Thursday, February 21, 2013

Elvis lives!

I just saw him at the corner 7-11 buying a bag of chips and a Slurpee. I guess he's everywhere, judging from the number of impersonators I see advertised. There's a big celebration taking place in Hawaii this week, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the world's first satellite-live television broadcast, Aloha From Hawaii. It's claimed that it's the most watched television show ever. It was also a quintuple-platinum album on RCA label. It's been released on video tape, CD, DVD, and even had a chocolate version (non-playing, of course) released. In 1988 RCA released The Alternate Aloha, a CD of the dress rehearsal.

Elvis Aron Presley died in 1977, four years after the huge extravaganza in Honolulu. Reportedly his estate makes more money today than he made while he was living. The imitators wasted no  time in jumping on the bandwagon. I had just moved to Nashville when he passed, and got called to do a recording session featuring a singer named Elvis Wade, singing his composition, The King Is Gone. He wrote it in a day, and it roared to number three on the charts being replaced by another singer's recording, Memories of the King. It seems a lot of entertainers are making a living by giving fans their Elvis fix.

All this leads to why I brought all this up: I had the pleasure of playing on that performance/broadcast. It was a huge deal, hours of rehearsal crammed into a very short time, late nights (I copied the orchestra parts for one number he wanted to add at the last minute, pulling a near one-nighter then having to work the show the next day). The staging was spectacular, and Elvis was really on, performing at his best. An announcement was made in the press that both versions of the concert, Aloha From Hawaii and The Alternate Aloha are to be released this spring as a remastered double CD set. Mmm... Royalties!

My brother Dan researched and listed all the musicians who played in the orchestra in the Wikipedia article about the concert . Thanks, Dan!

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