Developing story. Larry Rivera, the Kauai legend synonymous with the Coco Palms Resort, has died at age 92. His death was just reported by Beat of Hawaii and Larry Rivera friend Ron Wiley. The unstoppable Rivera was seen performing at Cafe Portofino here on Kauai not long ago and playing in October at Gaylord’s Plantation House.
Rivera was the iconic Kauai performer with a lifetime passion for entertaining visitors. Many considered him to be the most famous of Kauai performers. His musical spanned seven decades and included playing with the likes of Elvis Presley, Patti Page, and Don Ho, among others. He was a lounge performer and guitarist at Coco Palms for a half-century and performed countless Coco Palm weddings.
Not only was Rivera the house musician at the Coco Palms Hotel on Kauai island, but he was also the 2013 Winner of a Nā Hōkū Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award under the auspices of the hawaiʻi academy of recording arts.
“Uncle Larry” or “Mr. Coco Palms” was born and raised on Kauai. He and his wife Gloria had six children, 17 great-grandchildren, and even more great-grandchildren in which he took great pride. He always half-jokingly said he was still on his honeymoon with Gloria.
His performances were a combination of music comprised of singing, guitar, ukulele, humor, and talking story.
Some of his best-known hits were Aloha Begins With Me, Where Is My Love, Beautiful Coco Palms, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and Kamalani. You can listen to his recordings on Spotify.
He performed at Grace Guslander’s Coco Palms Resort until it was shuttered following Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Larry began at Coco Palms in 1951, where per served as a dishwasher, busboy, bellhop, waiter, bartender, and at the front desk.
“When you leave Kauai, carry Aloha with you and share it wherever you go. — Larry Rivera.
One of Larry’s dreams was to see his beloved 16.4 acre Coco Palms Resort renovated. He said, “I hope to live long enough to see this place in full swing and then I will just walk away and wave to it and be very happy. After fighting for 21 years, we finally got the OK and in three more years you can come back and hopefully I will be there on stage.” He also said, “Coco Palms is not about me, it is about love and aloha… This is the heart of Kauai, and what a gift Coco Palms would be once again if it were brought to life.”
A Hui Hou to the legend of Kauai, Larry Rivera.
Lead Photo of young Larry Rivera at Coco Palms Resort Kauai.