1956 Webley Edwards Parade of Hawaiian Songs

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.

  1. Ke Kali Nei Au (Hawaiian Wedding Song) [Aldwell #1]
  2. Beyond the Reef [Aldwel #4]
  3. Aloha Oe [Aldwell #2]
  4. Lovely Hula Hands [Aldwell #9]
  5. Song of the Islands [Aldwell #10]
  6. Sweet Leilani [Aldwell #7]
  7. Love Song of Kalua
  8. Blue Hawai’i [Aldwell #3]
  9. Little Brown Gal [Aldwell #13]
  10. Hawaiian War Chant [Aldwell #12 tie]
  11. To You Sweetheart Aloha [Aldwell #12 tie]
  12. Hukilau Song [Aldwell #12 tie]
  13. My Isle of Golden Dreams
  14. My Little Grass Shack [Aldwell #5]
  15. Hawaiian Cowboy
  16. Across the Sea
  17. Imi Au Ia Oe
  18. Lei Makamae [Aldwell #16]
  19. White Ginger Blossoms
  20. Lani
  21. Mapuana
  22. Now Is the Hour (Haere Ra)
  23. Keep Your Eyes on the Hands
  24. Blue Lei
  25. I Will Remember You
  26. On the Beach at Waikiki
  27. Love Hula Girl
  28. My Island
  29. Maui Girl
  30. Song of Old Hawaii
  31. Maui Chimes
  32. Lei of Stars
  33. Old Plantation
  34. Farewell for Just A While
  35. Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai
  36. Mai Poina Oe Iau
  37. Ua Like No A Like
  38. What the Lei Said to Me
  39. Hilo March
  40. Kawohikukapulani
  41. My Hawaiian Souvenirs
  42. Singing Bamboos (also a newcomer)
  43. The Angels Placed A Lei Around Hawaii
  44. Moon of Manakoora
  45. Hawaiian Paradise
  46. Sing Me A Song of the Islands
  47. Manuela Boy
  48. For You a Lei
  49. Wailana
  50. 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!

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