Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

September 8, 2013

'Way down in Kokomo...'

City of Firsts described many ways in song.

Kokomo has been described in song as a tropical paradise, the place at the end of the blue train and a city where simple folks live.

For decades, singers have been crooning about a place they call "Kokomo." But how many of them are referring to the City of Firsts in middle Indiana?Local musician Gary Rhum and Indiana University Kokomo music professor Cindy Ison say in many cases, it’s anyone’s guess.Their guess, though, is that perhaps the most famous musical reference to Kokomo isn’t talking about Kokomo, Ind., at all.In 1988 the Beach Boys recorded the pop song “Kokomo” about a tropical destination.“Aruba, Jamaica, oooh I wanna take you to Bermuda, Bahama. Come on pretty mama,” they sang. “Key Largo, Montego, baby why don't we go down to Kokomo. We'll get there fast, and then we'll take it slow. That's where we wanna go. Way down in Kokomo.”Rhum said it’s obvious that the Beach Boys’ Kokomo is a paradise with sandy beaches, which doesn't really describe anywhere in Howard County.Ison agreed.“I am sure the Beach Boys were not [talking about Kokomo, Ind.],” she said. “The others … real possible.”She listed other songs she had heard of. There’s “Kokomo, Indiana,” a song sung by Betty Grable and Dan Dailey in the 1947 movie “Mother Wore Tights.”Jazz musicians Mel Torme and Vaughn Monroe sang their own versions of this song.They all crooned about the same thing — a longing to return home.“Wish I were back again with all the sweet and simple folks I call my kin in Kokomo, Indiana,” the song goes. “Just look at Rover wag his tail. Gosh, he remembers me. And get a load of sister Grace. You can’t see the freckles for the jam on her face.”Ison also referenced a Perry Como and the Crew Cuts song called “There’s Kokomo, I Love You So.”Four decades later, in 1987, Canadian-born singer, songwriter and guitarist Robbie Robertson sang about a Kokomo in his song “Somewhere Down the Crazy River.”According to his official website, the song reached 24 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart.In the song Robertson says, “Catch the blue train to places never seen before. Look for me somewhere down the crazy river. Catch the blue train all the way to Kokomo.”And the Queen of Soul gave Kokomo a shoutout on her album "Young, Gifted and Black," released in 1972.The song was called “First Snow in Kokomo.”The lyrics tell a story about a trip to the Indiana city.“The first snow in Kokomo, off an Indiana highway, I was on my way to Kokomo,” the song says. “A funny friend named Chuck slipped and bumped his head (oops!), and as we picked him up, asked us had his nose turned red. That was the first snow in Kokomo.”Rhum said Franklin could have been singing about an actual trip she made to the City of Firsts. Franklin used to travel to the area all of the time, he said. She had a boyfriend here.“She was a wonderful human being,” Rhum said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • 7 charged in Howard Co. following prescription drug probe

    Two doctors and five employees of the Drug and Opiate Drug Recovery Network (DORN) on South LaFountain Street were arrested earlier today as part of a long-term prescription drug investigation.

    July 25, 2014

  • Escapee Escapee apprehended in Carroll County

    BURROWS — The inmate who escaped from the Logansport State Hospital Thursday night was apprehended in Carroll County late Friday morning. Carroll County Sheriff's Department Major Tobe Leazenby said Christopher J. Robbins, 23, Medaryville, was appreh

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Section of Market St. to close Monday Market Street will be closing between Superior and Sycamore Streets in downtown Kokomo Monday beginning at 7 a.m. for a minimum of one week. The closure will allow contractors to work on the Market Street Sewer Separation Project, which includes the

    July 25, 2014

  • Four arrested on meth-related charges Howard County sheriff deputies arrested four people on numerous charges after deputies went to a home west of Kokomo to serve a warrant late Thursday. Deputies went to the home located at 7610 W. 220 South shortly after 11 p.m. in search of a man wan

    July 25, 2014

  • Feds plan review over Medicaid backlog INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Federal officials are reviewing Indiana’s procedures for enrolling residents in Medicaid after finding the state had 80,000 low-income residents awaiting approval in May.Cindy Mann, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicai

    July 25, 2014

  • Bona Vista to build new $1.23 million housing development Bona Vista Programs has announced plans to build a new $1.23 million housing development in downtown Kokomo to accommodate people with disabilities.The new 6,500-square-foot housing unit called Elmwood Trails will be located at 1101 N. Buckeye St. an

    July 25, 2014

  • Burlington woman charged in May fatal crash Police arrested a 26-year-old Burlington woman Wednesday who is accused of causing a fatal crash while driving drunk.Howard County sheriff deputies served a warrant on Casie E. Johnson charging her with a B felony causing death while operating a vehi

    July 25, 2014

  • Airshow Practice 05 Eyes to the sky Twenty-four-year-old Kevin Coleman is one of the youngest air show stars in the world.The Louisiana man is a second generation pilot and second generation air show performer. As a kid, he watched as his dad and then his brother flew through the skies

    July 25, 2014 5 Photos

  • Former county official pleads guilty to conversion One of two former county officials charged with theft and official misconduct was sentenced last week to a two-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges. Darrell Reed, 52, pleaded guilty to two Class A misdemeanor conversio

    July 24, 2014

  • NWS - KT072514 Kokomo School Board - pic Blueprints found during demolition aid Central Middle School remodel

    When workers began the tear down for renovations to the Central Middle School auditorium, they stumbled upon something very important and helpful sifting through the century-old material. Tucked away inside the structure were the original blueprints,

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries