Honolulu Harbor, 1910
Now that winter is upon us, those of us who live in the colder climates often turn to thoughts of the tropics and warm sunny places. Cloudy days, rain, snow and short days all conspire to make us wish for a nice warm beach.
Hawaii is one of those places we long to visit. December is a traditional time for many people to visit the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. Over the years, many songs have been written about Hawaii and we have several in our collection.
Waikiki Beach, 1902
This month ParlorSongs takes us away to the islands with several songs featuring Hawaii, the beach and islands. Come with us now to warm your self with this lovely music from the past.
Many of the songs about Hawaii written during this period attempted to emulate the Hawaiian steel guitar. In this song's case (and in the case of some others here), the emulation was done at the end of the song in a reprise arrangement. Though written for piano, I have taken the liberty of adding the steel guitar voice to the song. This is a dreamy song that brings to mind the gentle surf and swaying palms.
My Rose Of Waikiki
Music by: Earl Burtnett & Jos. A. Burke Lyrics by: J. E. Dempsey Cover Artist: unknown
Surely Waikiki is the name and beach that for many people defines Hawaii. Pictures of Waikiki with Diamondhead in the background represent the beauty and attraction of the islands. This song, though not a memorable tune is another attempt to romanticize Hawaii through music. The cover is fascinating and is one of the more beautiful in the collection. Artistically it is a nice depiction of a serene tropical moonlit beach. Once again, I could not resist adding the steel guitar sound.
Music by: ? Violinsky Lyrics by: Howard Johnson Cover artist: JVR
"Sung with great success in the Schubert's production, The Passing Show of 1919." The cover features the group "Avon Comedy Four". Unfortunately, the names of these gents are lost with the passage of time. A colorful cover and an upbeat song from the twenties. Again, we have voiced this for steel guitar and piano. The tune is very evocative of the Hawaiian musical stereotype and I have found this to be a very pleasant song to listen to.
Music by: Herbert B. Marple Lyrics by: Sidney Carter Cover artist: Unknown
This song is very interesting musically. For one thing, written during a period when the Tango was THE dance, it has overtones of Tango rhythm and tempo. Secondly, the composer used a wide array of musical ornaments to simulate the Hawaiian steel guitar that goes beyond those used in the other songs featured here. First, a number of grace notes are used to simulate the strumming and glissando nature of the guitar, and then the use of repeated chords against a melody to simulate the unique Hawaiian style.
The song is rather short but musically I think one of the more creative in the collection. Unfortunately, the cover is in poor condition and artistcally inferior to the music.
Hello Hawaii, How Are You?
Music by: Jean Schwartz Lyrics by: Edgar Leslie & Bert kalmar Cover artist: Barbelle
In 1915 the telephone and wireless were coming of age, but were still novelties. Communication was creating a "smaller" world and spanning the globe. This song is about a sailor using the relatively new wireless telephone to contact his honey in Honolulu.
This work is another from the Taddia collection that has so generously been shared with us at ParlorSongs.
On The Beach With You
Music by: Jesse Greer Lyrics by: Tot Seymour Cover artist: unknown
Though technically not a Hawaiian song, the beach is much of what Hawaii is about. This song is one of my favorites from the collection. The artwork on the cover is excellent and a good example of the 30's art-deco style. The music is happy and one of those many "catchy" tunes from the period.
Hawaii is one of the most romantic places in the world and a trip there to be on the beach with your "honey" is part of what it is all about.
Remember Pearl Harbor
Music by: Sammy Kaye & Don Reid Lyrics by: Don Reid Cover artist: none
No tribute to Hawaii, especially in December, can ignore the great tragedy of Pearl Harbor. Immediately after the attack, the entire US was galvanized into a state of readiness, war and patriotism. The great Sammy Kaye, in collaboration with Don Reid wrote one of the war's most memorable songs, Remember Pearl Harbor, immediately after the attack. Included in a book of Sammy Kaye songs and poetry, the music represents one of the most stirring patriotic songs ever written. Sadly, the cover to the folio was destroyed and the cover represented here is one I created from an actual 1942 poster commemorating the memory of the attack; December 7, 1941.
Be sure to visit this month's Gallery for more songs to warm the cold December nights.
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