So, with Iam Tongi crowned as the 2023 “American Idol,” there’s buzz of all kinds about his potential as a bona fide star of the future.
You know, work his way up to the ranks of a Bruno Mars. Maybe sings on the soundtrack of an island-themed movie. Maybe lands a lucrative recording contract.
Will Tongi, pictured left, join the ranks of the rich and famous? Hope so. However, he needs to chart a plan and secure a skilled talent manager to help oversee his interests and collaborate with the goal of shaping a career path. Tongi requires a vision to match his unique talent
My former Honolulu Advertiser colleague Bart Asato, a dependable, prolific and spot-on commentator and observer of the tempo and flavors of life, is currently reflecting (on Facebook) on who among the former and even current musicians and entertainers, have charted No. 1 hits.
Because Bruno, pictured right, is very now and very wow, we know Mars frequently on the charts, as himself backed by the Hooligans, and also as one-half of Silk Sonic, a smooth r&b act.
And yes, Asato’s right about Bette Midler, pictured left, the Divine Miss M. Her credits include “From a Distance,” which peaked at No. 2; “The Rose,” which went to #3; “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” which surprising peaked at #8; and “Do You Wanna Dance” topped out at #17.
“Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You” was soooooo popular, even performed by a teen-age Glenn Medeiros on “The Tonight Show” hosted by Johnny Carson.
Medeiros, pictured left, also had a biggie, with rapper Bobby Brown, “She Ain’t Worth It,” which was #1 in the UK but reached #12 in the U.S.
Other early groundbreaking island talents included Robin Luke, pictured above, a Punahou teen, who wrote and sang an original about his kid sister, and “Susie Darling” was a hottie on “American Bandstand” and peaked at #5.
The Kingston Trio, pictured right on a Life Magazine cover, featured Bob Shane, Dave Guard and Nick Reynolds, was a folk music legend with “Tom Dooley” spiraling to #1. Share and Guard were Buffanblu grads. All are deceased now.
Another star who called Hawaii home, Tommy Sands, was truly “The Singin’ Idol,” a TV film that produced “Teen-age Crush,” Sands’ signature song, which was #1 on Cashbox and #2 on Billboard. Sands, pictured right, starred at the old Outrigger Showroom at the Outrigger Waikiki, and gigged as a nostalgia star before relocating here.
Martin Denny, specializing in exotic music, became a global guru of what evolved as tiki music, was knows for his reinterpretation of a Les Baxter instrumental, “Quiet Village,” which became his signature. He did periodic Hawaii shows and retired in Hawaii Kai, where he died in 2005 at age 93.
So arigato, Asato-san, for your reminiscence. Doing this bit not to compete with you, but to complement your thoughts…
And that’s Show Biz. …