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January 9, 2020 7:32 am  #1

Remembering Exotica!

I'd like to recall a couple of artists who had significant hit singles and LP's back in the late 1950's and early 1960's.  Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman brought us the Hawaiian Sound, complete with noisy bird calls and mental visions of exotic sandy beaches and swaying palm trees.  Denny had two Top 40 singles ("Quiet Village", #4 in 5/59 and "The Enchanted Sea", #28 in 11/59) and 3 Top 10 LP's ("Exotica", #1 in 1959, "Quiet Village", #8 in 1959 and "A Taste Of Honey", #6 in 1962).  Lyman's lone Top 10 single was "Yellow Bird", #4 in 7/61 and his two Top 10 LP's were "Taboo", #6 in 1958 and "Yellow Bird", #10 in 1961. 
I recall both artists being played at teen parties, ideal for those slow dances with that cute girl that ordinarily would ignore my presence.  Even better, we could cruise the Jack-in-the-Box drive in with that music on the car radio and were still considered 'cool'.
I have a special affection for Hawaii since my Dad was a Pearl Harbor survivor and Mom got pregnant with me just before she was evacuated back to the States as WWII got underway.  My Dad was on the Admiral's staff and so was off base at home when it started.
I really did enjoy it back in the 1980's when I was the Western U.S. Manager for a frozen food manufacturer.  For several years, the Pearl Harbor Navy base was my #1 customer, so twice a year I had to fly out to the Islands on the company tab to visit with them and a couple of other clients.  The airline offered a "Saturday Stay Over" fare that made flying out on Friday and spending the weekend on Maui cheaper than if I left on Sunday or Monday.  It was also a treat to see the company's accounting guy give me those dirty looks when I gave him my expense report.  I'll also mention that the first time I sang karaoke was at the Hawaiian Hilton one afternoon.


January 9, 2020 8:42 am  #2

Re: Remembering Exotica!

Don't forget Robin Luke, who had one big hit, "Susie Darling," in 1958. It hit #5 on Billboard.

Luke was born in L.A. but was living in Hawaii when he was discovered, and had the one big hit. It was a love song, but it always creeped me out a bit that the "Susie" in the song was named after his sister.  

Last edited by aflem (January 9, 2020 8:43 am)


January 9, 2020 8:52 am  #3

Re: Remembering Exotica!

Another weird one-off from that tropical state (but really not) came from an obscure group called The Waikikis, who were actually from Belgium. Their one hit was called "Hawaii Tattoo" and reached the lower parts of the charts in 1964, back when instrumentals still had a chance of getting played on pop radio stations.



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