Elvis Presley during his 1973 concert telecast around the world, "Aloha… (Courtesy of the Steve Bariles…)
This post has been updated. See note below for details
Elvis Presley would have turned 78 on Jan. 8, and even though he’s been gone for 35 years, the birthday celebrations continue. Here in Los Angeles, a grand tradition returns Tuesday night at the Echo in Echo Park, where the annual Elvis Birthday Bash will play out, as usual, with “all fun, no impersonators,” promises longtime co-organizer Art Fein.
This year’s lineup includes rockabilly veterans Ray Campi, Jimmy Angel and Rip Masters, alt-rock singer-songwriter Syd Straw and next-generation roots rockers including singer Karling Abbeygate. Other acts slated to perform include Church Keys, Count Smokula, Justin Curtis, Dick Deluxe, Fur Dixon and South Bay Surfers.
Most of the solo artists will be supported by the Elvis All-Star Band with Marty Rifkin, Harry Orlov, Skip Edwards, Paul Marshall and Dave Raven. Proceeds from this year’s show are being donated to the Los Angeles Mission.
In fitting tribute to the artist who broke so many rules as he helped usher in the age of rock 'n’ roll, only a few guidelines are imposed upon birthday bash performers: Nobody can repeat a song anyone else has played, and no “ETAs -- Elvis Tribute Artists.”
That phrase “is an actual professional term, I’ve learned,” Fein noted on the 25th anniversary of the event, which started in 1986 by rocker James Intveld and roots-rock promoter Ronnie Mack, who contines his role with Fein as co-organizer.
Meanwhile, Presley’s label, RCA Records, is marking this year’s anniversary with the March 19 release of “Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite -- Legacy Edition,” an expanded and remastered edition of his 1973 album from the first global satellite concert 40 years ago.
The two-CD set includes a remastered disc with the original concert, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard album chart upon its release in 1973 and knocked Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” out of the top slot. The second CD contains a remixed and remastered version of “The Alternate Aloha,” which is a rehearsal performance recorded as a “safety copy” with a slightly different set list, plus five additional songs Presley and his entourage recorded exclusively for the U.S. broadcast, which was originally delayed so it wouldn’t compete with the theatrical film then in release, “Elvis on Tour.”
It’s the first time the original Hawaii concert and the alternate show have been together in one package. “The Alternate Aloha” originally appeared in an official release in 1988, and has been remixed from the original multi-track tapes, according to RCA/Legacy officials.
Update Jan. 8 at 1:48 p.m.: The headline on an earlier indicated that the "Aloha From Hawaii" CD set would be released on Jan. 8. The scheduled release date is March 19.
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