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:
PEARLY SHELLS ~ Pupu A ‘O ‘Ewa
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.