Islamorada, Florida

Kokomo by The Beach Boys

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We'll put out to sea
And we'll perfect our chemistry
By and by we'll defy
A little bit of gravity Read full Lyrics
Hey, everybody, look! It's the amazing, time-traveling song!

No other song pulled this off. It got made in 1988 by a band from the 1960s, for the soundtrack to a movie (Cocktail) about a man who goes to work at a TGI-Friday's (a franchise named for the 1978 disco film). The song replaced a cover of a 1965 song ("A Groovy Kind of Love") in the hit charts. Oh, yeah, that movie Cocktail's soundtrack also had "Don't Worry, Be Happy," a song whose title and chorus was taken from an Indian mystic in the 1960s. When the soundtrack album was released, oldies radio stations were so confused that they played it. To this day, you can't convince people that Cocktail came out during the Reagan administration.

Since this is the Internet, we can't let it go without comment: 1988 was also the year a song came out which has enjoyed much popularity in the 21st century on the Internet. It's a little number called "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley. That's how powerful Kokomo is. It can make songs near it time-travel, with its mighty reality-warping vortex.

If you think that this is illogical, we're just getting warmed up.

Islamorada, Florida Keys. A tropical paradise for pelicans and people.<br>Photo: Romrodinka, DreamstimeIslamorada, Florida Keys. A tropical paradise for pelicans and people.
Photo: Romrodinka, Dreamstime
"Kokomo" is a song that mentions many, many tropical locations around the Caribbean, including Aruba, Jamaica, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Key Largo, Montego, Martinique, Montserrat, and Port-au-Prince. But chiefly, it mentions Kokomo, a fine, tropical paradise in the state of Indiana. Wait, doesn't that sound a little far north? Okay, there's also a Kokomo in Mississippi. Warmer, granted, but still not Mai Tai weather.

Well, there used to be a place called Kokomo Island in the Caribbean, but it was actually named that by the Sandals/Royal Caribbean resort/cruise line company. And they named it after the song. We told you this song could warp reality! Today the former Kokomo Island goes by the name of "Sandals Cay," anyway. Since this time, numerous Caribbean-area businesses involved in the tourist industry have cashed in on the popularity of the song, naming bars, hotels, and casinos after it. If you go south of the U.S. and start asking "Where's Kokomo?" you're likely to get a sign tacked up and a hearty "Right here!" for a response.

Where does this leave us? We are not going to embarrass ourselves trying to dance in a hula skirt and trying to be tropical in Indiana. But we'll be saved.

According to the band, the inspiration for the song was a pool-side bar at a hotel in Islamorada, one of the little island towns in the Florida Keys. In fact, the video was shot at Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World in Florida. Yes, that's right, we're in Florida. And we're staying there. With Walt Disney involved, if we dig any deeper we're likely to find out that they used animatronic Beach Boys.

Pete Trbovich
February 18, 2010
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Comments: 22

  • Kathyw from Los AngelesIf you read Wiki, you will see that Kokomo was a fictional place; however since so many people wanted to know where Kokomo was, someone decided to build the beach bar/hut in Islamorada. I was there about 20 or so years ago.
  • Mike From Johannesburg from Johannesburg, South Africa.I agree with Ross from London.
    My daughter visited Kokomo last year.
    On the island of Curacao, Caribbean.
  • Peter Gg from Houston TexasIslamorada beaches on The Florida Keys means KOKOMO
  • Bill from Kokomo In First off Kokomo sucks. Glad I left. Secondly yes I lived both there and Florida during this time period. Sadly the only Kokomo anyone knew of at the time of the release was Kokomo Indiana (place where the first car in the USA was built and driven). Known as the cities of firsts. But it's was said that The Beach Boys noticed the name and it stuck with them as they toured the Midwest. On one of their trips from Michigan to Indianapolis they stop and took a break on US31 south in a little town with a funny name. That's the story I have always heard. I mean if you think about a route from Michigan state fair to Indiana state fair I would guess Kokomo would be right in the middle. Did I mention Kokomo SUCKS??
  • Cr from North CarolinaI grew up in California and was so glad to see our Beach Boys singng about the Keys! I worked at NAS Boca Chica. In fact, one of our "sandhogs" at Fort Taylor was a Photographer's Mate. I never knew the school there was called "Kokomo". Thanks for that info, JK.
  • Jk from IndianaI'm surprised that there haven't been any other Navy Photographer Mates chime in on this. There use to be a section of NAS Key West that housed a school for none other than Kodak's EH-38 aka Kokomo. While I'll admit that it is not as glamorous as Islamorada, for awhile there truly was a Kokomo in south Florida off the Florida Keys.
  • Eberhardt Kalmar Huhn from Darmstadt, GermanyHow about a bit of fact: Kokomo /ˈkoʊkəmoʊ/ is a city in and the county seat of Howard County, Indiana, United States. Kokomo is Indiana's 13th-largest city
  • Ross from LondonWhat about Kokomo beach in Curacao? Why no one ever thinks of that? They sing about remote places to get away from it all and the likes of Aruba. Even if it's not the place they sing about it really matches it.
  • Dazed And Confused from Californian My husband loves the beach boys, so he asked a girl in a Key Largo Cargo souvenir store....where's Kokomo? She looked at him funny....confused and said she didn't, we got in the car and looked it up onine and found this ....Ha Ha...we love fiction
  • Jb from Ontario CanadaKokomo is/was indeed a pool/ocean side bar in Islamorada, in a resort called Holiday Isle (when I was there about 10 years ago). It was a very beautiful spot - understandably the inspiration for the Beach Boys. The resort is now called Postcard Inn - I'm not sure if the bar is still there or if it's still called Kokomo...
  • Dan Henson from Duh! Kokomo IndianaWell I don't know about paradice but it's not a bad place to grow up.I suppose there are worse places. Been to the Keys and love it and really would like to live on a tropical island.But Kokomo is and always will be home.The City of First!and Big in the auto industry.Elwood Haynes is here.One of the first cars built.So like I said,maybe not the best but it's is a nice place to live.
  • Dorian from UkOur grandson was born in Key West and we love The Keys. Going back for Christmas this year!
  • Bobbi Burns-brown from Louisville, Ky.Love the Florida Keys, favorite spot Islamorarda. The water, the people, the food. We drove the length of the Keys from Miami to Key West. FABULOUS I love the Beach Boys!
  • David Gray from Monrovia, InNo place on earth like the Florida Keys. (Originally from W.Palm Beach,FL)
  • Layton Park from Kelowna, BcStayed in Islamorada last night then bicycled to Marathon where I am cooling my heels. Had to find the song and play it as I recoup from a full day of cycling.
  • Sherri from Pittsburgh PaLove Islamorada and the song !!!
  • Trenton B. From Kokomo IndianaLol. Yup its sooo nice here in me the song is not about kokomo in. Lol
  • Jack from Shreveport, LouisianaThere used to be a Kokomo Drive-In restaurant in Shreveport back in the 60s on Kings Highway. There is an Auto Zone auto parts store on that property now. But I love the Beach Boys song. Have it on my I-phone. I was curious about the inspiration for the name too which is what led me here.
  • Margie D. from New YorkLove the song. Saw them a few weeks ago in concert locally. The boys sound exactly the same. Bless them for making us happy.
  • Mary Ann Sticka from Jacksonville. FlJust got back from a cruise to Nassau Bahamas and Key west and was planning another cruise . Trying to pick were to go and this song Kokomo popped into my head and wanted to know where it was so started to research it . I love that song and was trying to remember all the places it listed . Now I find out it's at a bar in Ilamorada Fl !!! Wow been wondering about this for a while !!! I'm in Jacksonville FL so not so far away from me!!!
  • Janie from TexasI love that song so much I play it a thousand times and more during the summer because it carries me away to a perfect place, a beautiful beach with the love of my life. It inspires me. Love it.
  • Alan Christiansen from Green Cove Springs, FlThe beach bar at Holiday Isle 84001 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, Florida.
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