Feb. 3rd, 2017

defrog: (Default)
I was in Honolulu a couple of weeks ago, and of course this was running through my head the entire time I was there.

Because come on, I’m in Jack Lord’s town.

Anyway, when I looked up the Hawaii Five-O theme, I was reminded that The Ventures did a great cover version of it.

Then, when I was looking for some Don Ho songs to post over on the Facebooks, I found out that Ho had actually done his own cover version – with added lyrics.

According to legend, when the TV show became a hit, someone decided to add lyrics to the theme to make a proper song out of it so they could release it as a single and cash in on the show’s popularity. Which is kind of odd, since the theme is awesome just as an instrumental, as the Ventures version demonstrated. I assume the decision was mainly due to the fact that you need lyrics if singers are going to do cover versions. Like Don Ho.

Or Sammy Davis, Jr.

Strangely, Sammy’s version has similar but different lyrics to the Don Ho version. I’ve no idea why. It’s probably to do with individual style. Don was strictly a crooner, and his version notably slows down for the lyrics about sweet lovin’ in Hawaii. Sammy was more Vegas showmanship, so he maintained the brisk tempo, while the lyrics are – kinda sorta – focused on Steve McGarrett’s character.

Something like that.

Anyway, it makes for good trivia and novelty, but you can’t beat the original.

FUN FACT: The Sammy Davis Jr version is from the 1976 album Song And Dance Man, which also features covers of five other TV theme songs.


There are other covers of the Hawaii Five-O theme out there, of course.

Here’s one of many punk versions.

And here’s a ska version.

And here’s a song by Radio Birdman that’s not a cover per se, but it’s about Hawaii Five-O, and the lead break does kind of use the theme as a reference point.

There's also a great version by a band called Furious George on this compilation of TV themes (which I have a copy of somewhere), but sadly it's not on the YouTubes.

Book ‘em Danno,

This is dF


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