Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World

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"Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World"
Israel K Rainbow.jpg
Single by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole
from the album Ka ʻAnoʻi and Facing Future
ReleasedNovember 23, 1990
Recorded1989 (K'A)
1988 (FF)
Genre
Length5:08
LabelBig Boy Records

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" (also known as "Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World") is a medley of "Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World", recorded by Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwoʻole. First released on the 1990 album Ka ʻAnoʻi, an acoustic rendition of the medley became notable after its release on his 1993 album Facing Future.

In 2021, the single was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[1]

Recording history[edit]

The song was originally recorded in a spur-of-the-moment demo session in 1988. Israel called the recording studio at 3 am, and was given 15 minutes to arrive by recording engineer Milan Bertosa. Bertosa is quoted as saying "And in walks the largest human being I had seen in my life. Israel was probably like 500 pounds. And the first thing at hand is to find something for him to sit on." The building security found Israel a large steel chair. "Then I put up some microphones, do a quick sound check, roll tape, and the first thing he does is 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow.' He played and sang, one take, and it was over."[2]

At the time, copies of the acoustic recording were made only for Kamakawiwoʻole himself and Bertosa.[3] The song was re-recorded as an "upbeat Jawaiian version" for Kamakawiwoʻole's debut album Ka ʻAnoʻi, listed as "Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World."[4] In 1993, five years after the original recording, Bertosa played the acoustic version for producer Jon de Mello while the two were completing work on Facing Future, and de Mello decided to include it on the album as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World".[3]

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" reached number 12 on Billboard's Hot Digital Tracks chart the week of January 31, 2004 (for the survey week ending January 18, 2004).

Impact in popular culture[edit]

According to the Israel Kamakawiwoʻole website, Universal Studios first became interested in using the song in the movie and on the soundtrack for Meet Joe Black after director Martin Brest became interested in it.[5] Kamakawiwoʻole's recording of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" has been used on other soundtracks as well, including the soundtracks for Finding Forrester; 50 First Dates; Fred Claus; Happy, Happy; Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School; The Healer; and IMAX: Hubble 3D.[6][7] It was also featured on TV series like Charmed, ER, Scrubs, Cold Case, Glee, the UK original version of Life On Mars, and more.[8][9]

Other cover versions[edit]

Other artists have recorded the medley as well. Néstor Torres recorded a jazz flute arrangement on his 1994 album Burning Whispers. Cliff Richard recorded his own version of the medley, released as a single from the 2001 album Wanted, which peaked at number 11 on the UK Official Charts in 2001.[10]

Aselin Debison recorded the medley for her 2002 album Sweet Is the Melody. Elisabeth von Trapp included her interpretation of the medley in her album Poetic License, released in June 2004.[11]

During season seven of American Idol, Jason Castro performed a cover of the song for his "Top 8" performance.[9][12][13] Maddie Poppe and Caleb Lee Hutchinson performed the song as a duet during the grand finale of season sixteen of American Idol.[14]

In the fifth season of the NBC television show Scrubs, a cappella band The Blanks performed a rendition of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". The rendition was later released on their album Riding The Wave.

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Austria (IFPI Austria)[32] Platinum 30,000*
Belgium (BEA)[33] Platinum 30,000*
France 308,200[34]
Germany (BVMI)[35] 2× Platinum 600,000^
Italy (FIMI)[36] Gold 25,000double-dagger
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[37] 2× Platinum 60,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[38] Silver 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[40] Platinum 4,200,000[39]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Recording Registry Adds 'Rhythm Nation' Among 25 New Selections". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  2. ^ "Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: The Voice Of Hawaii". 50 Great Voices. NPR. December 6, 2010. Retrieved December 16, 2015. Then I put up some microphones, do a quick sound check, roll tape, and the first thing he does is 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow.' He played and sang, one take, and it was over.
  3. ^ a b Montagne, Renee (March 9, 2011). "Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: The Voice Of Hawaii". NPR. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
  4. ^ Kois, Dan (January 1, 2010). Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's Facing Future. A&C Black. pp. 91–92. ISBN 978-0-8264-2905-6.
  5. ^ de Mello, Jon. "The Official Site of Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole | Biography". izhawaii.com. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  6. ^ Rayson, Ann (2004). Modern History of Hawai'i. Bess Press. p. 249. ISBN 978-1-57306-209-1.
  7. ^ "IMAX: Hubble 3D – Toronto Screen Shots". March 18, 2010. Retrieved May 2, 2011.
  8. ^ Kim Grant; Glenda Bendure; Michael Clark Ned Friary; Conner Gorry; Luci Yamamoto (2005). Lonely Planet Hawaii (7th ed.). Lonely Planet Publications. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-74059-871-2.
  9. ^ a b Williamson, Matthew (April 9, 2008). "Where Have You Heard Jason Castro's 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' Before?". Vulture. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  10. ^ "Official Charts". December 15, 2001. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  11. ^ http://elisabethvontrapp.com/biography/ Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  12. ^ Harris, Chris (April 9, 2008). "'American Idol' Hopeful Jason Castro's Secret Weapon: Bruddah Iz". MTV News. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  13. ^ Paiva, Derek (April 9, 2008). ""American Idol" does Iz's "Over the Rainbow"". Hawaii Magazine. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  14. ^ Dugan, Christina (May 21, 2018). "Maddie Poppe Wins Season 16 of American Idol — and Is Dating Runner-Up Caleb Lee Hutchinson!". People. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  15. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Israel IZ Kamakawiwo'ole – Over the Rainbow" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  16. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Israel IZ Kamakawiwo'ole – Over the Rainbow". Tracklisten. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  17. ^ "Lescharts.com – Israel IZ Kamakawiwo'ole – Over the Rainbow" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  18. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Israel IZ Kamakawiwo'ole – Over the Rainbow" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts.
  19. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  20. ^ "Luxembourg Digital Songs – November 13, 2010". Billboard.
  21. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Israel IZ Kamakawiwo'ole – Over the Rainbow" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  22. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Israel IZ Kamakawiwo'ole – Over the Rainbow". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  23. ^ "Israel IZ Kamakawiwo'ole Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  24. ^ "Jahreshitparade Singles 2010". austriancharts.at (in German). Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  25. ^ "Tops de L'année | Top Singles 2010" (in French). SNEP. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  26. ^ "Top 100 Single–Jahrescharts 2010" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  27. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 2010". hitparade.ch (in German). Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  28. ^ "Tops de L'année | Top Singles 2011" (in French). SNEP. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  29. ^ "Top 100 Single–Jahrescharts 2011" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  30. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 2011". hitparade.ch (in German). Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  31. ^ "Weiter geht's mit den Plätzen 17 und 16 unseres Jahrzehnte-Rankings. Diese sichern sich Bonez MC/ RAF Camora/ Maxwell ("Ohne mein Team") & Israel Kamakawiwo'ole ("Over The Rainbow") bei den Singles sowie @rsprachrohr ("Rammstein") & Santiano ("Mit den Gezeiten") bei den Alben" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved December 31, 2019 – via Twitter.
  32. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Israel IZ Kamakawiwoole – Over the Rainbow (Single)" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  33. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – singles 2013". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  34. ^ "Les Meilleures Ventes "Tout Temps" de 45 T. / Singles / Téléchargement – Debut 1100". Institut français d'opinion publique (in French). InfoDisc.fr. Archived from the original on October 26, 2020. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  35. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Israel Kamakawiwo' Ole; 'Over The Rainbow')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  36. ^ "Italian single certifications – Israel Kamakawiwo'ole – Over the Rainbow" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved April 22, 2021. Select "2019" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Over the Rainbow" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  37. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Israel IZ Kamakawiwo'ole; 'Over The Rainbow')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  38. ^ "British single certifications – Israel Kamakawiwo'ole – Somewhere Over The Rainbow". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  39. ^ Trust, Gary (October 21, 2014). "Chart Beat – Ask Billboard: The Weird Connections Between Mary Lambert & Madonna". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on November 30, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  40. ^ "American single certifications – Israel Kamakawiwo'ole – Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved April 22, 2021. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]