Three decades later, people are still wondering, where is Kokomo?
The other day, Ryan Sancilio of Boca Raton posted a photo of himself sitting in front of the water at Sunset Pier in Key West. He gazed at the bright blue sky pocked with white clouds against the Atlantic and sailboats.
“Still looking for Kokomo,” he posted with the hashtag #kokomo and #islandlife.
The tune continues to bring good vibrations. At the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce, people inquire about the song and its inspiration, said Judy Hull, executive director. It’s still heard on the radio and at karaoke bars and has become a permanent part of people’s vacation playlists.
“You hear it down here all the time,” Hull said. “Because the song is still very popular, we do have people ask about it.”
In its heyday, the Holiday Isle Resort had a poolside bar called Kokomo. The owner at the time created the bar after hearing inquiries from tourists looking for Kokomo. The bar was formerly a birdhouse, according to the resort.
A sign at the bar plotted the distance to all the places referenced in the song, Hull said. Aruba, Jamaica, Bermuda, Bahama, Key Largo, Montego.
Although the resort is now the Postcard Inn Beach Resort and Marina, people still make the connection between Kokomo and Islamorada. The resort has a re-imagined pool bar called Kokomo that serves cocktails, beer and wine and light fare from nachos to sandwiches.
Farther south, as in the end of the continental U.S., there was also a “Kokomo Beach.” Casa Marina Resort in Key West renamed their beach to reflect the song, along with a cocktail called “The Kokomo” for drinking by the beach and pool.
“Definitely a song that will always have relevance and meaning for Key West and The Keys. Great state of mind,” she said.
“Bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand. We’ll be falling in love to the rhythm of a steel drum band, down in Kokomo,” The Beach Boys crooned. The ditty peaked at No. 1 in November 1988 and rode a wave of popularity on the charts for 28 weeks, according to Billboard.com
“Kokomo was a name that originated with John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas,” Love told the publication. “Phillips wrote the melody and the verse, and I wrote the chorus, and our friend Terry Melcher produced the record, and he came up with the ‘Oooh I want to take you …’ and it was a true collaboration.”
Although Phillips pictured Kokomo as a place off the Florida Keys, there really is no Kokomo in South Florida. There is a Kokomo Charters in Sarasota, a Kokomo city in Indiana, a Kokomo in the Fiji Islands and a community named Kokomo in Hawaii.
2019 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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