Tuesday 21 February 2023


Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii

In 2023 we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this first worldwide satellite concert by ONE MAN.  

Some interesting tidbits surrounding this historical broadcast:

  • There were other satellite concerts before and after Elvis. 
  • The satellite that would transmit the concert signal belonged to NBC and was very costly to hire. NBC was asked to host the Special and in return received the highest TV ratings for the year. 
  • The stage was made in L.A. and shipped to Hawaii.  
  • When the wife of Kui Lee heard that about Elvis' concert for her charity foundation, she had to go straight to the doctor for tranquilizers.
  • You cannot charge money for a TV audience, so donations were asked for each ticket.        
  • Aloha From Hawaii was the most expensive TV concert of its time at $2,5 million.
  • The rehearsal concert was set to be recorded at 20:30 on 12 January 1973 but by 19:00 six thousand fans had already stormed the venue and crammed into the available 5,300 seats. 
  • Elvis wanted a suit that said America. Initial ideas included the outline of a map or the star-spangled banner, but they eventually decided on the national bird. 
  • The live broadcast had to be just shy of an hour, after which the satellite feed would be cut off, so Elvis organised for Joe Esposito to be at the side of the stage with a flashlight to indicate when there were 10 minutes left.
  • The sound equipment of NBC and RCA combined overloaded the power. Two hours before the rehearsal concert the lights flickered on and off and the sound engineers went to borrow extra equipment from the Navy. A few minutes before the start of the show, there was a hum in the sound system, caused by the stage lights, and lead plates were obtained, again from the Navy, to counteract this.

There are many more fun facts, especially the 1.5 billion people having watched the broadcast, amongst others South Africa. (NOT!) At this point in time? Sure! The Parker marketing machine did the trick, though, and it's all now part of Elvis lore.