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The Story Of Elvis Presley At Pearl Harbor

The Story of Elvis Presley at Pearl Harbor

Elvis Presley At Pearl Harbor

On March 25, 1961, Elvis Presley held a USS Arizona Memorial Benefit Concert—the proceeds of which went to the construction of the Pearl Harbor Memorial.

Elvis initially formulated the idea after reading about how the memorial’s fundraising efforts had slowed. In fact, it appeared it wouldn’t even be built. That 1960 newspaper article inspired Elvis, who had just returned from serving in the military, to do what he could to help.

Elvis and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, decided to stage a benefit concert in Hawaii with the goal of revitalizing fundraising efforts. The concert took place just months before the 20th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks.

Lo and behold, the show raised more than $50,000 for the memorial. On the day of the concert, Elvis was surrounded by thousands of fans when his plane landed at the Honolulu Airport. That evening, nearly 5,000 fans attended to see the King.

Listen to the full concert set of 15 songs here:

The Concert By Elvis Presley At Pearl Harbor Navy Yard

The Bloch Arena at Pearl Harbor provided the venue for the concert. Of the 4,000 seats in the arena, 100 “ringside” seats sold for $100 each. The rest of the tickets, scaled at $10, $5, $3.50, and $3, went on sale March 13.

“You know, Elvis is 26 (last Sunday was his birthday) and that’s about the average age of those boys entombed in the Arizona,” Colonel Tom Parker said. “I think it’s appropriate that [Elvis] should be doing this.”

The benefit concert at Bloch Arena in the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard helped raise money for the memorial honoring those who lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Furthermore, it brought national attention to the cause. On Memorial Day the year after Elvis performed, the USS Arizona Memorial was officially dedicated.

Not Elvis Presley’s First (Or Last) Stint In Hawaii

Elvis Presley at Pearl Harbor wasn’t the only time the King has been in the Aloha State. Three of his movies were filmed in Hawaii: “Blue Hawaii” (1961), “Girls! Girls! Girls!” (1962) and “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” (1966).

After he married Priscilla Beaulieu in 1967, Elvis and his new bride would frequently travel to Hawaii for vacation.

elvis presley at pearl harbor

Photo courtesy of Elvis Presley Enterprises

In January 1973, Elvis was back in Hawaii for his world-famous Aloha From Hawaii concert. More people tuned in to this concert, aired live via satellite, than for the first moon landing.

Do you have any more stories of Elvis Presley at Pearl Harbor? Let us know!


Pearl Harbor Warbirds offers the best Hawai‘i flight adventure tours available. Immerse yourself in the details of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. Soar above the important sites that played a part in the “Day of Infamy.” Relive history as you retrace the steps of the Army and Navy airmen in the days following the bombing. Furthermore, you can fly on some of the same routes the Japanese attackers used into the airfields at Wheeler, Kāne‘ohe and Bellows. Hawaii offers many air tours, but only one warbird airplane flight. Located in Honolulu, Pearl Harbor Warbirds provides a personal historical experience, which makes it one of the best O‘ahu attractions.

Experience an immersive two-hour adventure that allows you to relive history as a Naval Aviator and fly Pearl Harbor like it was on December 10th, 1941. Learn more about the Admiral’s Warbird Adventure.

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