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Rest in Peace, Uncle Tom

 

Tom Moffatt – one of the original “Poi Boys” passed away on Monday as the age of 85.  Starting out as a DJ here in Hawaii – known to be the first DJ to play a rock-n-roll tune on Hawaiian air – “Uncle Tom” will be remembered mostly as THEE concert promoter of Hawaii.  He brought in all the big acts from Ritchie Valens to the Rolling Stones to Gloria Estafan to Chicago to Michael Jackson to Bruno Mars and on and on.

 

Thank you Uncle Tom for giving us the opportunity to ask girls out on dates back in the day.  Concerts were one of the best ways to get a girl to say yes to a date.

 

There will be a large void to fill for Hawaii concerts.  But not just for concert promoting, but for all the Hawaii music knowledge and history that Uncle Tom had.

 

I’m sure Rob@96744 welcomed Uncle Tom to heaven with open arms as they have a lot to catch up on.  Rest in peace, Uncle Tom.

 

 

42 Responses to “Rest in Peace, Uncle Tom”

  1. Wayne Moniz says:

    Tom was special. I wrote about his character in my play, Hibiscus Pomade, about the early days of rock n’ roll in Hawai`i. He came to see the play where we put a spotlight on him and gave him a big carnation lei. I took him to meet the student actors at Baldwin High School after the show and told them about how big this man was in the field of music and entertainment. He was kind to send recordings of the old Kpoi jingles – “It’s K-POI!” for the show. He ran into a cousin of mine before he got worse and asked if I was still writing. He did a blurb for my recent novel.
    God bless you, Uncle Tom, and thanks for the hours of pleasurable music.

  2. Mark Shelby says:

    I remember listening to Tom on KPOI when I was a kid in the 1960’s while my friends Dad would drive us to Waikiki Beach to go surfing in his Plymouth Valiant wit da surfboard racks on top with my 9’6″ Duke Kahanamoku surfboard up deah! We always held our breath for one moa Beach Boys song before we hit da waves! ; )

  3. tankobu says:

    Hawaii has an interesting radio history, lots of notable and accomplished DJs and colorful programming. I hope someone will write about it.

  4. tankobu says:

    Enjoyed his interviews with many of the stars he worked with. He had a close relationship with Neil Sedaka. Here’s one of those songs that was really popular here….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lgoDaE1Lqs

  5. tankobu says:

    He had a good feel for Hawaii’s musical taste. He played songs that were popular here, not so much on the mainland, like “I will always think about you”, “creator of rain”, “truly Julie’s blues”, “one day of your life”. So many good memories.

  6. tankobu says:

    I’m grateful that even in his advanced age, Uncle Tom was on the radio to help bring the past into the present. I wonder what will happen to his record library.

    I enjoyed his “fun songs” like the “jolly green giant” and “fujikami the warrior”. He would play the Paul Revere and the Raiders version of “louie louie”, with its rockin’ sax intro. Love those rare oldies!

  7. Seawalker says:

    What’s the saying? “…a face made for the radio instead”. No need to say it. Bwhahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. old school says:

    I remember one of Uncle Tom’s Million-Dollar Parties featuring surf singing duo Jan & Dean, who were supposed to take the stage early in the evening.
    Except one act after another performed, and still no Jan & Dean. They were obviously stalling.
    Finally, the announcer (it might have been Uncle Tom) says Jan (or was it Dean?) would not be performing. Taking his place would be a little-known guitarist from their band. His name? Glen Campbell. No one in the audience missed Jan (or Dean?) that evening.
    Afterward, the rumor was that Jan (or Dean?) overindulged during happy hour at the Hawn. Village, and no one could find him.

  9. Seawalker says:

    Sir Moffatt brings back so many memories of them DJ’s. Me? I liked more of the antics of Mich@el Qseng and Danielle Tucker. But still remember Ron Wiley (when he was on Oahu), Kamasami Kong (before Japan), Willy Moku, and even that fish… what’s his name, maybe Aku? The hard rockers and the electric lunch hour was more like noise to my ears, something my bruddahs would enjoy more. Yeah, Ron Jacobs and the posse, along with Moffatt sure brings back memories. But Moffatt Productions, more than radio, were most impressive. Nothing radiates in my vein more than a live rendition. It could be concerts, Vegas shows, DHT, or even the boring symphony. RIP, Thomas, RIP!

    • Seawalker says:

      Them days remind me of everyone carrying around ghetto blasters. Classic, simply classic. Long live disco. Long live the king!

  10. Tom Rickey says:

    I was honored to work for Uncle Tom at KPOI 1970-71. Honorable man, always saw the good in others, unforgettable historical hero for Hawai’i Nei. Started listening to him in 1957 and missing him today. I was also friends with a close associate of Tom’s, the late great “Coolidge Nakamura” aka Lin Hon Au. Tom kept him on his promotional company staff after KPOI days and called him lovingly “The Commander”. Lin was a financial wizard who taught me a lot, too! Long live Rock n Roll!

    • Blue Jade says:

      OMG I remember Coolidge! Can you share any details of him as all he was to me was a voice on the radio. Damn! Thank you for jogging my memory, it’s been a very long time indeed. RIP Uncle Tom.

  11. Walter says:

    I enjoyed reading his Midweek column. Will miss it once it’s pau. I only remember Tom Moffatt’s name as a concert promoter way back when. I do remember Gene Davis when I believe he was at KKUA back in the summer of 1971(after KPOI?). He had a mellow voice unlike the screeching they have today. I listened to KKUA more the KPOI as the reception in Kaneohe was clearer than KPOI. Funny I can still remember the sound of the broadcasts, the ads and call letter music ids. I guess all that listening gets pounded in your head. Would be interesting to here it again. There are surviving tapes of some radio broadcasts in general. I know a guy who collects them and he is always looking for old reel to reel and cassette tapes from garage/estate sales because there might be some goodie in them. They are however far and few between. Anyway I digress. Thanks for the good times Uncle Tom.

  12. khs68 says:

    This is dedicated to Tom Moffatt and all the other greats that went before us. See you guys laters at the best concert ever!

    Rock N’ Roll Heaven – Righteous Brothers
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IEemZ6-LZc

  13. tankobu says:

    When I was in high school, the Poi boys had a travelling basketball team – they would go to high schools and play against a faculty team. Was good fun, and the games were pretty decent. One Poi boy – Gene Davis, I think, was a good player. The other guys just horsing around. When they played our faculty, one of our coaches got kinda ticked off at the Poi boys – a few tense moments, but cooler heads prevailed.

    • Gene Davis says:

      I remember having faculty members pissed when they realized that a ragtag bunch of hippie-looking dj’s could beat them. I remember sparks at the Radford game, Kahuku game, McKinley game. I was fortunate to have played one year of college basketball at UH in 1966-67, so I had a little more experience than many on the court. Thanks for remembering!
      -Gene Davis

  14. tankobu says:

    I wish I’d known more about Rob@96744. He and Tom are sorely missed. What a great treasury of memories!

    • khs68 says:

      I looked at the archives and noticed Rob@96744 grew up in McCully. Wish I had found this blog way back then since I grew up in the same neighborhood. I was sorry to hear he had passed away. He seemed like a real special guy.

  15. dihudfan says:

    4G… ditto to that… Poi Boys live on in my memory… part of growing up in Hawaii… RIP Uncle Tom!!!

  16. hemajang says:

    Grew up listening to Kpoi in the 60’s and went to many concerts back then not sure if Tom Moffatt promoted all of them but probably most…for sure the Rascals, Rolling Stones and Santana.

    In the 70’s and 80’s worked on many album covers for Herb Ono of Records Hawaii on Young Street and one day Uncle Tom was there, Herb asked for his opinion on a cover and I can’t remember which one but he gave an honest critique that I took to heart. He was to the point but a gentleman and really nice.

  17. old school says:

    A family member who dormed with Moffatt at UH said he was always a great and generous guy. They kept in touch over the years and if his visits to Honolulu was timed to a concert, Tom would leave him tickets!

    As a child, I remember going to Moffatt’s Show of Stars at Civic Auditorium, then his Million-Dollar Parties at the then-HIC. These were concerts with five or more of some of the top musical acts at the time. Got to see many R&R legends, and “one-hit wonders like Kyu Sakamoto.

    Thanks to Moffatt, KPOI and the “Poi Boys” rocked back in ’60s.

    Mahalo and aloha, Uncle Tom. And condolences to his family and friends.

    • khs68 says:

      I went to one Show of Stars and saw the Shirelles singing Soldier Boy (oh my little soldier boy… dadadadada I’ll be true to you). At the time there was a local talent contest and two of my neighborhood friends went on stage to sing In the Still of the Night. Sho-do-bi-do-bi-wa…so unforgettable. So many memories…

  18. Mark'75 says:

    For concerts, Tom Moffatt brought in the best of the best! Yup, the best concerts had promos that ended with, “A Tom Moffatt production.”

  19. Mark'75 says:

    I enjoyed listening to Tom Moffatt over the years. There was a certain sincerity in his voice and in the way he ran his radio broadcasts. Always thought it was funny whenever he’d mention Col. Tom Parker, which was followed by a “Yes Sir!”

  20. khs68 says:

    And he cut a record!
    Tom Moffatt – Surfin’ in Hawaii
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEsRPsiEK-o

  21. Seawalker says:

    Promoting a concert event meant having ice water in your veins. It all depends on how many people show up for it. Same way with wrestling. Wrestler Ed Francis turned promoter along with his sidekick Tallyho Blears explained it best in his book. To me, it’s like going onto the tables in Vegas and making one big bet. If it pays off, you win, you win big. If it tanks, you are swimming for your life. You lose big. But leave it to ol’ Tom. He knew how to make a buck or two. No urban life for you, man. All rural, all rural…

  22. Seawalker says:

    I, too, will miss Uncle Tom and his Rock & Roll radio show. Not only did he spin the records and gave it airplay, he had wonderful insight of the song before it played. But you can call me detail-oriented or even too much of it. I noticed Tom was declining on his radio show. His voice was no longer golden and silky-smooth. He sounded like an old man on the mike. Sort of how Larry Price was before waxing out. Hope you’re not next Price. You sounded even older than Uncle Tom before out grazing in the pasture. Yeah, and no forget to poke squid and check out the green flash in the process. LOL

    Nowadays, still got concerts going on. Some big names like Mariah Carey and even Air Supply played at the Blaisdel recently. Acts like Herb Alpert and Kenny G are coming up in Blue Note. But yeah, it’s not a concert without Tom Moffat’s promotion. For sure!

  23. tankobu says:

    Thanks for this post, Rod. Saturday morning radio won’t be the same; will miss Uncle Tom’s smooth, velvet voice, playing requests, playing the oldies, and talking story. Tom made radio special, whenever he was on the air. Hard to believe he’s gone, he was on the radio only months ago. Had a bad feeling when he wasn’t showing up for his Saturday show. Condolences to his family and friends. “Uncle Tom…has left the building.” Rest in peace, Uncle Tom.

    • Rodney says:

      Yes, the Saturday morning show became somewhat of a tradition listening to him as we head out for errands (shopping). I’m going to miss the Treasure Hunt.

      • tankobu says:

        Me too, the treasure hunt was great fun, very creative, and would highlight an interesting local place. I always wondered how he put those together every week. I wonder who did the pirate voice? Always had some callers who wouldn’t be using the clues and make lolo guesses.

  24. khs68 says:

    I am going to miss hearing his voice every Saturday morning – Uncle Tom’s Rock & Roll Drive-In on 107.9 He will always be in my heart. So many childhood and teenage memories of listening to him on K-POI and going to concerts.

    Long Story Short Leslie Wilcox – Tom Moffat The Making of a Showman interview April 5, 2011
    http://pbshawaii.org/long-story-short-with-leslie-wilcox-tom-moffatt/

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