Webley Edwards, “Edwardsʻ ʻ56 Parade of Hawaiian Songs”
Honolulu Advertiser, July 15, 1956
Webley Edwards was founding host of the Hawai‘i Calls radio show, which began broadcasting in 1935. Edwards wrote a brief commentary to introduce the songlist. Here is an excerpt that explains the breakdown of the voting.
This column has just completed its 11th annual poll of Hawaiian song favorites, to determine the top 10 Hawaiian songs of the year . . .
During the 11 years, more than 108,000 votes have been case—a yearly average of around 9,800 votes. They came from all over the mainland and many foreign lands.
This year was, as usual, a pretty good cross-section—about par for the number of votes, which came from 315 different cities in just about every state, and province in Canada, and from 15 other foreign lands in five continents.
We here in Hawaii may not agree with the mainlandersʻ favorites. We have our own favorites out here, and a local list would probably differ from the choice of the mainlanders. With that in mind, you may be interested in seeing how a widespread and representative vote by thousands of mainland people, rated our Island songs.
Most of the first 25 Hawaiian songs the mainlanders chose were also along the leaders last year. Some new ones came along this year, and did very well considering their brand-newness. One was the Eyes on the Hands song at 23rd place, considered a remarkable showing. Another is Kawohikukapulani which, in 40th place, takes its place among the Big 50 Hawaiian favorites, despite the difficulty mainlanders had in spelling it!
Although this poll was taken prior to the Hawai´i-based recording industry has begun to counter the biases of mainland-based record production toward hapa haole song, the fact that thirteen of these songs remained on Enid Aldwell’s 1978 list of top 20 songs based on recordings (see post on September 11, 2009.
- Ke Kali Nei Au (Hawaiian Wedding Song) [Aldwell #1]
- Beyond the Reef [Aldwel #4]
- Aloha Oe [Aldwell #2]
- Lovely Hula Hands [Aldwell #9]
- Song of the Islands [Aldwell #10]
- Sweet Leilani [Aldwell #7]
- Love Song of Kalua
- Blue Hawai’i [Aldwell #3]
- Little Brown Gal [Aldwell #13]
- Hawaiian War Chant [Aldwell #12 tie]
- To You Sweetheart Aloha [Aldwell #12 tie]
- Hukilau Song [Aldwell #12 tie]
- My Isle of Golden Dreams
- My Little Grass Shack [Aldwell #5]
- Hawaiian Cowboy
- Across the Sea
- Imi Au Ia Oe
- Lei Makamae [Aldwell #16]
- White Ginger Blossoms
- Now Is the Hour (Haere Ra)
- Keep Your Eyes on the Hands
- Blue Lei
- I Will Remember You
- On the Beach at Waikiki
- Love Hula Girl
- My Island
- Maui Girl
- Song of Old Hawaii
- Maui Chimes
- Lei of Stars
- Old Plantation
- Farewell for Just A While
- Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai
- Mai Poina Oe Iau
- Ua Like No A Like
- What the Lei Said to Me
- Hilo March
- My Hawaiian Souvenirs
- Singing Bamboos (also a newcomer)
- The Angels Placed A Lei Around Hawaii
- Moon of Manakoora
- Hawaiian Paradise
- Sing Me A Song of the Islands
- Manuela Boy
- For You a Lei
- South Sea Island Magic
This poll is the fourth and earliest of the polls reported here on this blog, with subsequent polls from 1978, 1996, and 2007. These polls give us interesting things to ponder, about songs coming in and out of popularity, but also different audiences being polled in every instance!