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.
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.
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