Saturday, January 14, 2023

It's A Saturday Double Feature!!!


Elvis Presley 50th Anniversary of Elvis Aloha From Hawaii January 14th   

By Harvey Kubernik

© Copyright 2022      

Gary Pig Gold Writer / Musician: Elvis and the 50th State long enjoyed a close relationship – 1961's USS Arizona benefit concert then box-office-busting Blue Hawaii, not to mention Paradise, Hawaiian Style five years later (actually, perhaps we shouldn't mention that one) – and the islands had frequently been a favored vacation spot for The King and his courtiers. It seems only fitting then that what turned out to be Elvis' final, and perhaps biggest of all bangs beamed clear 'cross the universe out of the Honolulu International Convention Center Arena minutes after midnight on January 14, 1973. Twenty-three songs in just under 80 minutes with 6,000-plus in attendance, $75,000 raised for the Kui Lee Cancer Fund, $2.5 million in production costs, over a quarter-million double QuadraDisc™ soundtrack albums moved within ten days ... and, most Earth-shattering – literally! – of all at the time? A satellite viewing audience 'in excess of one billion people.' At least according to the Colonel. 

Whatever these numbers may truly be, the performance itself was truly extraordinary; the TCB Band by this point having spent countless Instamatic flashcube-illuminated hours on stage honing their sets to a flawless peak-and-valley-then-peak-again running order. And to demonstrate just how seriously Elvis himself took this event can be judged via his even more punishing than usual pre-Aloha fitness regimen: Drastically increased daily karate workouts under the supervision of Master Kang Rhee helped along with, according to those nearby, megavitamin vials, large quantities of protein drink, weighted racquetball workouts, diet pills by the handful, mineral water by the gallon and a daily injection understood to include the urine of a pregnant woman.

Nevertheless, come show time Elvis had 'dropped down to 165 pounds; thin as a rake and more handsome than ten movie stars' in the wise guy words of Memphis Mafioso Sonny West. All the better then to fill Bill Belew's custom 'white American Eagle' jumpsuit ... the $10,000 cape from which Elvis sailed clear into the audience at the conclusion of 'Can't Help Falling In Love.' 

Gary picked his 100 favorite Elvis recordings a short while back ...

You can view that list here:

HARVEY KUBERNIK:  I’ve always enjoyed listening to Elvis Presley’s Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite, which was a concert broadcast that he headlined, and an international live event via satellite on January 14, 1973.   

The show took place at the Honolulu International Center in Honolulu and aired in over 40 countries across Asia and Europe. Presley made history as the first solo entertainer to do a live concert beamed internationally.    

 In March, 2013, RCA Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment released Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite: Legacy Edition, a re-mastered edition soundtrack from world's first full-length concert satellite broadcast on January 1973.  A second CD is also included, a remixed and re-mastered rehearsal show edition of the early “dress rehearsal” show. In addition, this Presley retail configuration now has five bonus songs recorded at 3:00 a.m. in behind-closed doors session.  

The 40th anniversary of the historic one-hour satellite broadcast of Elvis Presley from the Honolulu International Center Arena in January, 1973, viewed by over 1.5 billion people worldwide, is now documented with this double CD, another pivotal moment in a storied life.   

Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite: Legacy Edition marks the first time that both shows performed by Elvis, as released separately in 1973 (the original double-LP Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite) and 1988 (the CD The Alternate Aloha), have been coupled together in one package.  At the same time, the show that The Alternate Aloha was based on has been completely remixed from the original multi-track tapes.

The repertoire on this 2013 Aloha configuration contains “See See Rider,” “Burning Love,” a rendition of George Harrison’s “Something,” a stellar reading of “You Gave Me A Mountain,” made famous by Marty Robbins, a couple of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller tunes, “Love Me” and “Hound Dog,” “Blue Suede Shoes” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” all displaying Elvis in top vocal form. Also memorable are his live takes on “Fever,” “What Now My Love,” “Suspicious Minds” and “I’ll Remember You.”       

The musicians backing Presley in his Hawaiian performances are: Guitar: James Burton; Guitar: John Wilkinson; Guitar & Vocals: Charlie Hodge; Bass: Jerry Scheff; Drums: Ronnie Tutt; Piano and Glen Hardin. Vocal support came from J.D. Sumner & The Stamps, The Sweet Inspirations, and Kathy Westmoreland, all collectively augmented by The Joe Guercio Orchestra.  

Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite was the first time that a full-length concert was aired around the world and it was the most expensive up until then.  Over 6,000 fans were in attendance for both shows at the H.I.C. (now known as the Blaisdell Arena).  Presley’s fondness for Hawaii had first been demonstrated in March, 1961, when he raised $62,000 with a concert at the Bloch Arena, toward the funding of the USS Arizona Memorial. 

The Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite concert that was actually heard was a second show, that started at 12:30 a.m. in Hawaii on Sunday morning, January 14, 1973.  Elvis delivered 24 songs that pulled tunes from every phase of his career. 

In the U.S., the broadcast was, in fact, postponed so as not to conflict with MGM's Elvis On Tour.  When Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite was finally broadcast in the U.S. on April 4th, the Nielsen ratings had the show in 33.8% of homes and reaching 51% of those watching television. 

The double-LP immediately sped up the charts, taking the #1 spot in Billboard's May 5th issue, knocking Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon out of the top spot.  It remained on the chart for 52 weeks, and was certified 5-times platinum by the RIAA.  The album was Elvis' first #1 since the Roustabout movie soundtrack from January, 1965.

Accompanying the two-CD set is a booklet with rare photos and a new liner notes essay written by BBC presenter, producer and musician Stuart Colman.   Coleman’s text details the back story behind this Presley booking:

Aloha From Hawaii wasn't the first global satellite broadcast; that honor had already been apportioned to a rudimentary arts magazine known as Our World. But it was the first of its kind to be transmitted in color and the first to be recorded for release in Quadraphonic Sound. It might be hard to comprehend now, but 'in person' location recordings were still in their infancy when the extravaganza began to take shape. 

It didn't take long for the plaudits to roll in. Viewing figures from the Far East broke all records, and the media reaction to Elvis having made television and entertainment history was one of respect and admiration. The Quadraphonic double-album of the show was released the first weekend in February, and it dominated the charts, reaching #1 on both the pop and country charts in the United States. Due to demand and the possibility of a long shelf life, the albums were eventually released in standard two-track stereo.

“One of the key factors to the success of the venture was the little-trumpeted fact that Elvis had done the show for charity. There was no admission charge, just voluntary contributions for cancer research in the name of a Hawaiian singer/songwriter named Kui Lee who died in 1966.” 

Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite was broadcast to more than 40 nations and broke viewing records in Japan, the Philippines, Korea, Hong Kong and Australia.  Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite, the double-LP containing all 24 songs from the broadcast, was rush released to arrive in stores the first week of February, 1973.  It debuted in the February 24th Billboard 200 albums chart, and sold a half-million units in its first four weeks. 

The single from the concert, Elvis' version of James Taylor's "Steamroller Blues," debuted in April and reached the Top 20, selling in excess of 400,000 copies, #10 in Cashbox and #17 in Billboard.   

It was a painstaking process to develop material that did not duplicate very much of his Live At Madison Square Garden concerts of June, 1972 (as heard on RCA/Legacy's most recent Prince From Another Planet commemorative 2-CD+DVD package, released November 2012). Nor did Elvis want to duplicate very much of his then-current MGM theatrical release, Elvis On Tour, filmed in March-April 1972, the Golden Globe award-winning film which turned out to be the final motion picture of his lifetime.  

Following the 12:30 show, at about 3:00 a.m., the ensemble regrouped (without an audience) to cut five additional songs exclusively for the U.S. broadcast, four of which originated on Elvis' old Blue Hawaii movie soundtrack of 1961: "Blue Hawaii," "Ku-U-I-Po," "No More," and "Hawaiian Wedding Song."  The fifth was Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain," emblematic of the contemporary folk-rock singer-songwriter boom to which Elvis was surprisingly well attuned in the '70s.  

It was not generally known at the time that the Friday evening (January 12th) dress rehearsal had also been recorded, as a safety backup.  Fifteen years later, in June, 1988 (more than a decade after Elvis' death), the show was finally issued on CD as The Alternate Aloha.   

In 1972, Presley gave a sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden in New York. Next was a further renaissance in his career with the Dennis Linde-written hit single “Burning Love.”  This was followed by Elvis On Tour, a road documentary. Then Colonel Parker touted his plans regarding a global satellite broadcast event that would “allow the whole world the chance to see a Presley concert.”     

In early 1973, Elvis Presley was performing at one of the highest peaks of his career, and this new expanded soundtrack proves it.

Aloha co-producer Ernst Mikael Jørgensen suggests in his essential research guide, Elvis Presley: A Life In Music (St. Martin's Press, 1998): "The immense pressure of being beamed live to one billion people didn't seem to faze Elvis a great deal; showing little evidence of nerves, he was highly focused, and he executed a flawless set that sparkled with all the flash of his image.  The unparalleled media attention and size of the audience, not to mention the worldwide number one album that followed, were perhaps the most effective statement ever engineered of one artist's worldwide power."

Danish record executive, producer, author and Elvis Presley catalog guru Ernst Jorgensen has been a seminal force in the revival and inspection of Presley’s body of audio work for a decade. He has overseen and co-produced Presley box sets, including The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll From Nashville to Memphis, Walk a Mile in My Shoes, and Platinum: A Life in Music, all nominated for the Grammy Award while exceeding sales of over a million copies.

[NOTE:  Portions of this article appeared in 2013 for Record Collector News magazine and are not available online.

2013 Interview Harvey Kubernik and Ernst Jorgensen  

HK: In preparing this expanded re-release of the original landmark event, what sort of reactions and initial observations came to you in assembling the project?

EJ: The main issue here was completeness - to gather in one package both shows and also include the five extra songs Elvis recorded exclusively for the US broadcast.

HK: Can you tell me anything about the original engineers? Were they RCA staff engineers or chosen by Elvis?

EJ: This was recorded by RCA staff engineers and because of Elvis' producer Felton Jarvis' illness, RCA's A&R person Joan Deary oversaw the recording project.

HK: In reviewing concert tapes of Elvis post ’68 Comeback Special, what strikes you most about his live shows and band that we hear on this 1973 endeavor?   

EJ: Normally Elvis would chat a lot on his shows, especially in Las Vegas, but this is a very tight show, with as many songs as you could squeeze into the time frame of the show.  Elvis at his most determined and professional might be the best way to describe this.

HK: Can you add anything about the sort of concert repertoire captured on this new re-release? How did Elvis usually select his set list?

EJ: Since Elvis had just recently released a live album (from Madison Square Garden) it was important to include new repertoire - especially for the record release. Some of these had already been incorporated in the repertoire back in August (but not recorded) and some were added during rehearsals. The list of songs for the rehearsals is quite extensive, and with an eye to unreleased songs, it was also a question of flow in the program that Elvis was very aware of.

HK: Is there anything you can offer in terms of the restoration process as far as assembling tapes and the full concept you have edited and compiled?  

EJ: We wanted to have the original album in the mix it was originally released in. As for the rehearsal show, we were less enthusiastic about the earlier release, and decided to re-mix the show

HK: Elvis has always had a special relationship with Hawaii. Did you feel that as well?

EJ: We certainly know he did - he went there often for both filming of his movies and later for his holidays. Whether it has any consequence for the actual is less likely.

HK: Can you offer some observations about Elvis doing this revolutionary TV broadcast as opposed to his live shows. Did the technical preparation or collaboration take on a bigger undertaking as it was a new technical forum for broadcast. Elvis and the band rose to the occasion.

EJ: I think the most important issue here was to be able to show the world - not just the U.S. - what an Elvis Presley show was like. Ultimately to sell a lot of records. It was always of the utmost importance for Elvis' manager, Colonel Parker, to do something for Elvis that maintained that his artist was on another level than any other performer. The Colonel also knew that Elvis delivered his best if he was challenged.

HK: Can you compare and contrast the Elvis New York City Madison Square Garden 1972 live recording with this 1973 live recording in Hawaii? As far as quality, performances, tape results, and the growth of Elvis still as a stage performer.

EJ: There is only seven months between the two events, so I think it's hard to talk about growth - both represent challenges to Elvis (he didn't think New York would like him), so Aloha is possibly only a step up in the circumstances of the show - the magnitude of a worldwide live broadcast - that he could deliver a flawless performance under even that kind of pressure.

HK: One question about CD and vinyl. How has the Elvis catalogue benefited from the CD formats as much of his early work was out on 45’s and album vinyl. The master tapes from his recording career seem to be in perfect shape and easy to transfer.

EJ: We have worked on the ambition that we can always get the sound closer to what the original intent was by using the right equipment, analyze flaws coming from digital transfers - and we believe we have gotten better at - the goal is to hear the same on the CD as you hear on the original master tapes. Sounds easy, but it isn't. Tapes were recorded on different equipment, with various technical issues, but in general the tapes are brilliant.

HK: Can you provide some reflections about the Elvis early and mid-70s live and studio catalogue. I think in general the reporting and documentation overlooked some real gems and great band playing.

I saw five or six Presley shows in California during 1970-1976, and with the exception of the last one, his voice sounded great. I did write a story in ’76 for Melody Maker suggesting Elvis retire from the world of touring owing to obvious health issues I witnessed on stage. But this ‘73 concert collection presents an entertainer and not just the rocker most everyone, especially reviewers, still wanted him to remain.          

[It was former RCA publicist Grelun Landon, who headed Public Affairs for the label in Hollywood, who arranged for me to attend a slew of Elvis 1971-1976 concerts and meet Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Landon also invited me to tour the RCA recording facilities with Presley entourage members and RCA executives. Elvis had recently been in one RCA studio room cutting vocals. In early January, 1973, I watched the initial live feed broadcast of his landmark satellite concert from Hawaii, released to retail outlets as Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite, which celebrates a 50th anniversary in mid-January 2023. Imagine hearing Elvis Presley’s magnificent voice isolated on those big Altec 604E Super Duplex speakers while actually being inside the environs of RCA, where Andrew Loog Oldham produced the 1964-1967 recording sessions of the Rolling Stones. - HK]   

EJ: I think all journalists and many fans basically wanted to still see Elvis as a rock ‘n’ roll artist, where Elvis himself strived for a bigger musical stance including ALL the music he loved - in many ways I think in his own mind, he may have felt that the summer of 1970 - the making of That’s The Way It Is, was his own crowning achievement: The repertoire, band, the freedom to perform exactly what he wanted to.

HK: Why does Elvis and particularly his musical recordings still endear and endure?    

EJ: Elvis’ life story is fascinating - it's in some ways a tragedy, and yet it's full of glorious moments of achievement. At the bottom of it all is however that he was a brilliant singer.

You'll find more Elvis news here ... 


PLEASE NOTE:  Today's Elvis Anniversary Feature was planned well in advance.  There was absolutely NO way we could have possibly predicted the totally unexpected and shocking death of Lisa Marie Presley this past week ... and I would be remiss in at least not mentioning it.

The news just came out of nowhere.  So sad to think that Elvis' little girl is gone.  Today we remember the glory days of Elvis' ALOHA FROM HAWAII television concert event ... and the joy that Lisa Marie brought into his life.  Happier times for sure.  (kk)



And this, from Chuck Buell’s “This Forgotten Hits Day in History” Calendar!


It was on this day, January 14, 1956, that one of the All-Time Classic Forgotten Hits from Bill Haley and the Comets, “See You Later, Alligator,” debuted on the Billboard Charts!  (It would ultimately peak at #6 a month later.)


Just a few short years later, this Legendary Moment first took place in just one of many “Forgotten Hits Bars of Infamous Goodbyes ~~~”


To mark this historic occasion, here’s my “Chuck Buell Goodbyes Minute Medley!”

And with that, Gotta Go, Buffalo!

CB ( which stands for “ContriteGoodbyes Boy!” )

Friday, January 13, 2023

FRIDAY the 13th

Here’s something we’ve never done before …

No, it’s not a tribute to horror movies …

It’s looking back at EVERY Friday the 13th during The Top 40 Rock Era!!!

They don’t happen as often as you might think …

Most years only have one or two.

In fact, between 1955 and 1989, a span of 35 years, we had exactly 61 Friday the 13th’s …

And here is the #1 Record for each and every one of them!!!

(I love doing these time sweeps … as they show you just how much music changed over a specific period of time!)

What's especially cool about THIS list is that it is totally random ...

Friday the 13th's fall at different times each year.

For example:  1955, 1958, 1960, 1965, 1966, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986 and 1988 each only had ONE Friday the 13th all year …

While 1956, 1959, 1970, 1981, 1984 and 1987 each had THREE!!!

You can check out EVERY Friday the 13th #1 Record below ...

May 13, 1955 Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White - Perez Prado 
January 13, 1956 Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford
April 13, 1956 The Poor People Of Paris - Les Baxter
July 13, 1956 The Wayward Wind - Gogi Grant
September 13, 1957 Diana - Paul Anka
December 13, 1957 You Send Me - Sam Cooke
June 13, 1958 The Purple People Eater - Sheb  Wooley
February 13, 1959 Stagger Lee - Lloyd Price
March 13, 1959 Venus - Frankie Avalon
November 13, 1959 Mack The Knife - Bobby Darin
May 13, 1960 Stuck On You - Elvis Presley
January 13, 1961 Wonderland By Night - Bert Kaempfert
October 13, 1961 Hit The Road Jack - Ray Charles
April 13, 1962 Johnny Angel - Shelley Fabares
July 13, 1962 The Stripper - David Rose
September 13, 1963 My Boyfriend's Back - The Angels
December 13, 1963 Dominique - The Singing Nun
March 13, 1964 I Want To Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
November 13, 1964 Baby Love - The Supremes
August 13, 1965 I'm Henry VIII, I Am - Herman's Hermits
May 13, 1966 Monday, Monday - The Mamas and the Papas
January 13, 1967 I'm A Believer - The Monkees
October 13, 1967 The Letter - The Box Tops
September 13, 1968 People Got To Be Free - The Rascals
December 13, 1968 Love Child - Diana Ross and the Supremes
June 13, 1969 Get Back - The Beatles
February 13, 1970 Venus - Shocking Blue
March 13, 1970 Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel
November 13, 1970 I'll Be There - The Jackson Five
August 13, 1971 How Can You Mend A Broken Heart - The Bee Gees
October 13, 1972 Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me - Mac Davis
April 13, 1973 The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia - Vicki Lawrence
July 13, 1973 Will It Go Round In Circles - Billy Preston
September 13, 1974 Having My Baby - Paul Anka
December 13, 1974 Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas
June 13, 1975 Thank God I'm A Country Boy - John Denver
February 13, 1976 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover - Paul Simon
August 13, 1976 Don't Go Breaking My Heart - Elton John and Kiki Dee
May 13, 1977 Hotel California - The Eagles
January 13, 1978 How Deep Is Your Love - The Bee Gees
October 13, 1978 Kiss You All Over  Exile
April 13, 1979 I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
July 13, 1979 Ring My Bell - Anita Ward
June 13, 1980 Funkytown - Lipps, Inc.
February 13, 1981 Celebration - Kool and the Gang
March 13, 1981 I Love A Rainy Night - Eddie Rabbitt
November 13, 1981 Private Eyes - Daryl Hall and John Oates
August 13, 1982 Eye Of The Tiger - Survivor
May 13, 1983 Beat It - Michael Jackson
January 13, 1984 Say Say Say - Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
April 13, 1984 Footloose - Kenny Logins
July 13, 1984 When Doves Cry - Prince
September 13, 1985 St. Elmo's Fire - John Parr
December 13, 1985 Broken Wings - Mr. Mister
June 13, 1986 Live To Tell - Madonna
February 13, 1987 Open Your Heart - Madonna
March 13, 1987 Livin' On A Prayer - Bon Jovi
November 13, 1987 I Think We're Alone Now - Tiffany
May 13, 1988 Wishing Well - Terence Trent D'Arby
January 13, 1989 Every Rose Has its Thorn - Poison
October 13, 1989 Miss You Much - Janet Jackson