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
Released 1990 (K'A)
November 1, 1993 (FF)
Recorded 1988
Length 5:08
Label Big Boy Records
Audio sample
"Somewhere over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World"

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" is a medley of the songs "Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World" by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole and released on his albums Ka ʻAnoʻi and Facing Future.

Recording history[edit]

The song was originally recorded in a spur-of-the-moment demo session in 1988, and was done in a single take. At the time, copies of the recording were only made for Kamakawiwoʻole himself and recording engineer Milan Bertosa. Five years later, in 1993, Bertosa played the song for producer Jon de Mello while the two were completing work on Facing Future, and de Mello decided to include it in the album as "Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World".[1]

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

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.[2] Kamakawiwoʻole's recording of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" would be used on other soundtracks as well including the soundtracks for Finding Forrester, 50 First Dates, Fred Claus, Happy, Happy and IMAX: Hubble 3D.[3] It was also featured on TV series like Charmed, ER, Scrubs, Cold Case, Glee and the UK original version of Life On Mars among others.[4][5]

The song was used in several commercials in the late 1990s.[6] The song was also used in a series of Rice Krispies commercials in 2006.[7][8]

To this day,[when?] the song is still receiving airplay from Hawaiian and adult alternative-formatted radio stations.[citation needed]

Other cover versions[edit]

Other artists have recorded the medley as well. Cliff Richard recorded his own version of the medley, released as a single from the album Wanted, which peaked at #11 on the UK Official Charts in 2001.[9] 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.[10] During season seven of American Idol, Jason Castro performed a cover of the song for his "Top 8" performance.[5][11][12]

Chart performance[edit]


  1. ^ Montagne, Renee (March 9, 2011). "Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: The Voice Of Hawaii". NPR. Retrieved June 3, 2013. 
  2. ^ de Mello, Jon. "The Official Site of Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole | Biography". Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "IMAX: Hubble 3D – Toronto Screen Shots". 18 March 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ a b Williamson, Matthew (April 9, 2008). "Where Have You Heard Jason Castro's ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ Before?". Vulture. Retrieved June 10, 2017. 
  6. ^ Chang, Elizabeth (November 14, 1999). "NOTED WITH: Lyricism". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  7. ^ Morford, Mark (October 13, 2006). "'Organic' takes superhighway into the mainstream". San Francisco Chronicle. p. E7. Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  8. ^ Watanabe, June (July 13, 2006). "Voice of Iz carries tune worldwide". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Official Charts". December 15, 2001. Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  10. ^ Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  11. ^ Harris, Chris (April 9, 2008). "'American Idol' Hopeful Jason Castro's Secret Weapon: Bruddah Iz". MTV News. Retrieved June 10, 2017. 
  12. ^ Paiva, Derek (April 9, 2008). ""American Idol" does Iz's "Over the Rainbow"". Hawaii Magazine. Retrieved June 10, 2017. 
  13. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – Over the Rainbow" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  14. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW / WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  15. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW / WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  16. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – Over the Rainbow". Tracklisten. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  17. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – Over the Rainbow" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  18. ^ "Luxembourg Digital Songs - November 13, 2010". Billboard. 
  19. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – Over the Rainbow" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  20. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW / WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD". Singles Top 100. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  21. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – Over the Rainbow". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  22. ^ "Israel Kamakawiwo'ole – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  23. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – 2013". Ultratop & Hung Medien / 
  24. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Israel Kamakawiwo' Ole; 'Over the Rainbow')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  25. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Israel Kamakawiwo'ole; 'Over the Rainbow')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 
  26. ^ "British single certifications – Israel Kamakawiwo'ole – Somewhere over the Rainbow". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Somewhere over the Rainbow in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  27. ^ "American single certifications – Israel Kamakawiwo'ole – Over the Rainbow". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 22 March 2012.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  28. ^ Trust, Gary (October 21, 2014). "Ask Billboard: The Weird Connections Between Mary Lambert & Madonna". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 21, 2014.