Editor’s Note: Bill Tapia passed away in December 2011 in his sleep, one month before his 104th birthday. This interview was conducted just months before his death.
For a time, Bill Tapia was the oldest working musician in the world.
Known as the Duke of Uke, Bill was still strumming his ukulele at the age of 103. In fact, he may be the only musician ever to release an album at the age of 100, “Bill Tapia: Live at the Warner Grand Theatre, The 100th Birthday Concert.”
Bill didn’t just live a long life, he truly lived every day of it! He worked right up to the very end and passed away just one month short of his 104th birthday.
What a career this man had! You might not think you can get very far with a ukulele, but Bill worked with everyone from Bing Crosby to Billy Holiday to Elvis Presley.
In this interview you will hear him share stories of some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including a “stunt” ukulele lesson with child star Shirley Temple.
He talked about why he thought he lived as long and stayed as healthy as he did, and you’ll hear a centenarian entertain you as he did for nearly a century!