Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite
Aloha From Hawaii might well be described as the Colonel’s magnum opus – and, from the standpoint of many longtime Elvis fans, certainly, Elvis’ as well. Colonel Parker had come up with this triumph of marketing legerdemain some time earlier. He had gotten the idea of a live one-man show broadcast around the world via satellite transmission from the live broadcasts of President Nixon’s historic trip to China the previous February. When he first announced it in July, he declared, “It is Elvis’ intention to please all of his fans throughout the world” – and since it was “impossible for us to play in every city” throughout the world, this was by implication as close as they would ever get. It was in essence a forerunner of Live Aid and its various global successors, an enterprise of technological sweep and ambition vastly beyond any “event” like Live At Madison Square Garden. It also – and not at all coincidentally in the Colonel’s scheme of things – served to motivate Elvis, rousing him from his depression, causing him to lose weight and genuinely invest himself in the enterprise. The musical result, shot in Honolulu on January 14, 1973, was somewhere between grand and grandiose, depending upon the individual point of view. As it turned out, it was transmitted directly to most countries in the Far East on the night of the show, to twenty-eight European countries linked by EuroVision later in the day, and to the U.S. (in a somewhat different format) some three months later, where it got a 57 percent audience share. RCA and Colonel Parker claimed a billion worldwide viewers, the album reached Number One in most markets, and it was (and remains) an almost incomparable commercial success, selling more than two million copies initially in the U.S. alone.
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