Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain

Pitter patter, pitter patter!

I have always loved this song from the 60’s and have heard it performed by many artists. Originally written by The Cascades band member John Claude Gummoe in November 1962, it rose to become a Top 5 hit in North America and Great Brittain by March of 1963. Ricky Nelson immediately covered it in 1963, as did Jan and Dean. It enjoyed another round of popularity in 1983 by Neil Sedaka, and then oddly in 1990 both Dan Fogelberg and Donovan released a cover of this already iconic 60’s song. The last famous cover was released by Briton Chris de Burgh in 2008.

Rhythm of the Rain

Hawaiian connection

In 1995 the famous and very successful Hawaiian duo Ka’au Crater Boys recorded a slow, mellow ukulele version of the song as “Rhythm of the Falling Rain” on their debut album, Tropical Hawaiian Day.

The Kaʻau Crater Boys were formed in the early 1990’s by Ernie Cruz Jr. (the son of Ernie Cruz Sr.) and Troy Fernandez. Cruz played bass, acoustic guitar and handled main vocals for the majority of songs they recorded. Fernandez also contributed to vocals (mainly as a backing vocalist), but was mostly renowned for his musicianship with the ukulele. The creation of the Kaʻau Crater Boys also coincided with the resurgence in local Hawaiian customs and tradition, as well as promoting the renaissance of Hawaiian culture, especially among the local youth. They are an award-winning band very well-known both on the Hawaiian islands and on mainland U.S.A. They have been referred to as “legendary”.

Here is a video clip of the Ka’au Crater Boys performing Rhythm of the Falling Rain on KHNL TV where you can watch Troy Fernandez picking the melody on his ukulele:

Link to ukulele music CD’s available by Troy Fernandez:

Links to further information about Troy Fernandez and his Hawaiian ukulele style: (for booking info)

Pearly Shells ~ Pupu A ‘O ‘Ewa

English words and music by Webley Edwards and Leon Pober, ©1962 (sic the Daily Ukulele by Jim Beloff).

This is an old Hawaiian song, originally composed in the Hawaiian language and translated to English much later. Webley Edwards proved to be instrumental in this endeavor. Edwards was both a World War II news correspondent and a Hawaiian radio personality. Edwards went to Hawaii in 1928 to work in sales but developed a keen interest in native Hawaiian musical traditions before becoming a radio producer in 1935. His world-famous show was called Hawaii Calls.

In another claim to fame, Edwards was the first radio announcer to broadcast the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. It was he who said on air: “Attention. This is no exercise. The Japanese are attacking Pearl Harbor!….All Army, Navy and Marine personnel to report to duty.” After the attack, Edwards worked as a reporter for CBS Radio. Edwards was one of only two broadcast journalists aboard the USS Missouri during the surrender ceremony at Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. He was the “chief announcer” for the ceremony. Edwards has the distinction of being the only broadcaster to witness the very beginning and end of the United States’ involvement in WWII.

After the war ended, Webley Edwards returned to radio, broadcasting Hawaiian music. Hawaii Calls ran for 37 years, during which he wrote lyrics (with Leon Pober) to the now-popular song, “Pearly Shells”.

Many famous singers have performed and recorded Pearly Shells, including Don Ho, Billy Vaughn, Hank Snow, and Burl Ives:


Strum pattern: Lilting D Roll uDuDu

Intro: D  D7  G  G  A7 A7  D  A7


[A7] Pearly [D] Shells, from the ocean, [D7] shining in the [G]sun, covering the [E7] shore [A7].

When I [D] see them [D7], my heart [G] tells me that I love [Em] you, more than [D] all the [A7] little pearly [D] shells.


For every [A7] grain of sand, upon the beach, I’ve [D] got a kiss for you.

And I’ve got [A7] more left o-ver for each star that [E7] twinkles in the [A7] blue. Pearly….

[D] Shells, from the ocean, [D7] shining in the [G]sun,

Covering the [E7] shore [A7].

When I [D] see them [D7], my heart [G] tells me that I love [Em] you,

More than [D] all the [A7] little pearly [D] shells.


~ Instrumental ~             ~ Verse +  Chorus ~



More than [D] all the [A7] little pearly [D] shells [turnaround chord: E7]

[E7] More than [D] all the [A7] little pearly [G] shells [D].


*The Hawaiian words (taken from the Daily Ukulele) are available in the pdf under the Songs tab. The English words above them show how the Hawaiian words are sung to the melody.



A Wonderful Song from the Depression Era

Every once in a while, I discover something that makes me think just a little differently about the world of history as I know it. A few months ago, my ukulele group was looking into Hawaiian songs for 2 engagements for Luau’s. Some were easy, some were very well known to Americans, but insignificant to us. Our leader gave us this song to learn because it is a very simple melody, just repetitive enough to learn quickly yet diverse enough to be interesting, and it is a 2-chord song. I am not sure if he thought the rest of the meaning of this particular song through!

He attached 2 videos to the email with the pdf On A Coconut Island. The first was by two ladies with ukuleles, wearing get-ups with costume wigs (why, I don’t know – it’s youtube!). The second video was a performing ukulele group, all clad in matching Hawaiian outfits, singing along with a vinyl recording of the song by…… Louis Armstrong and the Polynesians, 1936.

At the time, I thought, “That’s neat: Louis Armstrong, paired up with a Hawaiian orchestra, about the time of the World’s Fair perhaps. Maybe he was part of that famous ‘ukulele-craze-movement’ happening in the early century of US history.” That’s all I thought. The Luau performances came and went for us, but still I was strumming this little 2-chord song at home, because it was so darn easy to memorize!

Then in June, we all travelled up to Ancaster to take in a workshop called Play Ukulele By Ear by savvy American uke player Jim D’Ville. Cool. He spent a chunk of time explaining how there are certain patterns of chord progressions that are particular to certain eras of music. For example he talked about how the 4-chord progression of songs in the 50’s was typical of a key: I, VI-minor, IV, V7th. And how when the Beatles hit the shores of the US they changed the outlook on chord progressions completely. They sometimes composed a song entirely in Minor chords, and over-turned other musical conventions. He then launched into a short but very specific description of the development of mainstream music and genres, from the turn of the century (well actually with the advent of recorded music) to present day.

What has this got to do with Louis Armstrong and the Polynesians, you ask? Well, one of the eras Jim D’Ville described was that of the Great Depression. He said, people wanted to sing and compose songs about the better days that came before this very difficult decade. Times were so tough people didn’t have much to look forward to and feared a future of worse struggles. These were very hard times. And so the songs that were played over the radio air waves were from the turn of the century and from the happy-go-lucky flapper days of the early teen years. Songs like Five Foot Two and Ain’t She Sweet. He also mentioned Louis Armstrong’s role in this era of the 30’s. It was no accident that he sang and recorded What a Wonderful World.

On A Coconut Island is also such a song. It’s takes us away from the troubling times of the Depression era and transports the singer to a tropical island, a place of peace, beauty, and solitude. There are no worries there and no troubles. The writer of the song also had some clever fun trying to rhyme words with “island”, coming up with “while and”, “mile and”, and “smile and”. So I sing it that way! He went to all the trouble to write it like that!


Blue Hawaii

Here is one of my fave’s.

I had to develop it for a Luau set list our group was putting together for two engagements. I settled on the Key of G. I had found it twice in published song books in the Key of C, but didn’t like either arrangement.

The pdf document attached has each chord box over the word for the changes. If we could croon like Elvis, we could play this song veeerrrrryyyy sloooooowwwwwly like he did for the title track song of the movie, Blue Hawaii. However, since I can’t do it justice, I just try to play it at a tempo that makes it sound soft and wistful. It’s an interestingly full Key of G, too, with many of the 7ths and minors thrown in for compliments.

Blue Hawaii

Drop Baby Drop

This is an “Island” song, which was based in Hawaii, and is a mash-up of Frankie Valli’s Who Loves You Pretty Baby, with an original song, called Drop Baby Drop. I first heard it on a CD by the Langely Ukulele Ensemble in Langely, B.C. called Our Hawaiian Heart. It has been attributed to artist Eddy Grant, and has also been recorded by such well-known Hawaiian bands as The Manao Company, and The Mango Kingz.

The Manao Company, from their 2008 album, Island Style.

The Mango Kingz (my personal favorite):

What I like about this ukulele version of the song is the nice barred chords of the second and third chords. It makes it easy to play and has a nice jazz sound to it. It’s in the key of A, so you get to learn that key and the complimenting V7th is E7. The other chords are Bm and Cm, but you just play them as 2nd fret barred and 4th fret barred (it actually sounds better, too). The progression starts on A and goes to Cm then Bm, thenE7 and back to A. While progressing from Cm to Bm it’s nice to light on the 3rd fret barred for a nice step-down sound. So you would go A////, Cm///3rd fret, Bm////, E7////. I like to start with the Who loves you pretty baby section, then launch into the verses.

Drop Baby Drop

Intro: A  Cm  Bm   E7

[A] My heart does the [Cm] tango, with [Bm] every little move you [E7] make

[A] I love ya like a [Cm] mango, cause [Bm] we can make it every [E7] day

(That’s why you gotta) [A] Drop baby, [Cm] drop baby, [Bm] drop….[E7] drop all your love on me!

[A] Drop baby, [Cm] drop baby, [Bm] drop….[E7] Drop ’cause I’m hungry!

[A] My nights would be so [Cm] lonely, if [Bm] you should ever choose to [E7] go

[A] I’d live just like a [Cm] zombie, with [Bm] very little love to [E7] show

(That’s why you gotta) [A] Drop baby, [Cm] drop baby, [Bm] drop….[E7] drop all your love on me!

[A] Drop baby, [Cm] drop baby, [Bm] drop….[E7] Drop ’cause I’m hungry!

[A]  [Cm]  [Bm]  [E7]


[A] Who loves you [Cm] pretty baby? [Bm] Who’s gonna [E7] help you through the [A] night?

Who loves you [Cm] pretty mama? [Bm] Who’s always [E7] there to make it [A] right?

Who loves you? [Cm] Who loves you pretty [Bm] baby? [E7] Who loves you pretty [A] mama -[Cm] baby, [Bm] drop! [E7]

*You can repeat the first two verses again if you want. I enjoy starting with the Who loves you section, and then the first 2 verses.





Pineapple Princess

Aloha! I found this song in a Jim Beloff songbook called Jumpin’ Jim’s Ukulele Beach Party. According to my research, Richard Sherman wrote this song exclusively for Annette Funicello for her 1962 album, “Hawaiiannette”. If you have an amazingly high voice you would be able to play and sing this song in Annette’s original key of F#, however the version I found in Beloff’s book was in the Key of G, and I found that to be a very favourable key to sing in, at about 2/3 the speed she sings it at! The video below features the song, but the scenes are from Beach Blanket Bingo and possibly other movies as well, so don’t be fooled into thinking this is the video for the song, or that this song was in that movie or any other.

I had the pleasure of meeting both Jim Beloff and his lovely wife Liz Beloff in September 2013, when my ukulele group held a workshop and concert event by them. Liz Beloff told me a charming story about how she and Jim had been invited to a Boxing Day Party in New York one year, and one of the guests expected was Richard Sherman. She decided this would be a wonderful opportunity to perform Pineapple Princess for him so she learned it and memorize it in time for the party. I couldn’t resist singing part of this cute lil’ song with her right then and there, making it a very memorable moment! I have performed this song many times as a solo while playing out with my group at nursing homes and organization dinners, and at Aloha Night at the Waterford Legion. This catchy tune is always an instant hit, especially the third or last verse. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Pineapple Princess – Words & Music by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, 1962

Intro: D7 – G7 – C- G7


Pineapple [C]Princess, he calls me Pineapple [G]Princess, all day

as he [D7]plays his ukulele on the [G]hill a-[C]bove the [G]Bay.

[G7]Pineapple [C]Princess, I love you, you’re the [G]sweetest girl I’ve seen.

Some [D7] day we’re gonna marry, and you’ll [G] be my [C] Pineapple [G] Queen!

Verse 1:

I [C]saw a boy on O[G]ahu Isle,

[D7] Floatin’ down the Bay on a [G]croc-[C]o-[G]dile.[G7]

He [C]waved at me and he [G]swam a-shore

And [D7] I knew he’d be mine forever [G]more.[C] [G]


He [C]sings his song from ba[G]nana trees

He [D7]even sings to me on his [G]wa-[C]ter [G]skiis. [G7]

We [C]went skin divin’ and be[G]neath the blue

He [D7]sang and played his ukulele [G]too. [C] [G]

[G7]Pineapple [C]Princess, I love you, you’re the [G]sweetest girl I’ve seen.

Some [D7] day we’re gonna marry, and you’ll [G]be my [C] Pineapple [G] Queen!

We’ll [C] settle down in a [G]Bamboo Hut.

And [D7] he will be my own little [G]Co[C]co[G]nut. [G7]

Then [C] we’ll be Beach-combin’ [G] Royalty

On [D7] wicky wicky wacky Waiki-[G]ki.[C] [G]



Some [D7] day we’re gonna marry, and you’ll [G] be my [C] Pineapple [G] Queen.

*For the song including the chord boxes, the downloadable version is available under the SONGS tab.