Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Connell, J. & Gibson, C. R. (2008). No Passport Necessary : Music, Record Covers and Vicarious Tourism in Post-war Hawai''i. The Journal of Pacific History, 43 (1), 51-75.


This paper discusses links between historical constructions of Pacific places in music and in tourism, concentrating on a textual analysis of record covers in post-war Hawai‘i. Album covers and liner notes were symbolic devices to market music, establish credibility and suggest ‘authenticity’; they also served as representations of distant times and places. Economic and technological changes in the 1940s and 1950s contributed to the widespread adoption and adaptation of visual symbols in music marketing. Evocative images of Hawai‘i sold records and Hawai‘i itself as a destination at a time when mass tourism became possible. Music commodities and their visual elements (sheet music and record covers) from different time periods demonstrate how idealised places and essentialised identities are produced and reinforced. The records themselves — their size, shape, materials — lent themselves to particular types of images, and textual devices. Such images created vicarious tours, through music, to a distant, exotic Hawai‘i, and mobilised particular (and often problematic) depictions of place, indigeneity and gender. Musical sounds also elicited emotive responses in listeners that constructed place identities. They stimulated notions of a timeless, idyllic place that enabled vicarious tourism, accompanied and endorsed nostalgia and, in the post-war period, encouraged the emergence of Hawai‘i as a particular kind of tourist destination.