For your listening pleasure today I have for you Harry Owens and his 1956 release Polynesian Holiday.
Harry Owens credits Hawaii with his rebirth in 1934 when he first sailed past Diamond Head on Matson's S. S. Mariposa. Owens came to the islands to lead the orchestra at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. He met several knowledgeable native Hawaiians and learned a great deal about their culture, embraced it as his own, and transcribed many ancient and 20th century Hawaiian songs which had never been written down before. Through the years, Owens became one of the grand cheerleaders for Hawai'i as he took his band and troupe, usually including Hilo Hattie featured in the You Tube clip, all over the mainland.
"All Hawaiian, all the time" was his philosophy and he followed it at regular engagements at Los Angeles's Ambassador Hotel Coconut Grove nightclub, the Mural Room at the St. Francis in San Francisco and on television with a regular hour-long program all through the 1950s. He wrote his biggest hit and signature song, "Sweet Leilani" upon the birth of his first child and, when used in the Paramount film Coconut Grove, his friend Bing Crosby made the song a worldwide hit. Over the years, Owens composed many hapa haole songs, many of which remain popular today. He is credited with composing some 300 songs and made over 150 records for Decca alone.
The Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts awarded Owens the 1987 Na Hoku Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award for his substantial contributions to the entertainment industry in Hawaii.
The Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts awarded Owens the 1987 Na Hoku Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award for his substantial contributions to the entertainment industry in Hawaii.
From 1956 this rather nice album of Pacific songs still sounds rather lovely today. Enjoy Harry Owens Polynesian Holiday.