Elvis Presley’s ‘Aloha From Hawaii’ Was the First Performance to Do This

by Madison Miller
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The image of Elvis Presley wearing an all-white jumpsuit emblazoned with an embroidered red, white, and blue eagle, as well as a red lei on his neck, has remained an iconic pop culture image.

This Presley image is from his live broadcast special, “Aloha from Hawaii” on January 14, 1973.

‘Aloha From Hawaii’ Record-Breaking

According to the Graceland site, this was the very first entertainment special by a solo artist that was broadcast live all around the world. It aired in over 40 countries on that day all across Asia and Europe. However, it didn’t air in the U.S. on January 14 because it was the same day as Super Bowl VII. That seems to just be a bit of poor planning.

“Aloha From Hawaii” instead reached Elvis Presley’s millions of fans in the U.S. on April 4. Despite some scheduling issues, the special showed up on the screens of somewhere between 1 and 1.5 billion viewers.

Elvis Presley had two of the same exact iconic jumpsuit with him in Hawaii. One was used for the dress rehearsal and the other was for the actual performance. He went on stage at about midnight in Hawaii time.

The concert donated all sales to the Kui Lee Cancer Fund. The event raised $75,000. Presley had covered many of Kui Lee’s songs over the years, including “Ain’t No Big Thing,” “The Days of My Youth,” and “I’ll Remember You.”

Other songs he performed during the broadcast were “Burning Love,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Hound Dog,” “Fever,” “You Gave Me a Mountain,” and “See See Rider.” It was truly a major high point in “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s” career.

Elvis Presley and Hawaii: A Burning Love

Elvis Presley had a lifelong love for Hawaii. Besides filming his broadcast concert there, Presley had spent a lot of time in the tropical state.

In fact, Presley loved Hawaii so much he tried to incorporate it in his home in Graceland. He created what is known as “The Jungle Room.” This room is full to the brim with tiki-inspired decorations.

The Hawaii-themed room had an artificial waterfall, green shag carpeting, plastic plants, rainbow lights, and animal fur. Presley declared himself the “king of the jungle.”

According to Hawaii Magazine, Presley filmed, “Blue Hawaii” (1961), “Girls! Girls! Girls!” (1962), and “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” (1966) all in his favorite state. Some locations for filming included Ala Moana Beach Park, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Waikīkī Beach, Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, and the Polynesian Cultural Center in Lāʻie.

There has been a life-size statue of Elvis Presley outside the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu since 2007. This is also the location of “Aloha From Hawaii.” He is wearing that same iconic outfit, this time in bronze, with a colorful lei around his neck.

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