Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Webley Edwards

Pearly Shells

Performed (as “Pupu a ‘o ‘Ewa”) in Donovan’s Reef (“1963).
Also recorded by The Hawaii Calls Orchestra & Chorus (1965).
Hit album version by Don Ho (1965).

From the wiki: “Donovan’s Reef, the last John Ford movie to star John Wayne, was scored by the legendary Cyril Mockridge. The opening main title theme uses the traditional Hawaiian song ‘Pupa O Ewa’ as its basic motif, reappearing throughout the movie. The song’s history is traced to the discovery of pearl oysters at Pu’uloa (Pearl Harbor).

“The 1963 light-hearted comedy was filmed in Kauai, Hawaii but is set in French Polynesia. Ford called it ‘a spoof picture – a whammy, crazy sort of thing. We [were] not going for any prizes.’ Although it was a modest financial success, Donovan’s Reef still was the 24th highest-grossing film of 1963 (among such releases as Cleopatra, How the West Was Won, Tom Jones, and The Great Escape among the top ten).

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