All Elvis fans will recognize this title as a line from the song Blue Hawaii sung by Elvis in the movie with the same title.
However it’s not only that it’s also what Jerry Hopkins new book is all about; Telling the story of Elvis, following his dreams and having fun in paradise surroundings. Elvis visited the Hawaiian Islands many times, sometimes for business when filming on location or for one of the six live performances on the islands but also for a (well-deserved) vacation.
Jerry takes the reader on a stroll through the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s as we follow Elvis from his first visit to the Islands in 1957 till his last visit 20 years later. Besides the obvious close-up look at the 3 “Hawaiian movies” ( Blue Hawaii / Girls Girls Girls / Paradise Hawaiian Style) the reader also gets to “hear” such funny stories as how the first concert in Hawaii (1957) was finalized (Colonel Tom Parker is supposed to have made a deal with an Australian promoter by winning a “game of dice” !!) and the story about a hilarious concert promotion by an Elvis impersonator
(No, this time there was no involvement by The Colonel). Not only do we get to know more about Elvis’ activities in Hawaii, we also get to learn a bit more about Hawaii’ natives with an Elvis connection, such as Karate teacher Ed Parker and James Shigeta (co-star in Paradise Hawaiian Style).
However, to me the highlight of this book must be the sections where we get to hear the stories of people who where actually there at the time.
People like country comedian Minnie Pearl, Velma Fisher (passenger on the SS Matsonia that sailed Elvis to Hawaii on his first trip in 1957), Tom Moffatt (Hawaiian D.J.) and Marty Pasetta (producer of the Aloha from Hawaii special). All have an interesting story to tell about their time with Elvis.
To me this book is a welcome addition to Jerry’ previous two Elvis-biographies (Elvis: A Biography and Elvis: The Final Years). The book also features about 100 photos of which some are rare or never seen before. Quality of the photos varies from fair to very clear but the majority of them are interesting to see.
This leaves us with one big question: “Why did Elvis love Hawaii so much ?” I think the answer to this question can be found all-over in this book but is best described by Tom Moffatt when he says: “In Hawaii he could relax and wander more freely … people here respect his privacy”. Guess that alone was enough for Elvis to make Hawaii his paradise.