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Tiki rock 'n roll songs

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I was listening to The Coaster's "Idol With the Golden Head" (by the great Leiber and Stoller), and it got me wondering how many rock 'n roll songs reference tikis.

Off the top of my head:

"Tiki Twist" by The Vistas (pic posted on TC perviously by Mau Mau, lucky owner of the 45), that I've heard on Music to Spazz By on WFMU.org

Reference to Trader Vic's in "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon

Any more? I guess new artists count, but bands like the Tiki Tones are too obvious. I'm looking for old songs mostly.

I vote Martin Denny's track "Voodoo Love" as a primordial example of what tiki rock can be.. Man the first time I heard it (coming off of a segue from "Exotica"), i thought the natives were restless!

My favorite song about Tiki is

"Tiki Man" by Deadbolt (1994) "the scariest band in the world"

"Gone to Tahiti on vacation, In the jungle I found me a Tiki man.
Well you can understand my elation, when the natives, they all shook my hand.
The head of the village said "Destroy It." But I'm no fool, I kept it anyway.
Now to this day I regret it. When I found you, little Tiki man.

Tiki Man. Got nothig to do with you. Tiki Man. Our partnership is through. Tiki man. I'll tell you right now. You're never going to leave it alone.

Soon I discovered my special powers, me and my old friend, the Tiki man.I could float around my room for many hours, and make some certain people disappear. But there was something terribly disturbing, my eyes turned ruby red like a Tiki man.Now for all time I 'm cursed forever, thanks to my friend the Tiki man."

Repeat chorus..........

Stories sung or told over a surf/rockabilly soundtrack. Like Billy Bob Thornton meets Dick Dale and the Cowslingers. I love these guys.

They have a compilation cd "Haight Street Hippie Massacre" that includes Tiki Man and some live cuts........very exotic.

There is a song called "Tiki Bar" on a recent cd by the Gamble Brothers.....a Jazz/Funk kinda thing. I also like "Tiki Torches At Twilight" by David Lindley & El Rayo X.

There was a four track 7'' by The Tikis in the early sixties. They had a tiki on the cover and one track is Big Feet, along the lines of the popular mashed potato dance of the day. I have it somewhere, but can’t check now if there are actual tiki references in the other titles.


"Leilani" by the Hoodoo Gurus is a great song for the genre even if the word "tiki" is not in it. an island princess who sacrifices herself to the volcano gods? Yeah, that works for me.



"Tiki God" by the Presidents of the United States of America.

The Cramps' album "Psychedelic Jungle" has a few songs that could maybe be considered tiki r&r...especially the songs "Voodoo Idol","Jungle Hop" and "The Natives Are Restless". Also, on The Cramps' album "Fiends of Dope Island" they cover the song "Taboo." And Screamin' Jay Hawkins has a song called "Feast of the Mau Mau" that basically describes a bunch of natives eating some really unpleasant things.

[ Edited by: BryanDeanMartin 2006-02-28 16:22 ]

I just thought too of Elvis' Hawaiian movies, especially Blue Hawaii, with Blue Hawaii, Rock-A-Hula Baby, Hawaiian Wedding Song, and Aloha Oe...

On Surfer’s Mood 1 (Romulan Records) there’s a track called TUM-TIKI by The Enchanters.
Of course Kon-Tiki by The Shadows, too.
Along the lines of Jungle Hop and such I always liked Little Anthony & The Imperial Chimmy Chimmy Koko Pop.


[ Edited by: Kawentzmann 2006-03-01 06:54 ]

mbonga posted on Wed, Mar 1, 2006 7:20 AM
rupe33 posted on Wed, Mar 1, 2006 8:37 AM

I think the Donovan song should count if you make it into a mashup with Eden Ahbez's "Mongoose"!!!!


Some I've put into a playlist, though some may just be Hawaii focused:

  • "Bartender, Knock Me A Zombie" - the Four Shades of Rhythm
  • "The Hula Hula Boys" - Warren Zevon
  • "Make Mayan a Hawaiian" - Southern Culture on the Skids
  • "Aloha Steve and Danno" - Radio Birdman
  • "Hawaiian Sunrise" - Neil Young
  • "Holiday in Waikiki" - the Kinks (complaining about how commercial Hawaii had become... in 1966!)
  • "Let's Talk Dirty in Hawaiian" - John Prine
  • "Tiki Gods Theme" - Elliot Easton's Tiki Gods
  • "Voodoo" - Chris Isaak
  • "Yellow Bird" - Chris Isaak
  • "No Aloha" - the Breeders
  • "Pet Sounds" - the Beach Boys
  • "Let's Go Away For A While" - the Beach Boys
  • "South Seas Dreams" - Angelo Badalamenti & David Lynch
  • "Hula Hoppin'" - Angelo Badalamenti & David Lynch
  • "Tiki God" - Presidents of the United States of America

[ Edited by rupe33 on 2022-11-28 08:17:10 ]


Annette Funicello's "Pineapple Princess"? After all, it was a huge hit back then!

"Little Brown Gal" Charles Kaipo?

"Rock-A-Hula-Baby" Elvis Presley.

And although I could never bear it, I suppose mention must be made of "Pearly Shells" Burl Ives.

And who could forget the huge hit "The Witchdoctor" by David Seville? It's popularity actually rescued Liberty Records from near bankruptcy. Not bad for a novelty song.


[ Edited by TIKIGIKI on 2022-11-29 14:07:53 ]

Here's a clip of a New Zealand band called "The Quin-Tikis" performing "Guitar Boogie Shuffle" from the 1966 film "Don't Let It Get You":


Interesting write-up on the history of the Quin-Tikis and several other Rotoruan bands here:


[ Edited by MrBaliHai on 2022-11-29 17:36:11 ]


I don't know it these are rock or not but local guys here in Ohio..

Fascist Girl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2EInR_IkUY

Easter Island Head https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibiS26Tky40

There is an old thread here on Hulabilly which has some suggestions which might be a bit more rock-y than a few of the above:


On side note I "worked" in community radio for a number of years and here is a show I did about a year and a half ago. It is an edited version of a fill-in show that never happened. The focus was on Hulabiily and a bit of history of Hawaiian guitar in C&W. A number of Hulabilly recommended tracks from the thread are in the 2nd half. Plus a wee pic of mine of The Hula Girls at the Mai Kai: For those interested it is archived with whole playlist just click the Listen Now link here:


[ Edited by rum on the rideau on 2022-12-04 16:36:01 ]


A few years ago I was at False Idol in San Diego and the song "S.T.O.P." by Lorelei came on. Other than the group name sounding vaguely Polynesian, it has nothing to do with tiki. It's a straight-up girl group soul song from the '70s. Then last year I was at Smugglers Cove in SF and the same song came on. So I guess the two bars share playlists along with cocktails.

But what I really got out of it was maybe my playlist was a little too obvious. So while it's still dominated by exotica by Denny, Lyman, Baxter, etc., traditional tunes ("Little Grass Shack," "Tiny Bubbles, etc.) and a variety of surf tunes, I've also thrown in some surprises: "Bungle in the Jungle" by Jethro Tull, "Tropicalia" by Beck, "Dancing on the Sun" by Bahari and, yes, "S.T.O.P." by Lorelei. Here's a link to my ever-evolving Spotify playlist.


[ Edited by arriano on 2023-02-12 14:58:20 ]

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