HO DEADApril 15, 2007
Donald Ho Tai Loy (August 13, 1930 ~ April 14, 2007) has died. Mr. Ho was a Hawaiian musician and entertainer. Ho, of mixed descent, was born in the small Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako, but he grew up in Kaneohe on the windward side of the island of Oahu. In 1954 Ho entered the USAF and spent time flying fighter jets in both Texas and Hawaii. Ho left the Air Force in 1960 due to his mother’s illness. In 1962, he moved from Kāneʻohe to Waikiki in Honolulu and played at a night club called Duke’s, where he caught the attention of record company officials.
Ho released his debut album, Don Ho Show, in 1965 and began to play high profile locations in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and New York City. In 1966 he released his second album, a live compilation called Don Ho — Again!, which charted in the early part of that year. In the fall of 1966, Ho released his most famous song, “Tiny Bubbles,” which charted on both the pop and easy listening charts and caused the subsequent Tiny Bubbles LP to remain in the album Top 20 for almost a year. Another song that was familiar with Don was the song “Pearly Shells”. Guest appearances on television shows such as The Brady Bunch soon followed. Although his album sales peaked in the late 1960s, he was able to land a television spot on ABC from October 1976 to March 1977 with the Don Ho Show variety program which aired on weekday mornings.
In September 2006 Ho married Haumea Hebenstreit, who produced his show at the Waikiki Beachcomber. Ho’s daughter, Hoku, performed with her father in his Waikīkī show and later went on to become a nationally known recording artist in her own right.
Ho died on today in Hawaii at age 76 from a heart attack, and will be dearly missed. Aloha, Ho!