14th January 1973: Elvis Presley makes the satellite broadcast ‘Aloha From Hawaii’

Hello, and welcome to HistoryPod. On 14 January 1973, Elvis Presley became the
first solo entertainer to broadcast a live performance via satellite with Aloha From
Hawaii. Elvis Presley was renowned for his demanding
schedule of live performances throughout the United States. By the early 1970s his manager,
Colonel Tom Parker, had received numerous offers to stage international tours but turned
down them all down since he was in America illegally and feared deportation if he ever
attempted to leave. Recognising the demand to see Elvis perform,
Parker conceived the idea of an international broadcast after seeing Nixon’s visit to
China transmitted via satellite. While international satellite broadcasts had therefore taken place
previously, such as the 1967 Our World special on which The Beatles performed ‘All You
Need is Love’, Aloha From Hawaii was the first to feature a single headline performer. Parker sold the rights to RCA who owned the
NBC television network and, importantly, had access to satellites such as the recently-launched
Intelsat IV F-4. NBC appointed experienced telecast director Marty Pasetta to oversee
the project, whose criticism of previous Elvis concerts persuaded the star to lose weight
and install a stage set that would make the performance more exciting. The concert began at 12:30am on the morning
of 14 January 1973. The 6,000 audience members at the Honolulu International Center received
their tickets for free, but donated $75,000 towards the Kui Lee Cancer Fund. Elvis and
his band then performed a combination of 23 classic songs and newer hits for an hour. Contrary to the legends surrounding the concert,
it was only shown live in six countries. Others broadcast a recording of the spectacular days
or even months later, with NBC itself not airing the concert until April 4 due to a
scheduling clash with the Super Bowl.


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