testament, the incorporation papers used by “Mamas and the Papas” when the musical group was formed, John Lennon’s keyboard, a 1960 Corvette once owned by Faith Hill, and the outfit was worn by Tupac Shakur hours before he was shot to death in Las Vegas in 1994. 


RELATED: Florida Sports Betting Update


Hiding In Plain Sight

Elvis’ will was hiding in plain sight during our visit, resting in an unlabeled box with dozens of other documents encased in plastic sheeting. 

Giovanni Taliaferro serves as the St. Peter of this Rock ’N Roll Heaven. 

“We’re storytellers,” said Taliaferro, whose official title is Vice President of Memorabilia and Design for Hard Rock International. “We celebrate all sorts of music here, rock, country, opera, gospel.” 

He’s not able to put a value on what fans or a particular artist would consider invaluable. 

How about the hand-written lyrics to “Imagine” penned in John Lennon’s hand? 

Or the hockey stick putter used by Adam Sandler in “Happy Gilmore”?

Or Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart's megaphone?

Or costumes worn on stage by the likes of Janet Jackson and Shakira?

“Value is in the eye of the beholder,” he said. “Art of any medium is subjective. These are our Mona Lisas.” 


Hard Rock Memorabilia Vault Photo Gallery 

Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault 1

Heavenly Strings: Among the hundreds of guitars on display at the Hard Rock Memorabilia vault: one used by the late Stevie Ray Vaughan; a double-neck Gibson played by Jimmy Page; and a six-stringer from the Eagles' Joe Walsh.  


Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault 2

For Those About To Rock: This pyrotechnic cannon was used by AC/DC on tour. 


Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault 3

Music Man: Vice President of Memorabilia and Design for Hard Rock International Giovanni Taliaferro talks shop while surrounded by a Prince's guitar, John Lennon's keyboard, and a guitar autographed by members of Aerosmith (inset). 


Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault 4

Roll Up: The bus used by the Beatles for their "Magical Mystery Tour" movie has been in the Hard Rock collection since 1986.


Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault 5

Touchdown: Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Snoop Dog represented different NFL teams on stage. Tyler's Patriots jersey was a size XXL. He may well be the Patriots starting QB in 2024. 


Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault 6

Mail Call: You never know what's going to arrive in the mail each day at the Hard Rock Memorabilia Vault. 


Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault 7

On The Record: Elvis' will sits in a box on the second floor of the Hard Rock Memorabilia Vault in South Florida, alongside the incorporation papers used by the Mamas and the Papas.


Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault 8

Shot Clock: Elvis Presley fired a bullet through this small TV screen. The King had multiple firearms, some of which can be found inside the Hard Rock Memorabilia Vault. 


Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault 9

Prince's Reign: The outfit worn by Prince (seen in the 1984 'Purple Rain' video) rests inside the Hard Rock Memorabilia Vault amid scores of other items worn by his fellow music legends. 


Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault 10

Toys In The Attic: Michael Jackson's 1984 Top Male Artist Soul/RB American Music Award trophy rests on a table featuring other Jackson-themed items inside the Hard Rock Memorabilia Vault.  


Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault 11

Music City: Three of the four walls inside the main room of the Hard Rock Memorabilia Vault are covered in guitars. 


Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault 12

Play Mate: The mannequin and yellow dress featured on Aerosmith's "Just Push Play" cover stands alone in the Vault. 


Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault 13

Pony Up: Some artists were more willing to give of themselves than others. The late Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Deal donated his ponytail. 


Hard Rock Holds Keys To 'Rock 'N Roll Heaven' Inside Music Memorabilia Vault 14

Tuned Up: This 1960 Corvette once owned by country music star Faith Hill made its way to the Hard Rock via a sale on eBay. The Hard Rock team has since verified it was once owned by Hill.


Putting It All Together 

A large part of Taliaferro’s job is procuring – through various means – the memorabilia stored here and used across the Hard Rock Empire. 

Hard Rock won't sell any memorabilia it acquires. It does, at times, swap items with certain artists depending on the circumstances. 

Hard Rock held the famous “Dodgers” jersey worn by Elton John and featured prominently in the film “Rocketman”. John wanted it back. After making a deal with the star that brought back some more Elton swag and included a donation to John’s featured charity, Taliaferro had to personally fly the threads across the pond to the UK.

Taliaferro flew back to the States with a Gucci shawl lapel jacket worn by the pop icon throughout his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour.

Hard Rock has a partnership with the New York Yankees. Once, Taliaferro had to travel with each Yankees World Series ring and he had to check those rings and that jersey through TSA, just like the rest of us. 

“I was freaking out,” he said. 

Next time, maybe he could take the “Magical Mystery Tour” bus. 

About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.