The Concert Seen Around the World: ‘Aloha from Hawaii’

Forty-five years ago, this month, Elvis made history in Hawaii. Elvis’ iconic special, “Aloha from Hawaii,” aired on January 14, 1973, and it was the first entertainment special by a solo artist to be broadcast live around the world. 1972 and 1973 were great years to be Elvis fans. In 1972, Elvis released the documentary “Elvis on Tour,” giving fans a good long look at his concerts and the work that went into producing them. In fact, the “Aloha from Hawaii” concert was supposed to take place in November 1972, but MGM, who produced the documentary, feared it was too close to the movie’s opening. “Aloha” was pushed to January 1973. The November 1972 concerts happened, anyway, but they weren’t filmed. Two press conferences were held to promote “Aloha.” The first was on September 4, 1972, in Las Vegas, followed by a second on at Hawaiian Hilton Village in November 1972. Elvis arrived in Hawaii on January 9, 1973, to begin rehearsals. Naturally, such a big production needed a few back-up plans and extra precautions. Elvis had two of the exact same jumpsuits made for the show, including one to wear in the dress rehearsal on January 12. In fact, that dress rehearsal was also filmed, just in case there were issues with the satellite broadcast and the rehearsal show needed to be broadcast instead. Elvis took the stage just after midnight, Hawaii time, on January 14. Naturally, Elvis wanted to use the concert to give back. There was no set ticket price for the concert; instead, donations were given. The more the donation, the better the seat. Elvis actually purchased a ticket for himself and his entourage at $100 each (which, with inflation, would be over $575 in today’s money). He asked that donations and merchandise sales go to the Kui Lee Cancer Fund, which had been established following the songwriter’s death in 1966. Lee wrote hits like “Ain’t No Big Thing,” “The Days of My Youth” and “I’ll Remember You,” which Elvis covered in many of his concerts, including in the “Aloha” special. The goal was to raise $25,000, but – of course – that goal was surpassed. A total of $75,000 was raised for the fund. Elvis’ “Aloha from Hawaii” aired in more than 40 countries across Asia and Europe. The special didn’t air in the United States on January 14, though. There was another major...
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ABCs of E(lvis) – The Trivia Game

This weekend is the Elvis Birthday Celebration at Graceland! We have a weekend full of special events and festivities to celebrate the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s birthday on January 8. How well do you know Elvis, his music, his movies and his personal life? Take the quiz below and find out if you know the ABCs of...
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Graceland’s Top 20 Moments of 2017

No matter what year it is, our New Year’s Resolutions here at Graceland are always the same: Celebrate the life and legacy of Elvis Presley. Find new and interesting ways to tell Elvis’ story so that it’s always fresh, even to Elvis fans who have visited the king’s castle a hundred times. Introduce Elvis to a new generation of fans. This year, 2017, we can say we did all those things – and on a much larger, more grand scale than ever before. This year, Graceland and Elvis fans celebrated Elvis in amazing ways that were – you guessed it – fit for a king. Let’s look at our best moments of 2017 – in no particular order! 20. Make Room in the Hall of Gold And with new music releases comes more awards for the king! At Elvis Week, Priscilla Presley accepted new Gold and Platinum Awards for Elvis’ two albums with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, “The Wonder of You” and “If I Can Dream.” The awards are now on display at – where else? – Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum. 19. New Elvis Tunes Can’t get your fix of Elvis? No worries – you had plenty of new music to keep you satisfied this year. If you love Elvis with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, you must own the new Christmas album, which pairs the orchestra’s beautiful arrangements with Elvis’ best holiday performances. Earlier this year, a new set, “Elvis Presley – A Boy From Tupelo – The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings,” celebrated the king’s earliest recordings. A vinyl package, “A Boy From Tupelo: The Sun Masters,” was also released in 2017 and featured Elvis’ Sun recordings. You can pick up all of these releases now at Shop Graceland, or at gift shops here at Graceland. 18. Elvis on Tour This year, you could travel across America, over to Europe and down to Australia and find an Elvis concert happening. Several tours celebrating Elvis’ collaboration with a live orchestra took place all around the world. The “Wonder of You” tour featured a live orchestra with Elvis on the big screen. Fans loved having the chance to see the king “live in concert” again. 17. Elvis on Tour: The Exhibition Dig deep into Elvis’ touring years at Elvis on Tour: The Exhibition, on display now at The O2 in London. This incredible exhibition showcases more than 200 artifacts from Elvis’ live shows and tours,...
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Elvis Presley and the Gold Cadillac Tour

Here at Graceland, we understand how thrilling it can feel to get up close and personal with the king’s things. Whether it’s the black leather suit from the ’68 special, the Pink Cadillac, his Grammy Awards or Graceland itself, fans love getting a glimpse of the things Elvis owned, loved and appreciated. And this trend didn’t start in 1982, when Graceland was opened to the public for tours. In 1965 and 1968, Elvis’ gold Cadillac hit the road to promote Elvis. The Cadillac was purchased from Southern Motors, Inc., of Memphis, for $11,064.25 on December 22, 1959 and delivered on December 29, 1959. Elvis put down a deposit of $2,000 for George Barris to customize it in November 1961, and he paid an additional $3,000 for more work in March 1962. Elvis was promoting his latest movie, “Tickle Me,” but his manager, Col. Tom Parker, knew he couldn’t send the very busy King of Rock ‘n’ Roll on the road for a promotional tour. Instead, he and RCA sent the Cadillac on tour in the spring of 1965. Gabe Tucker, driver and tour manager for RCA, helped oversee the project. The Cadillac’s 1965 spring tour made these stops in the Southeast: Rialto Theater, Atlanta, Georgia – May 28 – On display for four days. Estimated attendance: 50,000. Cobb Theater, Atlanta, Georgia – June 4 – Daytime display Estimated attendance: 5,000. Toco Theater, Atlanta, Georgia – June 4 – Evening display. Estimated attendance: 1.500. Lenox Square, Atlanta, Georgia – June 5 – Displayed for one day. Estimated attendance: 27,000. Belvedere Theater, Atlanta, Georgia – June 6 – Displayed for one day. Estimated attendance: 2,000. Dealer Showing, Atlanta, Georgia – June 8-11 – All dealers from the Atlanta region attended the showing. John Lee’s Music Store, Anderson, South Carolina – June 12 – On display for one day. Estimated attendance: 50,000. Broadcasters’ Convention, Calloway, Georgia – June 13 – On display for one day. Station managers and program directors from the area attended the convention to see the car. S&W Music Store, Aniston, Alabama – June 24 – On display for one day; no record of attendance. Eastwood Mall, Birmingham, Alabama – June 25 – On display for two days; no record of attendance. Roebuck Shopping Center, Birmingham, Alabama – June 26 – On display for the evening; no record of attendance. Capri Theater, Birmingham, Alabama – June 27 – On...
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Elvis Presley’s #1 Hits – Part 4

Performing to sold-out crowds of adoring fans. Winning awards and accolades. Topping the charts. Elvis Presley, like so many musicians before and since, had those same dreams – and he accomplished his goals in dazzling, legendary fashion. Elvis didn’t just top the charts once, or even a few times – he did it repeatedly. He scored so many No. 1 hits that we’re on part four of our series about Elvis’ hit singles. Check out part one, part two and part three – and now, on to part four. “Don’t” This you can believe I will never leave you Heaven knows I won’t Baby, don’t say don’t On September 6, 1957, Elvis was at Radio Recorders in Hollywood and was scheduled to record material for a Christmas album. It was September, though, and Elvis wasn’t in the Christmas spirit just yet. Instead he recorded “Don’t,” written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who wrote a slew of Elvis hits such as “Jailhouse Rock,” “Bossa Nova Baby,” “Trouble” and “Treat Me Nice.” Musicians Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana, Bill Black and Dudley Brooks perform on the track. Elvis’ regular back-up vocalist group, The Jordanaires, were teamed up with soprano Millie Kirkham for the first time at this session. “Don’t” was paired with “I Beg of You,” and the single was released in January 1958. The song topped the Billboard pop singles chart for five weeks. It performed well on other charts, too: “Don’t” peaked at No. 2 on the country chart, and it peaked at No. 4 in its 10-week run on the R&B chart. The track hit No. 2 on Britain’s pop singles chart, and it stayed on the charts for 11 weeks. “Hard Headed Woman” I got a woman, a head like a rock. If she ever went away I’d cry around the clock. Oh yeah, ever since the world began a hard headed woman been a thorn in the side of man. This hit single is from the “King Creole” soundtrack. It was written by Claude DeMetrius, and Elvis recorded it on January 15, 1958 – just a few days following his 23rd birthday – at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. Elvis had already received his military draft notice, but was allowed a deferment on his induction date to have time to make “King Creole,” since Paramount had already spent a lot of pre-production money on the movie. Elvis...
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