America said Aloha to Elvis Presley in between a trip to the Dark Side of the Moon and a visit to the Houses of the Holy when the once and future King’s Aloha from Hawaii album earned a berth between Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin atop the Billboard chart. Presley’s Honolulu concert of January 14, 1973, preserved on records by RCA, was monumental in every respect. The most expensive entertainment broadcast to that point in time, Aloha from Hawaii was viewed by an estimated audience of over one billion people. The RCA soundtrack has long been one of Presley’s most beloved concert recordings, and it’s returning once again for its 50th anniversary. A new 3CD/1Blu-ray edition arrives August 11 from RCA and Legacy.
Though initially aired via satellite to over 40 countries in Asia and Europe, the United States didn’t get to see Elvis in his splendor until April 4, 1973 due to a conflict with Super Bowl VII on January 14. But by the time the concert special aired in the U.S. on NBC, most fans’ appetites had already been whetted by the release of the double-LP set preserving the concert. Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite was released to stores by RCA on February 4, 1973, initially in the quadraphonic format only. It became the first quadraphonic album to top the Billboard chart, and was certified Gold shortly after its release. (A stereo release was first offered through the RCA Record Club before it supplanted the quadraphonic disc in shops.) In 2002, it was certified five times platinum.
For the performance at the Honolulu International Center, Elvis was backed by his regulars: the TCB Band (including James Burton, Jerry Scheff, Ronnie Tutt, John Wilkinson, Glen Hardin and Charlie Hodge), Joe Guercio’s orchestra, and vocalists Kathy Westmoreland, The Sweet Inspirations and J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet. All tickets for the concert and a January 12 rehearsal show would be on a ”pay what you can” basis benefiting the Kui Lee Cancer Fund, for which Presley raised over $75,000.00. Five additional songs were recorded by Presley after the concert to be inserted into the eventual U.S. broadcast, four of which, appropriately, came from his film Blue Hawaii. (One of these five, ”No More,” didn’t get an airing until the release of the 1978 album Mahalo from Elvis.)
This 50th anniversary edition produced by Ernst Mikael Jorgensen is the latest in a long line of Aloha releases. The original Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite album was first reissued on CD by RCA in 1984, and was joined in 1988 by The Alternate Aloha, containing the entire dress rehearsal performance. In 1998, Dennis Ferrante remixed Aloha from Hawaii for a 25th anniversary CD from RCA which included the five additional songs. A 40th anniversary Legacy Edition in 2013 paired the original album and The Alternate Aloha in one package for the first time, remixing both.
This new edition takes its cues from the audio contents of last year’s 3-CD release from the mail-order Follow That Dream label: the original album on CD 1 as newly remixed by Matt-Ross Spang, the dress rehearsal on CD 2 as reprised from the Legacy Edition, and multiple takes of the additional songs captured for the U.S. broadcast on CD 3, also newly remixed by Ross-Spang. New to this release, however, is the Blu-ray premiere of the original special. A 28-page booklet with liner notes by Randy Lewis is also included.
Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, TN will present Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii 50th Anniversary Concert on August 16, 2023 as part of the annual Elvis Week festivities. Earlier in the day, Legacy will host a free Aloha from Hawaii Q&A and Listening Event at the Guest House Theater at 1:00 pm. Tickets for the concert and the listening event are available now at ElvisWeek.com.
Look for the 50th anniversary release of Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite on August 11 from RCA/Legacy. A 2LP vinyl edition of the remixed original album will also be released the same day. You’ll find pre-order links and the track listing below. Elvis’ newly-remixed version of James Taylor’s ”Steamroller Blues” is streaming now.
Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite (50th Anniversary Edition) (originally released as Follow That Dream/RCA 506020-975164, 2022 – reissued RCA/Legacy, 2023)