The Info List - Harry Owens

Harry Owens
Harry Owens
(18 April 1902 – 12 December 1986) was an American composer, bandleader and songwriter best known for his song "Sweet Leilani."


1 Biography

1.1 Early years 1.2 Hawaii 1.3 Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
and Sweet Leilani 1.4 Movies and television

2 Recognition 3 Discography

3.1 Albums

4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links

Biography[edit] Harry Robert Owens was born April 18, 1902, in O'Neill, Nebraska. He learned to play the cornet[2] in a small band on an Indian reservation in Montana. Early years[edit] Owens was working the vaudeville circuit by age 14. He studied for a career in law, but then started a band in 1926, when he was booked into the Lafayette Cafe in Los Angeles
Los Angeles
and auditioned a young Bing Crosby. Hawaii[edit] The big turning point in his career came in 1934 with his arrival in Hawaii
and his appointment as music director[2] of The Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki. He tried to learn all he could about the local culture by mixing and working with native Hawaiians. He learned many traditional and more modern Hawaiian songs and tunes which he wrote down and orchestrated using Western notation for the first time. Many had never been written down before, much less orchestrated. He reorganized the Royal Hawaiians by splitting the band into Hawaiian and haole instrumental sections. His band featured the steel guitar, which had a trademark sound, producing tuneful and rhythmic dance music with a strong Hawaiian flavour. Hilo Hattie
Hilo Hattie
was a featured performer with The Royal Hawaiian Hotel
Royal Hawaiian Hotel
Orchestra. Beginning in 1935, Owens and his orchestra were featured on the popular Saturday night radio show, Hawaii
Calls. Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
and Sweet Leilani[edit] Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
and Owens began their friendship when both played the Lafayette Cafe in Los Angeles
Los Angeles
in 1926.[3] In 1934, Owens wrote "Sweet Leilani"[4] to celebrate the birth of his daughter, and made it the signature song of his Royal Hawaiian Hotel
Royal Hawaiian Hotel
Orchestra. While vacationing in Honolulu
with his wife Dixie Lee, Crosby heard the song and wanted to include it in his upcoming movie Waikiki
Wedding. Harry was hesitant, but Bing convinced him. Producer Arthur Hornblow, Jr. was a hard sell. Hornblow dug in his heels that the song would not be used in the movie. Crosby retreated to the golf course and refused to return until Hornblow agreed to include the song in the film. "Sweet Leilani" won Best Song category at the 1938 10th Academy Awards, and became Crosby's first gold record.[4] Movies and television[edit] Harry Owens
Harry Owens
and his Royal Hawaiians played "Sweet Leilani" in the 1938 Fred MacMurray
Fred MacMurray
film Cocoanut Grove. The soundtrack also featured the Owens-penned songs '"Cocoanut Grove" and "Dreamy Hawaiian Moon." They also appeared in the 1942 Betty Grable
Betty Grable
film Song of the Islands. In 1949, Owens started to appear regularly on television. He made regular appearances in California, both in person and on television. He established the hapa haole style of Hawaii
music (native music as interpreted by foreigners) which was developed by Sonny Cunha and Johnny Noble, and he enjoyed significant commercial success with this style of music-making. Owens is credited with about 300 hapa haole songs, many of which remain popular with musicians playing in this style. Owens was a great advocate of Hawaii
and things Hawaiian.[2] He founded a tourism company and music publishing business. He died in Eugene, Oregon. Recognition[edit] The Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts awarded Owens the 1987 Na Hoku Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award[5] for his substantial contributions to the entertainment industry in Hawaii. Discography[edit] Albums[edit]

Hawaii, 1945, Capitol A-4,[6] BD-4, H-166, H-238[7] Songs of Hawaii, 1945, Capitol A-6,[6] BD-6, H-268[7] Hawaiian Melodies, 1948, Columbia CL-6030[8] Voice Of The Trade Winds, 1952, Capitol H-333[9] Polynesian Holiday, 1957, Capitol T 804[10] Great Songs of Hawaii, 1965, Hamilton HLP-141, HLP-12141[11]


^ "Harry Robert Owens". Discogs. Retrieved 15 June 2010.  ^ a b c Gordon, Mike (2 July 2006). "Harry Owens". The Honolulu Advertiser. Archived from the original on 2011-06-10.  ^ Walker, Leo (1989). The Big Band Almanac. Da Capo Press. p. 331. ISBN 978-0-306-80345-1.  ^ a b Gudens, Richard (2002). Bing Crosby-Crooner of the Century. Celebrity Profiles Publishing Co. pp. 41–46. ISBN 978-1-57579-248-4.  ^ " Na Hoku Hanohano Award". Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2010.  Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts ^ a b Capitol Album Discography, Part 1: The 78-rpm Albums: 1 to 149 A-4, A-6 ^ a b Capitol Album Discography, Part 2: The 10" Albums: 150 to 299 H-166, H-238, H-268 ^ Columbia 10-inch Album Discography, Part 1: Main Series (CL 6001 to CL 6099) 1948-1950 CL-6030 ^ Capitol Album Discography, Part 3: 10" Albums: 300 to 449 H-333 ^ Capitol Records
Capitol Records
Discography, Continued T 804 ^ Hamilton Album Discography HLP-141/HLP-12141

Further reading[edit] Owens, Harry. Sweet Leilani: The Story Behind the Song: An Autobiography. Hula House, 1970. External links[edit]

Harry Owens
Harry Owens
on IMDb Allmusic Aloha Harry Owens
Harry Owens
with music samples Harry Owens
Harry Owens
and His Royal Hawaiians discography - Rate Your Music Discogs Harry Owens
Harry Owens
& His Royal Hawaiian Orchestra Discography

v t e

Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame


Kalākaua Leleiohoku II Likelike Liliuokalani


Alfred Apaka Helen Desha Beamer Henri Berger Sol K. Bright Sr. Keaulumoku Joseph Kekuku Charles E. King Lena Machado Mary Pukui Victoria K. I`i Rodrigues


Albert "Sonny" Cunha Sol Hoʻopiʻi Alvin Kaleolani Isaacs Haunani Kahalewai Mekia Kealakaʻi


John Kameaaloha Almeida Irmgard Farden Aluli Robert Alexander Anderson Bina Mossman David Nape Songs honored: Hawaii
Aloha, Ua Like No A Like, Kaulana Na Pua, Makalapua and Na Ali`i


The Royal Hawaiian Band


Maddy Lam Hawaiian Chanters: Keaulumoku, Ka`opulupulu, Kapoukahi, Kapihe and Hewahewa


Haili Church Choir Genoa Keawe


Ray Kinney Gabby Pahinui

Songs honored: Alika, Kalama'ula, Wehiwehi 'Oe


Kamehameha Schools


Kahauanu Lake Kawaiahaʻo Church


Alfred Alohikea Kahauanu Lake Trio Bill Ali'iloa Lincoln Henry W. Waia`u


Mahi Beamer The Brothers Cazimero Charles K. L. Davis Linda Dela Cruz Nina Keali`iwahamana Emma Veary


Bill Ka'iwa Jesse Kalima Eddie Kamae Donald McDiarmid Sr. Peter Moon Marlene Sai John Pi'ilani Watkins


Joseph Ae'a Elizabeth "Lizzie" Kahau Kauanui Alohikea Anuhea Audrey Brown Thomas Kihei Desha Brown Alice Angeline Johnson John Keola Lake Albert Po'ai Nahale-a Sr. Leo Nahenahe Singers Palani Vaughan James Ka'upena Wong


Hui Ohana Thomas Sylvester Kalama Dennis Kamakahi Ma'iki Aiu Lake Kui Lee


Pat Namaka Bacon Andy Cummings Ernest Kaʻai Richard Kauhi Quartet Keali'i Reichel


Joseph Ilalaole Benny Kalama Sam Li'a Kalainaina Jr. Akoni Mika Alice Namakelua Olomana James Pihanui Kuluwaimaka Palea


Ka Leo Hawai‘i George Kainapau Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau George Na'ope Harry Owens Song honored: Hawaii


Kamaka Hawaii, Inc. (ukulele maker) Matthew H. Kane Iolani Luahine Napua Stevens Don Ho


Calls Sonny Chillingworth Edith Kawelohea McKinzie Puakea Nogelmeier Beverly Noa Lani Custino


Lokalia Montgomery Lei Collins Halekulani Girls (Alice Fredlund, Sybil Bright Andrews, Linda Dela Cruz) Jerry Byrd Darrell Lupenui Thaddius Wilson O’Brian Eselu


Johnny Noble Jean “Kini” Sullivan John Kaimikaua Mamo Howell Danny Kaleikini


Richard “Babe” Bell The Isaacs ‘Ohana The Kanaka’ole ‘Ohana Krash Kealoha Jacqueline "Skylark" Rossetti Kimo Kahoano Karen Keawehawai’i Melveen Leed Israel Kamakawiwoʻole

v t e

Academy Award for Best Original Song


"The Continental"

Music: Con Conrad Lyrics: Herb Magidson (1934)

"Lullaby of Broadway"

Music: Harry Warren Lyrics: Al Dubin (1935)

"The Way You Look Tonight"

Music: Jerome Kern Lyrics: Dorothy Fields
Dorothy Fields

"Sweet Leilani"

Music and lyrics: Harry Owens
Harry Owens

"Thanks for the Memory"

Music: Ralph Rainger Lyrics: Leo Robin (1938)

"Over the Rainbow"

Music: Harold Arlen Lyrics: E. Y. Harburg (1939)

"When You Wish Upon a Star"

Music: Leigh Harline Lyrics: Ned Washington (1940)


"The Last Time I Saw Paris"

Music: Jerome Kern Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II
Oscar Hammerstein II

"White Christmas"

Music and lyrics: Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin

"You'll Never Know"

Music: Harry Warren Lyrics: Mack Gordon
Mack Gordon

"Swinging on a Star"

Music: Jimmy Van Heusen Lyrics: Johnny Burke (1944)

"It Might as Well Be Spring"

Music: Richard Rodgers Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II
Oscar Hammerstein II

"On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe"

Music: Harry Warren Lyrics: Johnny Mercer
Johnny Mercer


Music: Allie Wrubel Lyrics: Ray Gilbert (1947)

"Buttons and Bows"

Music: Jay Livingston Lyrics: Ray Evans (1948)

"Baby, It's Cold Outside"

Music and lyrics: Frank Loesser
Frank Loesser

"Mona Lisa"

Music and lyrics: Ray Evans and Jay Livingston
Jay Livingston


"In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening"

Music: Hoagy Carmichael Lyrics: Johnny Mercer
Johnny Mercer

"High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin')"

Music: Dimitri Tiomkin Lyrics: Ned Washington (1952)

"Secret Love"

Music: Sammy Fain Lyrics: Paul Francis Webster (1953)

"Three Coins in the Fountain"

Music: Jule Styne Lyrics: Sammy Cahn
Sammy Cahn

"Love Is a Many Splendored Thing"

Music: Sammy Fain Lyrics: Paul Francis Webster (1955)

"Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)"

Music and lyrics: Jay Livingston
Jay Livingston
and Ray Evans (1956)

"All the Way"

Music: Jimmy Van Heusen Lyrics: Sammy Cahn
Sammy Cahn


Music: Frederick Loewe Lyrics: Alan Jay Lerner
Alan Jay Lerner

"High Hopes"

Music: Jimmy Van Heusen Lyrics: Sammy Cahn
Sammy Cahn

"Never on Sunday"

Music and lyrics: Manos Hatzidakis
Manos Hatzidakis


"Moon River"

Music: Henry Mancini Lyrics: Johnny Mercer
Johnny Mercer

"Days of Wine and Roses"

Music: Henry Mancini Lyrics: Johnny Mercer
Johnny Mercer

"Call Me Irresponsible"

Music: Jimmy Van Heusen Lyrics: Sammy Cahn
Sammy Cahn

"Chim Chim Cher-ee"

Music and lyrics: Richard M. Sherman
Richard M. Sherman
and Robert B. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman

"The Shadow of Your Smile"

Music: Johnny Mandel Lyrics: Paul Francis Webster (1965)

"Born Free"

Music: John Barry Lyrics: Don Black (1966)

" Talk
to the Animals"

Music and lyrics: Leslie Bricusse (1967)

"The Windmills of Your Mind"

Music: Michel Legrand Lyrics: Alan and Marilyn Bergman (1968)

"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"

Music: Burt Bacharach Lyrics: Hal David
Hal David

"For All We Know"

Music: Fred Karlin Lyrics: Robb Royer
Robb Royer
and Jimmy Griffin (1970)


"Theme from Shaft"

Music and lyrics: Isaac Hayes
Isaac Hayes

"The Morning After"

Music and lyrics: Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn (1972)

"The Way We Were"

Music: Marvin Hamlisch Lyrics: Alan and Marilyn Bergman (1973)

"We May Never Love Like This Again"

Music and lyrics: Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn (1974)

"I'm Easy"

Music and lyrics: Keith Carradine
Keith Carradine

"Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)"

Music: Barbra Streisand Lyrics: Paul Williams (1976)

"You Light Up My Life"

Music and lyrics: Joseph Brooks (1977)

"Last Dance"

Music and lyrics: Paul Jabara
Paul Jabara

"It Goes Like It Goes"

Music: David Shire Lyrics: Norman Gimbel (1979)


Music: Michael Gore Lyrics: Dean Pitchford (1980)


"Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)"

Music and lyrics: Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross and Peter Allen (1981)

"Up Where We Belong"

Music: Jack Nitzsche
Jack Nitzsche
and Buffy Sainte-Marie Lyrics: Will Jennings (1982)

"Flashdance... What a Feeling"

Music: Giorgio Moroder Lyrics: Keith Forsey and Irene Cara (1983)

"I Just Called to Say I Love You"

Music and lyrics: Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder

"Say You, Say Me"

Music and lyrics: Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie

"Take My Breath Away"

Music: Giorgio Moroder Lyrics: Tom Whitlock (1986)

"(I've Had) The Time of My Life"

Music: Franke Previte, John DeNicola and Donald Markowitz Lyrics: Franke Previte (1987)

"Let the River Run"

Music and lyrics: Carly Simon
Carly Simon

"Under the Sea"

Music: Alan Menken Lyrics: Howard Ashman (1989)

"Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)"

Music and lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim


"Beauty and the Beast"

Music: Alan Menken Lyrics: Howard Ashman (1991)

"A Whole New World"

Music: Alan Menken Lyrics: Tim Rice
Tim Rice

"Streets of Philadelphia"

Music and lyrics: Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen

"Can You Feel the Love Tonight"

Music: Elton John Lyrics: Tim Rice
Tim Rice

"Colors of the Wind"

Music: Alan Menken Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz (1995)

"You Must Love Me"

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics: Tim Rice
Tim Rice

"My Heart Will Go On"

Music: James Horner Lyrics: Will Jennings (1997)

"When You Believe"

Music and lyrics: Stephen Schwartz (1998)

"You'll Be in My Heart"

Music and lyrics: Phil Collins
Phil Collins

"Things Have Changed"

Music and lyrics: Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan


"If I Didn't Have You (Disney song)"

Music and lyrics: Randy Newman
Randy Newman

"Lose Yourself"

Music: Eminem, Jeff Bass and Luis Resto Lyrics: Eminem

"Into the West"

Music and lyrics: Fran Walsh, Howard Shore
Howard Shore
and Annie Lennox
Annie Lennox

"Al otro lado del río"

Music and lyrics: Jorge Drexler
Jorge Drexler

"It's Hard out Here for a Pimp"

Music and lyrics: Juicy J, Frayser Boy and DJ Paul
DJ Paul

"I Need to Wake Up"

Music and lyrics: Melissa Etheridge
Melissa Etheridge

"Falling Slowly"

Music and lyrics: Glen Hansard
Glen Hansard
and Markéta Irglová
Markéta Irglová

"Jai Ho"

Music: A. R. Rahman Lyrics: Gulzar

"The Weary Kind"

Music and lyrics: Ryan Bingham
Ryan Bingham
and T Bone Burnett
T Bone Burnett

"We Belong Together"

Music and lyrics: Randy Newman
Randy Newman


"Man or Muppet"

Music and lyrics: Bret McKenzie
Bret McKenzie


Music and lyrics: Adele
Adkins and Paul Epworth (2012)

"Let It Go"

Music and lyrics: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
Robert Lopez


Music and lyrics: John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn (2014)

"Writing's on the Wall"

Music and lyrics: James Napier and Sam Smith (2015)

"City of Stars"

Music: Justin Hurwitz Lyrics: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (2016)

"Remember Me"

Music and lyrics: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
Robert Lopez

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 80372592 LCCN: no89011705 ISNI: 0000 0001 1576 2946 GND: 135942500 BNF: cb138070250 (data) MusicBrainz: d7ec9d53-9015-4f15-b5cd-5418ce7748b7 SN