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“Sweet Leilani” by Harry Owens . . . . Hawaiian classic . . . Chord/Melody arrangement by Ukulele Mike Lynch . . . contained in the Chord/Melody eBook TWO (now reduced to just $20.00) . . . Check out the Christmas Chord melody ebook

May 11, 2016

Leilani BLog Header

Recorded performance of “Sweet Leilani” by Bing Crosby in a very high falsetto

We read in Wikipedia that “Sweet Leilani” is a song featured in the 1937 film, Waikiki Wedding. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song,[2] and Bing Crosby‘s record became one of the biggest hits of 1937.

Harry Owens wrote the song on October 20, 1934 for his daughter Leilani, who was born the previous day. Leilani is a popular Hawaiian name, meaning “heavenly garland of flowers” (not “heavenly flower”). It also has a figurative meaning: Small Hawaiian children were carried on their parents’ shoulders like a lei (garland), so the name took on the meaning “heavenly child.”]

Prior to Waikiki Wedding, the song had been recorded by Sol Hoʻopiʻi under the title “Leilani” as the B-side of “Hawaiian Honeymoon” (Brunswick Records 55085).

Harry Owens and his Royal Hawaiians performed “Sweet Leilani” in the 1938 film Cocoanut Grove starring Fred MacMurray.

Here are the opening few measures in my Chord/Melody arrangement of “Sweet Leilani”

Leilani 1

Make note that the melody in these opening bars is quite low . . . residing on the 3rd string. .  Be very careful not to play the 3rd or 4th strings during this passage.  Below is yet again another short excerpt from “Sweet Leilani”


Chromatic (half step) shifts are extremely common in Hawaiian songs. In the opening of the Bridge of this song we instantly have chromatic shifts going from the 3rd fret to the 2nd fret and then to the 1st fret.  Then, in the second measure we have a shift from the Bb chord to the F chord.  I had originally thought I might make those Chromatic shifts in the first measure of the Bridge as chordal shifts but decided against it to allow this arrangement to be more accessible to most players.  If you are adventuresome, see if you can figure out what those chords might be. . .

“Sweet Leilani” is contained in the Chord/Melody eBook TWO and can be purchased by making a payment of just $20.00 through the paypal button on my website: Once the payment is made, it will be personally emailed to you within the day.

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Table of Contents of Chord/Melody eBook TWO

Table of contents for book 2

All three of the current Chord/Melody series collections can be purchased individualAnnouncing for just $20.00 or all together at a new “TRILOGY” combined discount of just $50.00

Trilogy combo price slide header

Announcing the release of the NEW Chord melody ebook FOUR  $25.95



All 4 Chord Melody ebooks can be purchased at a combo QUARTET discount of  $70


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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 3, 2016 2:54 p08

    Reblogged this on UKULELE MIKE LYNCH – All things UKULELE and commented:

    A great song to do as a medley with Pearly shells

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