Don Ho

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Don Ho

Liz Kelly, Staff Writer

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For many, Don Ho – his song, his style – is synonymous with Hawai’i. His smooth voice and sophisticated stage patter have earned him an international following. A true local boy, Don Ho was born in Honolulu’s Kaka’ako neighborhood to parents of Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and German descent.

Raised in Kaneone, Ho started by playing in a band made up of his friends. As he described it “ I was terrible. So, I just played softly.” He played organ and sang, and continued to grow musically, learning from the musicians he hired for his shows. In 1962, he got his break when he and The Aliis were asked to play at Duke’s in Waikiki. They began to pack in large crowds for their shows, with tourists and locals coming in droves to enjoy the party atmosphere and the music.

It didn’t take Don Ho long to take his place in the music world when his trademark “Tiny Bubbles” burst on the national scene with his lounge act. In 1966, a two – week engagement at the Coconut Grove in Hollywood broke attendance records. Later he was a featured performer at The Sands in Las Vegas, Harrah’s in Lake Tahoe, Palmer House in Chicago, and Americana Hotels Royal Box in New York. Ho augmented his live act with TV appearances with Johnny Carson, Joey Bishop and Art Linkletter. He made many guest appearances in the 70s on the tv shows The Brady Bunch, Charlie’s Angels, and Fantasy Island. He also hosted his own hour – long TV special.

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