BOOK’S JOOK: John Rowles’ “Cheryl Moana Marie”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

    John Rowles photo JohnRowles_45_zps4f385bcc.jpg
    This is one of the first songs I remember listening to as a kid, because it was one of my dad’s all time favorite songs. While John Rowles’ comes from New Zealand, the lyrics of the song he co-wrote could be appreciated by anyone who lived on an island, although in this case it refers to a lady from Maui. Being Hawaiian, this is something that my dad could appreciate deeply, for it’s not just about missing a woman from afar, but it uses a woman as a metaphor for missing a place they called home.

    Rowles simple sings “In the sleepy little town where soft breezes blow/there’s a lovely little Maui Miss I used to know/someday I’ll go find my way and I’ll return from over the sea/to where my island sweetheart waits for me.“. It’s plain and simple. The chorus is easy to remember too, but when the chorus comes back and we hear that there are two parts to it instead of one, it pulls the heartstrings:
    Cheryl Moana Marie
    someday our waiting will end
    safe in my arms she will be
    my Cheryl Moana Marie

    For years, the moment you heard this song being played, either everyone would sing along or everyone would stop and cry emotionally. It allows all islanders to reminisce about a “woman” we long fore, hoping that one day we’ll return to her comfort and be happy again. Sadly, the song only went as high as #61 on Billboard’s Pop Singles chart but amongst Pacific Rim countries along with the state of Hawai’i, it became an instant classic.

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