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Hawaiian lyrics for Pearly Shells?

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Posted 4/12/02 at 8:04pm

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Hawaiian lyrics for Pearly Shells?

Does anyone have the Hawaiian lyrics for Pearly Shells? I spent some time working in Hawaii years ago, and have fond memories of singing this song with a few of my Hawaiian friends. I knew the words by heart (I never learned the language, just the words to this song), but have forgotten them over the years.

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Jackie Cadinha
Posted 5/27/02 at 1:05pm

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Pearly Sheels in Hawaiian

Pu'u pu (a o ewa)
i ka nuku (naka naka)
e lawe mai (a he ike)
ika mea ho (o ka aina)
a hea aina (ua kaulana)
mai na kupuna mai

he ala hele puu loa
he ala hele no ka a pa au
repeat las two lines

i think this is sort of how it goes
close enough!

Hingson Chun
Posted 5/31/02 at 12:05pm

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Hawaiian Lyrics for Pearly Shells

"Pearly Shells" is a purely english composition. It lifted the melody from "Pu'u o Ewa" (I think that's the correct Hawaiian title) which we learned, in Hawaiian, as children.

I was looking for these lyrics and have yet to find them. Yet, they are a folk standard in the islands and I bet you could find them in a compilation.

I'll keep looking.

Posted 6/18/02 at 3:06pm

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Hawaiian Lyrics to Pearly Shells-English & Hawaiian

I hope this helps! I

Pupu a o Ewa
Pearly shells from the ocean

I ka nuku
Shining in the sun

E lawe mai
Covering the shore

Ahe aina
When I see them

Mai no
My heart tells me that I love you

Ala hula puuloa he ala hele no kaahupahau
More than all the little pearly shells
I apau huna one i ka kahakai
For ev'ry garain of sand upon the beach

Ua honi nau
I've got a kiss for you

Ho'ikoe lawa na
And I've got more left over

Pakahi hoku 'ika lani
For each star that twinkles in the blue
** I don't know whattranslations go
with "Puhau"
Ala hula puuloahe ala hele no kaahupahau

Posted 7/3/02 at 9:07am

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Pearly Shells et al

Here are the words (and chords) lifted from Huapala.org, the great lyric website which isn't up and running these days. Does anyone know why? JT

Pupu A O 'Ewa (Shells of 'Ewa) - Traditional

Püpü (a`o `Ewa) i ka nu`a (nä känaka)
A6 D
E naue mai (a e `ike)
I ka mea hou (o ka `äina)
A A6
Ahe `äina (ua kaulana)
Mai nä küpuna mai
A E7
Alahula Pu`uloa he ala hele no
Ka`ahupahau, (Ka'ahupähau)
Alahula Pu`uloa he ala hele no
Ka`ahupähau, Ka`ahupähau

Nani Ka`ala hemolele i ka mälie
E7 ` A
Kuahiwi kaulana a`o `Ewa
A6 D
E ki`i ana i ka makani o ka `äina
E7 A
Hea ka Moa`e eia au e ke aloha

Kilakila `o Polea noho i ka `olu
Ia hom e ho`ohihi a ka malihini
E walea ana i ka `olu o ke kiawe
I ka pa kolonahe a ke Kiu

Posted 8/5/02 at 11:08pm

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Pearly Shells

Pearly Shells and Pupu A'o 'Ewa are two totally different songs. The melody for Pearly Shells is similar to Pupu A'o 'Ewa, but please don't confuse them.

Posted 4/28/03 at 4:04pm

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pearly shells lyrics

pearly shells in the ocean shining in the sun
covering the shore, when i see them my heart tells me that i love you
more than all those little pearly shells
for every grain of sand on the beach
ive got a kiss for you
and ive got more left over for each star that twinkles in the blue
pearly shells from the ocean shinning in the sun,
covering the shore, when i see them my heart tells methat i love you more than all those pearly shells

Posted 8/26/03 at 11:08am

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pearly shells / pupu o ewa

My Kumu told me that Pupu O Ewa was around for a while before someone wrote Pearly Shells to amuse the tourists... per her, the translation is 'the shells at ewa draw the people of the land, to hear the stories of the land famed/beloved, near the bay protected by the shark goddess'. I can never see a "haole" style performance of this song (where they repeat the 'pearly shells' motions to the Hawai'ian lyrics) without cringing alittle....Also per her, the motions for pearly shells can be whatever conveys the meaning best in your mind (ie, show your shells, ocean waves, rising sun, beach, etc) but if you really want to do pupu o ewa correctly it should be researched if you can't find a decent teacher

Posted 9/16/03 at 10:09pm

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Pupu a'o Ewa

According to Na Mele o Hawai'i Nei by Samuel Elbert and Noelani Mahoe
this song is also known as Ka'ahupähau and it honors 'Ewa on O'ahu.
It goes on to include the lyrics as found on the huapala.org website with the notation that nu'a and naue are sometimes replaced with nuku and lawe respectively. It also mentions that this song was sung for more than a hundred years an English version called PEARLY SHELLS became popular but the poetic reference to the shark goddess was not kept in the English version. So it seems that even though they both have the same melody they have two different sets of lyrics that are not related. So I have to agree with Peghain! A hui hou!

Posted 3/15/04 at 4:03pm

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How do you pronounce each Hawaiian word?

Does anyone know how to pronounce the Hawaiian words to Pearly Shells? I want to teach my first grade students both the English and Hawaiian along with the motions. I remember most of the motions until the very end. So, if anyone knows, please email to share this information.


Keola Donaghy
Posted 3/24/04 at 9:03am

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Re: Pupu a'o Ewa

Keali'i Reichel recorded it on his latest release, Ke'alaokamaile. It contains all of the verses I know of an the pronunciation is (as in all of his recordings) superb. Lyrics are included in the jacket. If you want to learn the song, this would be the best way to do it. Trying to explain how to pronunce Hawaiian properly by using English is difficult, inaccurate and frustrating for both the person trying to explain it as well as the person attempting to learn it. Best to listen to a well-performed version that provides accurate lyrics, and this Keali'i's recording is the best I know of that is currently available.

Posted 3/30/04 at 5:03pm

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Soundtrack for Donovan's Reef

I would like to get a list of the songs on the soundtrack of Donovan's Reef.I am looking for the name of a certain song played on Amelia's arrival and again at the end of the film. I can't make out the name or words as it is in Hawaiian. Any help would be appreciated. You can send any info to the email address. Thanks!

Posted 4/10/04 at 4:04am

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pupu a'o ewa

does anyone know the name of the group of singers who sang this song on the movie donovans reef with john wayne? thanks

Marjorie Scott
Posted 7/5/04 at 6:07pm

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Pearly Shells sheet music

For all who asked, the sheet music, with chord notation was published by Criterion Music, and is probably available either singly or in a Criterion song book. email:criterion_la@earthlink.com. Address: 6124 Selma Av., Hollywood, CA 90028. HMHF member Michael Goldsen is CEO. Criterion also published sheet music for "Tiny Bubbles", "Keep Your Eyes on the Hands" and several others.

Posted 8/1/04 at 10:08am

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Donovan's Reef Song

The song you mention in Donovan's Reef is a Hawaiian song titled Pupu O Ewa, or Pupu A'o Ewa. Hawaiian singers The Brothers Cazimero" have a great rendition of it on their CD "The Best of the Brothers Cazimero". It is on track 3 of the CD, not track 2 as the label states. They do a great show at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu and base the show on truly traditional Hawaiian and Polynesian music.

Hope that this helps.

Ronnie Stefaniak
Posted 10/19/04 at 2:10pm

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Pearly shells

I am looking to buy a CD or music tape with Disney's song "Pearly Shells" from their video entitiled "Disney's Fun Songs at the Beach at Walt Disney." I have the video but would really like to have the song on a CD or music at dstefa@kiski.net
Thank you so much,

Posted 2/8/05 at 8:02am

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pearly shells

I cannot find the song lyrics for Pearly Shells.

I want to teach this to my ESL class. We are talking about Hawai'i

Nick Boskolupus
Posted 2/20/05 at 2:02pm

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Pearly Shells lyrics

Thank you, one and all, for the lyrics to Pearly Shells. It's a lovely tune. Speaking of the ghastly things done to that song (and others; need I mention Tiny Bubbles?) by haole people, it's embarrassing to confess that the first memory I have of the tune was from an old C&H Sugar commercial on TV. The "lyrics" started out:

Pure Cane Sugar
from Hawaii ...

and probably went downhill from there. So, chalk up another beautiful song ruined by Western "civilization"!

Barry Wooderson
Posted 5/4/05 at 3:05pm

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pearly shells

Try it like this mebbe.

Boys (Girls echo boys)

Pearly Shells (Pearly Shells)

from the ocean (from the ocean)

Dm Eb
Shining in the sun (Shining in the sun)

C7 F7
Covering the shore (Covering the shore)

When i see them (When i see them)

F7 Bb7 Eb
my heart tells me that i love you

Ebm Bb F7 Bb
more than all the little pearly shells.

Posted 6/5/05 at 9:06pm

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Does anybody know how to do the hand movements for "Pearly Shells"? What's the hand movements for pearly shells, covering the shores, "with every grain of sand on the beach"?

Posted 6/17/05 at 8:06am

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Chords to Puu A O 'Ewa

Would anyone be so kind as the let me know the chords for the songs Pupu A O 'Ewa and Pearly Shells. I would like to learn these as they are two (or one) of my favorite traditional Hawai'ian songs. Thanks for any help.

Posted 6/23/05 at 1:06pm

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Singer's name

I want to know exactly same song's name. The name in english is pearly shells. I just want to know the name of the singers. Please, if you get the name give it to me.



Posted 7/6/05 at 3:07pm

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hand movements

i went to hawaii recently and i learned the song pearly shells and i was trying to remember the hand motions that goes with the song.if you know them please help me out.

thank you

Posted 11/14/05 at 7:11pm

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Pupu a o 'Ewa vocals

OK. I have this hard core Hawaiian project to do where i need to get this mele playing. anyone know how i can achieve this? maybe a CD it's on or a website that has it playing? anything and everything can help.


Tilak Madawela
Posted 12/3/05 at 7:12pm

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Pupu A'o 'Ewa

I love this song! Thanks all of you for the information.I was wondering if it was a traditional song. Now I know. Thanks!

karina archer
Posted 1/17/06 at 3:01pm

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chords and lyrics

could anyone please provide me with some basic chords along with the lyrics to the song pearly shells and tiny bubbles would greatly appreciate it for my children

Amy Bauman
Posted 2/16/06 at 3:02am

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chords and lyrics

Weren't the chords and lyrics posted by Jesse on 7/3/02?

Posted 5/31/06 at 12:05pm

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Pearly Shells

I am looking for the lyrics to pearly shells in English with a little hawaiian in it.

Also lovely jula hands in english.

Barbara Sanders
Posted 9/15/06 at 8:09pm

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Hawiian words to childrens song.

I am a preschool teacher and we have been studying the ocean. I came across and song...."Pearly Shells" a children's song that I think would work well with the theme. I heard it on a tape with one verse in Hawiian words but don't understand the words well enough to know I am pronouncing them correctly. Before I teach the children I want to make sure I have the words correct. Could someone help me please. Thanks

Ralph DeMattia
Posted 11/6/06 at 5:11am

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Does anyone know what group recorded that absolutely Beautiful opening song to the film DONOVAN'S REEF, and is a copy available anywhere?

Posted 11/14/06 at 12:11pm

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pearly shells

the group that sang the Hawaiian version of pearly shells i kamehameha School Glee club. to my knowledge there no recorded version by them.

Posted 2/12/07 at 11:02am

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Pearly Shells

Aloha Kakou,
Is there a recording of Pearly Shells (CD preferred, but cassette okay, and vinyl last resort) with someone SINGING the lyrics (except for Don Ho, I can only find instrumentals)?

Lloyd Mirafuentes Jr.
Posted 2/16/07 at 9:02am

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Pearly Shells

I remember singing this song with my Pop & Bros when I was a boy. He used to play the ukulele & sing, while we sing along. Great memories! :)

Christi Moore
Posted 4/9/07 at 12:04pm

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Pearly Shells


Is there a recording of the song Pearly Shells, besides Don Ho's, that is not just instrumental? If so, who and what album name please?


Posted 5/28/07 at 11:05am

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pearly shells

if you can't find the lyrics a good version to listen to and to copy from is by connie francis....her version
is really very clear. I am sure you could take them from there.

Roy Bodden
Posted 5/28/07 at 3:05pm

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Movie - Donovan's Reef

I saw Donovan's Reef in the movies back in the 60's. I just bought the DVD and I have to say that the colors are absolutely beautiful and so vivid. As for the scenery, it's stunning. Was there ever a soundtrack recording?

Deb Brown
Posted 6/3/07 at 3:06pm

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Pearly Shells

Did you ever find the soundtrack to Donovan's Reef? I did not see the movie, but am looking for English lyrics/Hawaiian also for "Pearly Shells," along with hand motions that apparently go with it.

I'd appreciate any info you can give me. Thanks!

jerry finney
Posted 6/4/07 at 8:06am

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pupu a o ewa

i found an acapela version of pupu a o ewa by the the st caterine church choir.they are the group that did the movie version in "donovans reef".it is an LP recording titled "aloha oe e malia" i hope this helps. aloha

Posted 7/17/07 at 2:07am

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music and dance movements for Pearly Shells

We are a non professional sininging ministry and sings to the elderly and housebound. We are looking for the music and dance movements for Pearly Shells.

Help us if you can. Thanks heaps.

VIDAL Claude
Posted 9/4/07 at 10:09pm

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About the song Pearly Shells.

Aloha and Iaorana.
I live in Tahiti and we love Hawaiian songs in Polynesia. I was looking for the lyrics of the songs "Pearly Shells" and "Pupu A'o 'Ewa" and thanks very much to all the people who write these here.
Thanks heaps.

Posted 9/15/07 at 12:09am

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How to dance Pearly Shells

Here's Learn How to Hula.

There's the step-by-step direction in dancing the Pearly Shells.

I so love this song. Reminds me of my kindergarten year.

Posted 9/20/07 at 4:09pm

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"Pearly Shells"

Greetings to all,

It was interesting to read that "Pearly Shells" has folk song origins. Both this and "Tiny Bubbles" were credited to songwriter Leon Pober, and published in the 1960s. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that Pober, who was born in Massachusetts in 1920 and, at the time of his untimely passing in 1971, was living in California and not Hawaii, 'adapted' these tunes and added the English lyrics. Likewise Harry Owens composed a prolific number of 'Hawaiian' standard songs, but was not of Hawaiian origin. He did, however, live on the island for many decades and performed on the "Hawaii Calls" radio show. So far as I can determine, among the composers who created -or adapted- the bulk of the pop or novelty tunes associated with Hawaii, only two were, in fact, Hawaiian by birth: Charles E. King, composer of what came to be known as "The Hawaiian Wedding Song" and "Song of The Islands", among many other hits, and Johnny Noble ("Little Grass Shack" and "My Tane"). August Goup
il is believed to have been Tahitian, as he fronted a band known as "The Royal Tahitians". They found their greatest success playing at Hawaiian resorts in the 1930s and '40s.

Little Brown Gal
Posted 10/23/07 at 12:10pm

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Pu Pu A O Ewa


The lyrics in Hawaiian and English are here

irene bohnsack
Posted 12/20/07 at 12:12pm

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Donovan's Reef Soundtrack

Hello, once in a while I try a new research to find Donovan's Reef Soundtrack. I am almost convinced now that I have to listen to the music from the DVD, I believe they did not register the songs in a record at the time.
I wonder if you have been successful in your research!
I look forward to your reply.
Kind regards from Brazil,

Joseph M. Picone
Posted 1/7/08 at 2:01pm

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Donovan's Reef

Does anyone know the name of the very beautiful instrumental heard several times in Donovan's Reef. It plays when the young princess is praying to the Gods when they are out cutting a Christmas tree, and then again during the ceremony when she is being carried by the four police officers. This is a very melodic, slow, wonderful song that I would like to know the name of. Thank You.

Posted 1/12/08 at 8:01pm

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origin of these songs

does anyone know the origin of both (1) Pupu ao ewa and (2) Pearly Shells.

I've read that (1) was written for Kahiku O Kalani church and merrie monarch, the King Kalakaua.
Is that true?

also (2), English lyric was written by Webley Edwards & Leon Pober for "Hawaii Calls" radio program.

If you know, please let me know.
I think both versions are beautiful and loved internationally.

Mahalo nui loa

Posted 2/12/08 at 1:02pm

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pearly shells

I first saw 'Donovan's Reef' many years ago but the only thing I remember is the song. Thanks to the internet I can get a clip on 'you tube', but having listened to various 'English' versions, it is the Hawaiian lyrics and their meter which best suits. I thank anyone who's sent in a version. I have a guitar but I may even buy a ukelele. Does anyone, like me, wonder if Dolly Parton had this melody in mind when she wrote 'Dumb Blonde' ?
Many thanks

terry murphy
Posted 2/29/08 at 6:02am

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music from "Donovan's Reef"

I've just seen the movie and fell in love with a beautiful,slow instrumental played at various points in the film.I would be so grateful if someone could post some infromation about this.
Thank you.

Posted 8/3/08 at 5:08pm

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Pearl Shells

I am looking for a "pearly shells" karaoke CD.Can you help please?

Dorothea huntman
Posted 10/12/08 at 10:10pm

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Did you get an answer

Did you fine the name of the song that was played when they were carring the princess?

Posted 12/21/08 at 4:12pm

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Background music

Going from memory I think that the name of the beautiful music that you are looking for is "Trade winds".
I kinda remember this music from a long time ago when it was on the radio.
Cheers, Allan

Posted 12/25/08 at 2:12am

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Beautiful song

Going from memory, the music/song that you are looking for is "trade winds" played at a somewhat slower (but nicer) pace than the actual song.
I hope that this helps you enjoy the music better. Cheers, Allan

Arsena McIntire
Posted 1/21/09 at 2:01am

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pearly shells theme

I had heard Pearly Shells by Don Ho but then when I bought Donovan's Reef and heard them Hawaiian version I fell in love. I watch this movie over and over for the music (and of course Duke).

Arsena M.

Son of a Maui son
Posted 4/19/10 at 2:04pm

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I know that when I went to see the Elvis flick PARADISE, HAWAIIAN STYLE in the 60s that I was pleasantly surprised to find that Paramount had reused the same PUPU A'O 'EWA music cue from their library.

Unfortunately it never made it to Elvis'soundtrack album.

Judging from the numerous alternate language audio tracks for the various DONOVAN'S REEF DVDs released, I'd hazard a bet that Paramount still has the dialogue-less soundtrack recordings. It might be worth trying to contact GNP Crescendo:


and let them know of our interest as they have some experience getting old movie music soundtracks released.

Aloha Aloha
Posted 2/13/13 at 12:02pm

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Thanks to Jackie in particular with post #2. I've listened to numerous versions of this online and the one that I think is the best is one from two actors, not singers, in the 80's cult film "North Shore." It goes right in line with Jackie's lyrics. If anyone is interested, they sing it around the 46 minute mark on the DVD version.


Posted 9/13/13 at 1:09pm

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CD Donovan's Reef

Dear Terry,
I also fell in love with the slow instrumental played at various points in the film. Did you ever find out more about it?

Posted 10/4/14 at 2:10pm

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Pearly Shells (On the first night of the full moon)

Jack Jones released a 45rpm in 1964 called "On the first night of the full moon." The chorus is almost exactly the same as Pearly Shells, the refrain is different. The music is not in print but, you can hear it if you Google the title. There are also some Hawaian Lyrics in the counter melody.

Posted 12/6/14 at 7:12pm

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Slow Instrumental from Donovans' Reef

Terry, Irene, etal,
I believe the song is "A Song Of Old Hawaii".

M meyer
Posted 12/27/14 at 11:12pm

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Hawaiin Versio Pearly Shells


Posted 12/29/14 at 12:12am

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Song from Donavan's Reef

What was the song that had a lyric something like, "the clouds roll in like thunder over..."?

Ed Bissonnette
Posted 3/12/15 at 10:03pm

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Slow Instrumental

I think this may be the song playing during the cutting of the christmas tree and during the princess ceremony:


Alf Riley
Posted 5/31/15 at 4:05pm

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Donovan's Reef

Strange how the introductory music affected me in the same way as many on this site. Thanks to the UTube URL being supplied I've heard both versions but the film version is the one I covet most. How John Ford could have the Captain barking instructions over this fantastic piece of music using a megaphone beggars belief. Still worse, all those gorgeous women gathered at the seashore to await Lee Marvin (Lee Marvin? Never.. Elvis maybe)singing this fantastic music and being subdued by his hoarse shouting. Diabolical!

Posted 7/26/15 at 7:07am

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Donovans Reef

I have sound track

Stephen Murakami
Posted 8/4/15 at 9:08am

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Pearly Shells: All Hawaii Marines Marching Song 1968

In October 1968, 80 local boys from all the islands enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps to serve our country and state. Many of us were sent to Vietnam (1969) and manyof us did not return. We were all sent to Marine CCorps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California and Camp Pendleton before being shipped off to Vietnam. Whenever we marched on the parade deck, the 80 of us sang Pearly Shells in Hawaiian. The rest of the recruits on the base knew us as the "Pineapples" and when they heard us sing "Pearly Shells" the Aloha Spirit and Hawaii's war chant instilled a sense of pride in us and a sense of awe in the rest of the recruits on base. The song echoed and bounced off the walls and buildings surrounding the parade deck. We were driven to represent our state and we won the "Honor Platoon, for best marching/drill Platoon with the M-14 Rifle, best physically qualified group and several others categories. Unfortunately, many of us (mostly teenagers right out of high school) came home in body bags, which saddens me until today and probably always will. Marines knew to get out of our way when we passed by. "Here come the Pineapples". Shouldn't those families and those of us who chose to follow in our fathers' footsteps (the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team) by representing our state in an unpopular war receive some kind of recognition from Hawaii? It's long overdue. Many of us still suffer from the horrors of war and PTSD. Aloha.
Platoon 2206.

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