U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Anniversary!

Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:56 am

Aloha, Elvis!


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Come tomorrow will fall the golden anniversary of one of the greatest events in Elvis Presley's career:


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Elvis Presley's U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show!
Saturday, March 25, 1961, Bloch Arena, Honolulu, Hawaii


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610325_Honolulu Program.JPG


Yes, it was 50 years ago that Presley rocked the 50th state, and what a gig it was!


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The excitement began with an afternoon press conference and award ceremony, followed by the show that evening.


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Elvis, unknown, H. Tucker Gratz, Tom Parker
Press Conference, March 25, 1961
Gratz was chairman of the Pacific War Memorial Commission



Opening Acts
Phil Ingalls Orchestra
Sterling Mossman (local comedian)
Floyd Cramer
Boots Randolph
The Jordanaires
Minnie Pearl


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Set List
Introduction by Rear Admiral Robert L. Campbell (14th Naval District commander)
Heartbreak Hotel
All Shook Up
A Fool Such As I
I Got A Woman
Love Me
Introduction of musicians, singers
Such A Night
Reconsider Baby
I Need Your Love Tonight
That's All Right
Don't Be Cruel
One Night
Are You Lonesome To-night?
It's Now Or Never
Swing Down Sweet Chariot
Hound Dog


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Musicians (AKA "The Unwashables")
Elvis Presley - vocals, guitar
Scotty Moore - guitar
Hank Garland - guitar
Bob Moore - stand-up bass
D. J. Fontana - drums
Floyd Cramer - piano
Boots Randolph - saxophone
Jordanaires - backing vocals


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Elvis wore his gold lame jacket (for the last time) and dark blue dress pants. His fifteen-song set was an exquisite overview of his seven-year career to date, including his first single for Sun ("That's All Right"), his first single for RCA ("Heartbreak Hotel"), two back-to-back tracks from Elvis Is Back! ("Such A Night," "Reconsider Baby"), a song from His Hand In Mine, his superb gospel album released just a few months earlier ("Swing Down Sweet Chariot") and a bunch of chart-topping singles.

Every performance is filled with joy, humour and energy, and the band plays with great skill throughout. Elvis would never again present such a vital, commercially-successful show, or confront a crowd as wild as any from the 1950s.


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The show raised nearly $65,000 for the USS Arizona Memorial building fund, one of the biggest single private donations to the cause.

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For those who couldn't be there, the first chance to hear this landmark event came 17 years later, around Christmas time 1978:


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Elvis' 1961 Hawaii Benefit Concert (Golden Archives GA 300, 1978)



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The bootleg album was a deluxe affair, with fold-out cover, 16 page booklet, custom labels and inner sleeve. It was an amazing package, then and now.

RCA released a slightly longer, but less ornate, official version of the recording in 1980, as part of a massive box set:


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Elvis Aron Presley (RCA, 1980)


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Elvis Aron Presley (RCA, 1998)

In 2011, both LP and CD versions are long out of print, although both are still found online for a decent price.

Sure, YouTube offers songs from this wonderful event, but this performance certainly deserves a proper reissue (hello, FTD?):


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Elvis Presley, "Heartbreak Hotel" (Honolulu, March 25, 1961)


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Elvis Presley, "I Got A Woman" (Honolulu, March 25, 1961)


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Elvis Presley, "Reconsider Baby" (Honolulu, March 25, 1961)


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Elvis Presley, "That's All Right" (Honolulu, March 25, 1961)


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Elvis Presley, "Are You Lonesome To-night?" (Honolulu, March 25, 1961)


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Elvis Presley, "Hound Dog" (Honolulu, March 25, 1961)


Thank you, Elvis. It truly was ... Such A Night.


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Read more about Hawaii 1961 here:

Scotty Moore - Bloch Arena And The USS Arizona Memorial
http://scottymoore.net/blocharena.html

Learn more about how busy Elvis was the week leading up to the show:

Inside The Blue Hawaii Recording Sessions
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=56377
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Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:02 am

Great job, DJC. Thank you! I'll give it a spin today.

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:05 am

We often discuss which concerts we WISH we had...I for one am so grateful we have as much as we do (while still always hoping for new discoveries!). If this was never released, it would be a mythical concert in Elvis history...I am glad I have the silver set, and this concert was AWESOME! Thanks for the post DJC.

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:34 am

Yes, most of the show may be found online, but this performance certainly deserves a proper reissue (hello, FTD?):


It has been on FTD's drawing board for a while. Roger Semon talked about it as a future release back in 2007.
I am surprised it hasn't come out for this anniversary.

Cheers
Piers

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:00 am

Thanks for the great post DJC.
I sure wish this concert will be released through FTD with improved sound.

Lennart

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:35 pm

This is one concert for some reason I have never listened the whole way through or given that much credit. Perhaps because it was such a short stint and recording sound was bad but I will give this baby a spin too! Great song list and retiring the golden jacket for once and for all. The donation cause gives it a special extra meaning also. Too bad this wasn't recorded better, could have been more like a pre-68 comeback long before the original. Doc, spot on and well done baby. Keep em coming!

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 1:56 pm

Fantastic topic as ever. Great to remember this wonderful event. Oh how I wish we get an FTD version out soon - I wonder how much they can improve the sound by?

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:05 pm

I love love love this concert, from start to finish. Elvis was on FIRE! Just listen to the delivery of Hound Dog.. right up until the last 'You ain't no friend of mine'

It enrages me that this magic moment in history wasn't captured on film, or indeed captured with better sound. Curses.

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:07 pm

Cool!

I wonder too how much they could actually do with the recording. There doesn't appear to be a lot there to work with. I've always meant to run a disc downstairs to the guys in the studio down there and see what they say about it.

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:19 pm

Good Time Charlie wrote:Fantastic topic as ever. Great to remember this wonderful event. Oh how I wish we get an FTD version out soon - I wonder how much they can improve the sound by?


Some video footage of the event would be even better.

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:37 pm

Thanks for all the neat photos and story Doc.

Here are some photos I took at the memorial, it was so moving and letters like this were so sad to read. The only mention of Elvis was the 'gold' program that you can see on the link that Doc put there for the Scotty Moore site ( which is fantastic reading). When I asked a staff member about anything else related to Elvis I was told that the visitors center is a privately run enterprise and at the time (Jan 2010) there were plans underway to upgrade the center as it was falling into disrepair and not big enough to cater for visitors and that they had been told there would be something more permanent to mark the contribution from Elvis when the upgrade was completed.

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I will also add one showing the oil that seeps from the ship on the water soon.

If these pics are in the wrong topic, please let me know and I will move them to where ever they should be. Sorry that the first photo is sideways, that happened in the upload and I don't know how to fix it. Maybe reading it will do for today's neck exercises :)

Bev

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:48 pm

Here is the photo with the oil on the water.

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Bev

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:00 pm

Tcbee wrote:
If these pics are in the wrong topic, please let me know and I will move them to where ever they should be.


These are fine where they are Bev. Thanks for posting them.
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Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:08 pm

Thanks for your kind words James and for turning the pic around the right way.

Bev

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:41 pm

Here's one from the day at the press conference preceding the show
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Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:50 pm

Why this show is not an FTD priority is beyond comprehension.

Why people criticize the sound quality, while not focusing in on the quality of Elvis and the bands performance

is beyond comprehension.

Why the colonel, in all his wisdom, didn't turn this into more of an event with film coverage is,

you guessed it....beyond comprehension.

Yes, we are very lucky this was recorded at all.

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:00 pm

Superb post! At the time, what was the dfference in sound quality between the brilliantly presented boot and the RCA release 2 years later?

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:28 pm

Thanks Doc, great post and what a great set-list.

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:29 pm

Great post! I need to listen to it tonight as well, I can't tell you when the last time I heard it was, probably shortly after the silver box set came out on CD.

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:31 pm

ekenee wrote:Why this show is not an FTD priority is beyond comprehension.



Of course......that's because they're waiting to get the Sun Box out before hand.

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:55 pm

Fact or Fiction?

Did I read somewhere, there was a document of gratitude posted inside the memorial at one time , but was taken down by the commission shortly after Elvis' death due to the allegations of drugs abuse?

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:12 pm

Great thread, Doc. Anyone know who recorded the show and kept the tape? It sounds like a somone from a radio station cut recordedthe show by pointing a mic at the speaker in the hall. However, I have often wondered why the tape cuts out at points and wobbles here and there, espeically near the end of the show. Perhaps, Tom Moffat of KPOI recorded the show for later use on his radio show.

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:13 pm

50 years. Tomorrow is a long time.

Thanks for all the kind words. Some replies:

KevinK wrote:I love love love this concert, from start to finish. Elvis was on FIRE! Just listen to the delivery of Hound Dog.. right up until the last 'You ain't no friend of mine'

It enrages me that this magic moment in history wasn't captured on film, or indeed captured with better sound. Curses.

Your thoughts obviously echo mine. The audio quality (maybe 6 out of 10) I can live with, but why do we not have:

a) Any footage
b) Any color photos

Argh!


JamesVRoy wrote:Cool!

I wonder too how much they could actually do with the recording. There doesn't appear to be a lot there to work with.

I've always meant to run a disc downstairs to the guys in the studio down there and see what they say about it.

What guys? What studio??


Tcbee wrote:Thanks for all the neat photos and story Doc.

Here are some photos I took at the memorial, it was so moving and letters like this were so sad to read.

Those were terrific! Thank you.


Delboy wrote:Superb post! At the time, what was the difference in sound quality between the brilliantly presented boot and the RCA release 2 years later?

The bootleg is a bit more shrill, truncates the introduction, and artificially extends "Hound Dog."

Looking at the photos, you can see an overhead mic, plus others near the amps.

It would be interesting to know if KPOI-AM 1380 -- Honolulu's top 40 station -- was the entity that recorded the show.

And did they ever broadcast any of it?

Maybe Tom Moffatt knows...


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KPOI-AM DJ Tom Moffatt, Elvis - Saturday, April 7, 1962
Arriving at Honolulu Airport for location filming in Hawaii for Paramount's "Girls! Girls! Girls!"
Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin, http://archives.starbulletin.com



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1380 / K-POI "Action 20" Handout - week of January 15-19, 1973
Note the January 9 photo of Elvis speaking to Moffatt at the heliport landing -- quick work!

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:19 pm

Cool, Doc, didn't notice the overhead mic on first glance. Does anyone know how to contact Tom Moffatt?

Re: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Benefit Show --> Golden Annivers

Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:26 pm

Mike C wrote:Cool, Doc, didn't notice the overhead mic on first glance. Does anyone know how to contact Tom Moffatt?

Moffatt may still be in Hawaii, still doing radio and promotions, who knows?

You can see Bob Moore's bass is also mic'd up, and the mic the Jordanaires used. There was some effort to get a good sound mix for the audience, and maybe for recording purposes as well. The tape we have does not seem to be a "recorder pointed at the PA speaker" source.