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Album Review: Elvis Presley, 'Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite — Legacy Edition'


Only the King could take the place of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon” at the top of the charts.

And the way he did it was with a bombshell: “Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite” was part of a multi-media extravaganza that captured Elvis Presley at the top of a resurging career in 1973.

Just months after “Elvis On Tour” played the big screen at the movies, “Aloha…” was the first-ever broadcast of a full concert around the globe, reaching over 40 different countries and breaking television viewing records worldwide. The accompanying double-LP soundtrack was rush-released to stores and took up residence on the Billboard chart for a full year, ultimately going five-times platinum.

But it turns out there was much more of Elvis’ powerhouse performances than just the 24 tracks from the broadcast, and that’s what makes this 40th anniversary, two-CD release so essential. To begin with, there’s the digitally remastered, “Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite” soundtrack. It’s been the live album of choice for many fans because of its satisfying combination of classics, new hits and covers, including what were some rarely performed songs at the time.

Which means the playlist ranges from “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Hound Dog," "Love Me," and "Can't Help Falling in Love" to "Suspicious Minds," "Burning Love," and "Steamroller Blues" — a James Taylor cover and Top 20 hit when it was released as a single that year. Plus other covers as only Elvis could do them: "My Way," "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," "Fever," and the Beatles’ “Something.”

Then there’s the full dress rehearsal of the broadcast (with a slightly different running order), that had been recorded as a backup and previously released separately as “The Alternate Aloha.” Those 22 songs are also here, remixed and remastered, providing a fascinating contrast to the performances in the actual concert. And finally, there are five must-hear bonus tracks from a closed-door, 3:00a.m. recording session that took place after the show was over, featuring a great cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain.”

With a total of 51 tracks —each sounding better than ever — plus rare photos and new liner notes, the Legacy edition of “Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite” adds a bright shine to the King’s crown.