Larry Rivera sings for America

May I share with you the story of one of my many songs, “I Don’t Want To Say Goodbye To America?”

I wrote this song in 1974. I was running a coffee shop in Coco Palms Hotel in the lobby from 5:30 to 10:30 a.m. for guests departing early. Coffee, juice and rolls for 75 cents, tax included. When this little Japanese girl, I would say she was about 5 to 6 years old, said to me, “I don’t want to say goodbye to America. I have to go to Japan and live with my grandma and grandpa.”

So I told her, “When you grow up, you can come back to America.”

She said, “OK.”

I write songs about people, places, incidents that happen, that’s how I get the ideas of a song. It has to be about real things and mountains, so I thought to myself, “I don’t want to say goodbye to America. What a nice title to remind people how lucky we are to be in America.”

Well, the story goes on.

As usual, I did my main Lagoon Dining Room show, four times a week, and it just happened that a producer and director by the name of Cam Floria was present and heard me sing that song.

He directed 250 voices in red, white and blue outfits. They were named “The Continental Singers.” They went to many countries, including Russia, spreading Americanism and Christianity. Cam Floria now lives on Kauai in Poipu. He asked me if I would mind if they could do my songs in their shows.

“Of course,” I said. “Please do.”

They invited me and my wife to hear them sing on July 4, 1976, America’s 200th birthday. It was sung at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium, where they held the Academy Awards.

That is when I realized I had composed a song for America’s 200th birthday.

So, today, July 4, 2017, if I am correct, makes the song 43 years old.

With all that is going on now with America, the words are so fitting. I hope to sing it at the celebration at the stadium this Fourth of July (today).

Love and aloha to all.

I Don’t Want To Say Goodbye To America

I Don’t Want To Say Goodbye To America

Please don’t let it fade away

We have come a long way through wars, blood and tears

We must stand together for another hundred years.

I Don’t Want To Say Goodbye To America

We must show the world we’re one

From your highest mountain to your deep blue sea

From fair Hawaii to the Statute of Liberty

I Don’t Want To Say Goodbye To America

In these ever-changing times

We must walk together with people of all creeds

We must share each other’s hardships and needs

I Don’t Want To Say Goodbye To America

Remember those who gave their lives

Together we must walk hand in hand

Then I won’t have to say goodbye to America

America, America, my home

Words, music by Larry Rivera

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Larry Rivera is a songwriter, singer and performer who has delighted audiences on Kauai for more than half a century.

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