Bill Tapia was born in Honolulu on January 1, 1908. That’s 103 years ago! And what a ukulele player.
He learned how to play the uke at 7 years old, and went on to play it for the rest of his life. From the streets of Honolulu to performing for Hollywood stars like Charlie Chaplin: he played and played.
Bill — or Uncle Bill, as he was known — played with all the greats! Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley and Hawaiian musicians King Bennie Nawahi, Sol Ho‘opi’i, and Andy Iona. In the ’50s, the ukulele went out of style, so Bill switched to guitar. But he never forgot his first love!
At age 97, Bill recorded his first album. That’s right, his first! It was called “The Duke of Uke” and he proved to everyone that he never lost it. Someone even made a documentary about him, called “To You Sweetheart, Aloha.
But don’t take my word for it, folks!
Take a listen to Uncle Bill, doing what he loved to do best…
Bill passed away last week. All our biggest South Pacific love to his family and fans!
Thanks for reading,