JANUARY 29, 1874


Considered the “Dean of Hawaiian Music”, King was one of Hawai’i’s foremost composers, publishers, and band leaders.  He published three song books that are treasured sources by musicians and fans of Hawaiian music.  Queen Emma was his godmother and Queen Lili`iuokalani was his music teacher. Fluent in the Hawaiian language, King’s knowledge and appreciation of Hawaiian culture and history was reflected in his compositions. Although an innovator who added complex harmonic structure to Hawaiian music, King was a traditionalist who insisted that Hawaiian songs should have Hawaiian lyrics, the subject should be about Hawai’i, and the melodic quality nahe.nahe (sweet) and not “jazzed up.”  King’s first hit song, Na Lei O Hawai`I, was published in 1915, when he was 42.  From then until his death, February 27, 1950, in Queens, NY, he became one of Hawai`i’s most productive composers.

Source: “Charles E. King (1874-1950),” Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.  Retrieved 6/6/2019, http://www.digitaldna.co.jp/hawaiianmusichalloffame/hmhof/honorees/1995/king.html
Photo:  Author unknown, pre-1921.  Published in Siddall, John William , ed. (1921) Men of Hawaii, 2, p. 235.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less.