The Hawaiʻi State Archives preserves a hand-written manuscript by Liliʻuokalani, dated 1878, with the score of the song, the lyrics, Liliʻuokalani's English translation, and her note evidently added later: "Composed at Maunawili 1878. Played by the Royal Hawaiian Band in San Francisco August 1883 and became very popular".
Translation of "Aloha Oe" handwritten by Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii, 1838-1917.
Aloha ʻOe - Wikipedia
The Originals © by Arnold Rypens - ALOHA OE
The story of the origin of the song has several variations. They all have in common that the song was inspired by a notable farewell embrace given by Colonel James Harbottle Boyd during a horseback trip taken by Princess Liliʻuokalani in 1877 or 1878 to the Boyd ranch in Maunawili on the windward side of Oʻahu, and that the members of the party hummed the tune on the way back to Honolulu. Different versions tell of alternate recipients of the embrace — either Liliʻuokalani's sister Princess Likelike Cleghorn or a young lady at the ranch. SEE: Aloha Oe
According to the most familiar version of the story: This tender farewell set Liliʻuokalani to thinking, and she began humming to herself on the homeward trip. Overhearing, Charles Wilson observed, "That sounds like The Lone Rock by the Sea". a comment with which Liliʻuokalani is said to have agreed. When the party paused to rest in an orange grove on the Honolulu side of the Pali, the others joined in the hummings, and the song was completed later at Washington Place.
The tune of the verse of "Aloha Oe" resembles "The Rock Beside the Sea", recalled by Charles Wilson as "The Lone Rock by the Sea" and composed by Charles Crozat Converse and published in 1852 by Lee & Walker in Philadelphia.
The rock beside the sea, ballad | Library of Congress
126.093 - The Rock Beside the Sea. A Romanza. | Levy Music Collection
Music from 1800-1860
Listen to a midi of "Rock Beside The Sea" : http://www.pdmusic.org/1800s/52trbts.mid
The Serbo-Croatian folk song, "Sedi Mara (Na Kamen Studencu)" (Girl On The Rock), credited to Mita Popovic (1841-1886), also resembles "The Rock Beside The Sea".
On the internet we often read that "Aloha Oe" / "The Rock Beside The Sea" was derived from "Sedi Mara", but I think it's the other way round.
"The Rock Beside The Sea" was published in 1852 in Philadelphia, and the composer of "Sedi Mara", Mita Popovic, was then 11 years old. Most likely he composed the song years later, when he got hold of sheet music of "The Rock Beside The Sea", which, as we see above here, pictures a girl on a rock on the frontpage.
Sidi Mara - Wikipedia
In 1926 a Serbo-Croation Male Quartette recorded "Sedi Mara" in New York.
(o) Male Singing Quartet accompanied by Tamburaški Zbora "Jorgovan".
Recorded June, 1926 in New York City.
Released on Columbia 1043-F (USA)
Tamburaški Zbora "Jorgovan"* - Sedi Mara / Da Bi Ove Ruže Male (Shellac) at Discogs
Also released as "Sedi Mara (Седи Мара)" on Columbia D 8469 (UK)
Digitalna Narodna biblioteka Srbije
Captain Heinrich Berger, a Prussian military bandmaster, may be responsible for introducing the melody to Hawaii.
Berger knew the tune from popular 19th century Austrian song "Die Träne" (The Tear), supposedly adapted from same former Serbo-Croatian source.
In 1872 Captain Berger was summoned by Prince Kalakaua, the (then future) king of Hawaii, to come and set up a local music program and to lead the Royal Hawaiian Band. Berger stayed in Hawaii for the rest of his life, also composing what became the local national hymn Hawaii Ponoï, based on Prussian hymn Heil Dir im Siegerkranz and inspired by God Save The King/Queen. He conducted some 32.000 concerts and became close with queen Liliuokalani, who dubbed him "The father of Hawaiian Music".
"Aloha Oe" was first introduced in America in 1883 by the Royal Hawaiian Band with Heinrich (Henry) Berger conducting.
Musicologist Sigmund Spaeth noted that the first two measures of the melody of the chorus (which are arpeggiated IV-I chords) also resemble the chorus of George Frederick Root's 1854 song "There's Music In The Air", but measures 3 and 4 differ from it. Published by Mason Bros. in the musical monthly called "The Musical Review".
Click on "view" and then go to page 98 and page 253 of the next link:
The chorus begins at 32 seconds in the YT below:
According to the book, "From Edison to Marconi: The First Thirty Years of Recorded Music," the first recording of "Aloha Oe" was already made in 1898 on Berliner cylinder 515. Details of the performer are not given, only "Orchestra" being indicated."
Berliner Discs - numerical listing discography no prefix
A catalogue issued by Columbia Records in 1901 mentioned two wax cylinders labeled "Vocal Solos in Hawaiian", containing recordings of "Aloha ʻOe" (# 30200) and "Kuʻu Pua I Paoakalani" (# 30201). Neither on the labels nor in the catalogue was any further information given regarding the performer(s). It is uncertain if this was recorded in Hawaii or New York.
In 2020 "Aloha Oe" was was offered in a record auction. VINTAGE RECORD AUCTION #14
See also next link: https://archive.org/stream/
A more detailed documented version was recorded in 1904
(c) Quartet of Hawaiian Girls from Kawaihao Seminary (1904)
Recorded July 1904
Released on Victor 15038
Zonophone matrix 1174. Aloha oe / Quartette of Hawaiian Girls from Kawaiho Seminary - Discography of American Historical Recordings
(c) Ellis Bros. Glee Club Quartet (1904)
Recorded July 1904
Released on Victor 15052
Browse All Recordings | Aloha oe, Take  (1904-07-01) | National Jukebox LOC.gov
Zonophone matrix 1189. Aloha oe / Ellis Brothers Glee Club Quartet - Discography of American Historical Recordings
(c) Royal Hawaiian Troubadours (1905)
Recorded March 1905
Released on American Record Company # 30936
American Record Company, by Matrix numbers
Columbia Records recorded a duet of the song by Nani Alapai and Henry N. Clark in 1911.
"Aloha Oe" features Madame Nani Alapai, reputed to have been the first singer for the Royal Hawaiian Band, and Henry N. Clark, brother of Harry.
"Aloha 'Oe" includes violin and flute accompaniment, instruments largely replaced by the steel guitar in the typical Hawaiian ensemble of the 1910s. Charmian London wrote of Nani Alapai's unique voice after hearing her sing in 1907
Nalu Music » Ukulele Miscellany
(c) Sousa's Band (1911)
Recorded December 14, 1911 in Camden, New Jersey
Released on Victor 17035
Browse All Recordings | Aloha oe, Take 2 (1911-12-14) | National Jukebox LOC.gov
Victor matrix B-11377. Aloha oe / Sousa's Band - Discography of American Historical Recordings
VICTOR 78rpm numerical listing discography: 17000 - 17499
(c) Toots Paka's Hawaiians (1913)
Recorded April 26, 1913
Released on Edison Blue Amberol: 1812
Aloha Oe, by Toots Paka's Hawaiians (1913)
Edison Blue Amberol: 1812. “Aloha oe” / Toots Paka's Hawaiians. | UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive
Listen here: cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/mp3s/9000/9022/cusb-cyl9022d.mp3
Or here: Aloha Oe - Toots Paka's Hawaiians - Video Dailymotion
(c) Hawaiian Quintette (1913) (as "Aloha Oe")
Recorded April 11, 1913 in Camden, New Jersey
Released on Victor 18577 and Victor 65348
Browse All Recordings | Aloha oe, Take 1 (1913-04-11) | National Jukebox LOC.gov
78 RPM - Hawaiian Quintette - Aloha Oe (Farewell To Thee) / Kuu Home (Native Plantation Song) - Victor - USA - 65348
(c) Arthur Pryor's Band (1913) (as "Medley Hawaii Ponoi - Aloha Oe")
Recorded June 16, 1913 in Camden, Nerw Jersey
Released on Victor 18579-B and also on Victor 65440
78 RPM - Hawaiian Quintette - Maui Girl (Girl From The Island Of Maui) / Hawaii Ponoi And Aloha Oe - Victor - USA - 85440
Hawaiian Music Collection
A 1913 score can be seen at the Levy Sheet Music Collection. Aloha Oe. (Farewell To Thee). [English and Hawaiian] - The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection
(c) Ford Hawaiians (1917) (as "Aloha Oe")
Released on Edison Blue Amberol #3149 and Edison # 5105
“Aloha oe” / Ford Hawaiians. | UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive
(c) Toots Paka Hawaiian Company (1914) (as "Aloha Oe")
Recorded June 19, 1914 in New York
Released on Columbia A 1616
Columbia matrix 39462. Aloha oe / Toots Paka Hawaiian Company - Discography of American Historical Recordings
Toots Paka Hawaiian Company* - Aloha Oe / Hawaiian Medley (Shellac) at Discogs
78 RPM - Toots Paka Hawaiian Company - Aloha Oe / Hawaiian Medley - Columbia - USA - A1616
(c) Alma Gluck (1917) (as "Aloha Oe (Farewell To Thee)")
Recorded June 26, 1917 in Camden, New Jersey
Released on Victor (Victrola) 74534 and 6143
Hawaiian Music Collection
Victor matrix C-20093. Aloha oe / Alma Gluck - Discography of American Historical Recordings
Alma Gluck And Orpheus Quartet - Aloha Oe (Farewell To Thee) (Shellac) at Discogs
Aloha Oe, by Alma Gluck (1917)
(c) Ferera's Hawaiian Instrumental Quintette (1924) (as "Aloha Oe (Farewell To Thee)") TOP 10 US
Recorded October 18, 1923
Released on Columbia 21-D
78 RPM - Ferera's Hawaiian Instrumental Quintette - One Two, Three, Four / Aloha Oe (Farewell To Thee) - Columbia - USA - 21D
(c) Hilo Hawaiian Orchestra (1927) (as "Aloha Oe")
Recorded February 21, 1927
Released on Victor 20516
Aloha Oe! (Farewell To Thee) : Hilo Hawaiian Orchestra : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
Listen here: https://ia801509.us.archive.org/7/items/78_aloha-oe-farewell-to-thee_hilo-hawaiian-orchestra-queen-liliuokalani_gbia0001927a/Aloha Oe! (Farewell To Thee) - Hilo Hawaiian Orchestra.mp3
(c) Kees Pruis (1928) (as "Tabe")
Dutch lyrics by Kees Pruis
Recorded October 20, 1928 in Berlin
78 RPM - Kees Pruis - Rita / Tabe (Aloha Oe) - Homocord - Netherlands - 4-5932
(c) Bing Crosby (1936) (as "Aloha Oe (Farewell To Thee)")
Recorded July 23, 1936 in Los Angeles
A Bing Crosby Discography - part 1b - Commercial Recordings - The Decca Years
Released in 1939 on Decca 78 RPM (# 880-A) as part of the compilation album "Music Of Hawaii" (Decca Album 10)
78 RPM - Various Artists - Music Of Hawaii - Decca - USA
Hawaiian Music Collection
78 RPM - Bing Crosby - Song Of The Islands / Aloha Oe (Farewell To Thee) - Decca - USA - 880
Listen here: digicoll.manoa.hawaii.edu/music/Libraries/medialibrary/554.mp3
(c) Harry Owens and his Royal Hawaiian Hotel Orchestra (1938) (as "Aloha Oe")
Recorded April 13, 1938 in Los Angeles
Released on Decca 1907
Harry Owens And His Hawaiians: A Discography
Listen here: aloha-oe-farewell-to-thee_harry-owens.mp3
Or to a sample here (it's the last song of the collection)
Hawaiian Memories - Take Two Records
In 1938 Sol Hoopii recorded "Aloha Oe Blues", which was derived from Liliuokalani's song.
(c) Sol Hoopii and his Novelty Five (1938)
Recorded December 15, 1938 in Los Angeles
Released on Decca 2560 B
Hawaiian Music Collection
Listen here: http://digicoll.manoa.hawaii.edu/music/Libraries/medialibrary/3115.mp3
(c) Marty Robbins (1954)
Recorded December 19, 1953
Released on Columbia 21213.
45cat - Marty Robbins - My Isle Of Golden Dreams / Aloha Oe (Farewell To Thee) - Columbia - USA - 4-21213
(c) Billy Vaughn (1959) (as "Aloha Oe")
Vinyl Album - Billy Vaughn And His Orchestra - Blue Hawaii - Dot - USA
An albumtrack from "Blue Hawaii" was released as a 45 in Germany and was a Top 10 Hit.
45cat - Billy Vaughn And His Orchestra - Aloha Oe / Your Cheatin´ Heart (Es kommt ein Tag) - London - Germany - DL 20 254
(c) Harmonica Duo K. Schriebl / J. Hupperts (1959) (as "Vaarwel Wals)
Adapted by J. van der Wal.
45cat - Harmonica Duo K. Schriebl / J. Hupperts - Kerkraadse Jongens - Philips - Netherlands
(c) De Straatzangers (1961) (as "Vaarwel Wals")
Adapted by J. van der Wal.
De Straatzangers | Nldiscografie.nl
(c) Elvis Presley (1961) (as "Aloha Oe")
Elvis recorded Aloha-Oe on March 21, 1961, at Radio Recorders for his film, Blue Hawaii.
Elvis Presley - Blue Hawaii (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs
The commercial release was a mix of two different takes.
(c) Freddy (1962) (as "Alo-Ahe")
Another big German Hit for Freddy (# 5 in the Charts)
45cat - Freddy - Alo-Ahé / Und das weite Meer - Polydor - Germany - 24 781
Freddy* - Alo Ahe (Vinyl) at Discogs
Here's a version from the film "Freddy und das Lied der Südsee" (1962)
The refrain of "Aloha Oe" was also used in 1970 in Sergio Endrigo's "L'Arca Di Noe" (which was covered in 1971 by Ken Dodd)
In 1972 the tune was adapted by Dutch producer John Moring for the song "Let Us Try".
In 1974 the tune was adapted by Ben ten Donkelaar for the song "Eenmaal Zullen Wij De Kampioenen Zijn" (Once we will be the champions). It was sung by the Dutch Football Club FC Twente. Finally after 36 years in 2010 they became the champion of the Dutch Football League.
Eddy Achterberg - F.C. Twente (Eenmaal zullen wij de kampioenen zijn) - dutchcharts.nl
(c) Johnny Jordaan and Willy Alberti (1975) (as "Vaarwel Wals")
Willy Alberti En Johnny Jordaan - Successen Uit Onze Jeugd (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs
(c) Mireille Mathieu (1976) (as "Aloa-He")
Adapted by Christian Bruhn and Georg Buschor.
This was a German hit for Mireille.
Released on the Ariola-label
Mireille Mathieu - Aloa-He (Vinyl) at Discogs
(c) Goombay Dance Band (1980) (as "Aloha Oe") (Hit in the German charts)
Goombay Dance Band - Aloha-Oe, Until We Meet Again (Vinyl) at Discogs
In the Disney film Lilo & Stitch (2002), the song is sung briefly by the character Nani Pelekai (voiced by Tia Carrere) as a means to say goodbye to her sister Lilo, as they were going to be separated from each other by then.
It is sung again in its franchise's fourth film Leroy & Stitch (2006) by Lilo (Daveigh Chase), Stitch (Chris Sanders), and Reuben (Rob Paulsen) to shut down the Leroy clones.
(c) Johnny Cash (2010) (as "Aloha Oe")
Recorded in the summer of 2003, shortly before his death.
Released as the final track on American VI: Ain't No Grave"
Johnny Cash - American VI: Ain't No Grave (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs
American VI: Ain't No Grave - Wikipedia
The popular hymn, “He’s Coming Soon,” written by Thoro Harris around 1918, used a the familiar tune of Queen Liliuokalani’s “Aloha Oe.”
Harris wrote “He’s Coming Soon” based on the Bible’s teaching about the return of Christ: "The dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
Story Behind the Song: A hymn with a 'royal' tune
He’s Coming Soon
He's Coming Soon - Hymnary.org
More versions of "Aloha Oe" here:
Cover versions of Aloha Oe written by Liliuokalani | SecondHandSongs
and more here:
Hawaiian Music Collection 1
Hawaiian Music Collection 2
Hawaiian Music Collection 3
Hawaiian Music Collection 4
Hawaiian Music Collection 5
Hawaiian Music Collection 6
Hawaiian Music Collection 7
Hawaiian Music Collection 8
Hawaiian Music Collection 9
Hawaiian Music Collection 10