Don Ho of “Yesterday”

Yesterday I came across an old casette I have labeled, “Don Ho’s Collection.” To my surprise, I couldn’t even play the casette inside the house. The only tape deck I have is in my car. I played it on my way to work and the songs brought back some fond memories.

I started to become one of Don Ho’s biggest fans when I watched him performed “Say You Will” on Asia production’s first video. Later on I found out that a friend of my sister also really digged him. She let me borrowed a couple of Don Ho’s tapes and I was thrilled. One of the tapes was Don Ho and Ngoc Bich’s Yesterday. I was impressed with his part on the album; therefore, I only taped his songs to a blank tape, but not Ngoc Bich’s.

I couldn’t remember the exact date, but it had to be between 1993 and 1994. I came to the US around 1991 and at the time my English was pretty bad. I had no idea who the Beatles and Bee Gees were. Don Ho’s rendition of “Yesterday” was probably my first exposure to American pop music. To kill time, I transcribed “Yesterday,” “Something,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “To Love Somebody” and “You Can Do Magic.” I didn’t understand some of the American words so I wrote down the tone in Vietnamese and just sang along. I spent quite a bit of time listening and remembering the lyrics. I loved his Vietnamese part of the songs and wished that he only sang them in Vietnamese even though he did quite well in English.

Listening to the songs again takes me down to memory lane. Something about the effortless in his phrasing and the warmness in his slightly smoky timbre that got me every time. I can still remember clearly the opening lines of “Yesterday”:

Mới hôm qua
Buồn phiền trong anh như đã bay đi xa
Mãi đến hôm nay tim còn thấy hoan ca
Ôi lòng ngỡ như là ngày hôm qua.

Boy, the good old yesterdays.