Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" (also known as "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.

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World"
Israel K Rainbow
Single by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole
from the album Ka ʻAnoʻi and Facing Future
ReleasedNovember 23, 1990 (K'A)
November 1, 1993 (FF)
Recorded1989 (K'A)
1988 (FF)
LabelBig Boy Records

Recording history

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."[1]

At the time, copies of the recording were only made for Kamakawiwoʻole himself and Bertosa.[2] 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."[3] In 1993, five years after the original recording, 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 "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World".[2]

"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

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.[4] 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; The Healer; and IMAX: Hubble 3D.[5][6] It was also featured on TV series like Charmed, ER, Scrubs, Cold Case, Glee, the UK original version of Life On Mars, and more.[7][8]

The song is still receiving airplay from Hawaiian and adult alternative-formatted radio stations.

Other cover versions

Other artists have recorded the medley as well. Cliff Richard recorded his own version of the medley, released as a single from the 2001 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.[8][11][12] Maddie Poppe and Caleb Lee Hutchinson performed the song as a duet during the grand finale of season sixteen of American Idol.[13]

Chart performance

Weekly charts

Chart (2010-2011) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[14] 4
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[15] 3
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[16] 1
Denmark (Tracklisten)[17] 35
France (SNEP)[18] 1
Germany (Official German Charts)[19] 1
Hungary (Single Top 40)[20] 22
Luxembourg Digital Songs (Billboard)[21] 1
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[22] 10
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[23] 19
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[24] 3
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[25] 22

Sales and certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Austria (IFPI Austria)[26] Platinum 30,000*
Belgium (BEA)[27] Platinum 30,000*
Germany (BVMI)[28] 2× Platinum 600,000^
Italy (FIMI)[29] Gold 15,000double-dagger
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[30] 2× Platinum 60,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[31] Silver 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[33] Platinum 4,200,000[32]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: The Voice Of Hawaii". 50 Great Voices. NPR. December 6, 2010. Archived from the original on March 9, 2011. 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.
  2. ^ a b Montagne, Renee (March 9, 2011). "Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: The Voice Of Hawaii". NPR. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
  3. ^ Kois, Dan (1 January 2010). Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's Facing Future. A&C Black. pp. 91–92. ISBN 978-0-8264-2905-6.
  4. ^ de Mello, Jon. "The Official Site of Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole | Biography". Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  5. ^ Rayson, Ann (2004). Modern History of Hawai'i. Bess Press. p. 249. ISBN 978-1-57306-209-1.
  6. ^ "IMAX: Hubble 3D – Toronto Screen Shots". 18 March 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ a b Williamson, Matthew (April 9, 2008). "Where Have You Heard Jason Castro's 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' Before?". Vulture. Retrieved June 10, 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. ^ 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.
  14. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – Over the Rainbow" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  15. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW / WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  16. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW / WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  17. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – Over the Rainbow". Tracklisten. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  18. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – Over the Rainbow" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  19. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – Over the Rainbow". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  20. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  21. ^ "Luxembourg Digital Songs - November 13, 2010". Billboard.
  22. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – Over the Rainbow" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  23. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW / WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD". Singles Top 100. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  24. ^ " – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – Over the Rainbow". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  25. ^ "Israel Kamakawiwo'ole Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  26. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Israel IZ Kamakawiwoole – Over the Rainbow" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  27. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – singles 2013". Ultratop. Hung Medien.
  28. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Israel Kamakawiwo' Ole; 'Over the Rainbow')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  29. ^ "Italian single certifications – Israel Kamakawiwo' Ole – Over the Rainbow" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved October 7, 2019. Select "2019" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Over the Rainbow" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  30. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Israel Kamakawiwo'ole; 'Over the Rainbow')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
  31. ^ "British single certifications – Israel Kamakawiwo'ole – Somewhere over the Rainbow". British Phonographic Industry.
  32. ^ Trust, Gary (October 21, 2014). "Ask Billboard: The Weird Connections Between Mary Lambert & Madonna". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  33. ^ "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. 

External links

50 First Dates

50 First Dates is a 2004 American romantic comedy film directed by Peter Segal and starring Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Rob Schneider, Sean Astin, Blake Clark, and Dan Aykroyd. It follows the story of Henry, a womanizing marine veterinarian who falls for an art teacher named Lucy. Realizing she has anterograde amnesia, he resolves to win her over again each new day.

Most of the film was shot on location in Oahu, Hawaii on the Windward side and the North Shore. Sandler and Barrymore won an MTV award for Best On-Screen Team. The fictitious memory impairment suffered by Barrymore's character, "Goldfield's Syndrome", is similar to short-term memory loss and anterograde amnesia. 50 First Dates inspired a number of remakes overseas, including the 2014 Malayalam film Ormayundo Ee Mukham and the 2007 Telugu film Sathyabhama.

75 at 75

75 at 75 is a three-CD compilation album by British singer Cliff Richard, released in 2015. The album contains 75 tracks spanning Richard's career of more than 55 years and was released to coincide with his 75th birthday.The album includes one new track, "Golden", written by Chris Eaton who also wrote Richard's 1990 UK Christmas number one single, "Saviour's Day".

Alan Tarney

Alan Tarney (born 19 November 1945) is an English songwriter, record producer and bass guitarist. He was born in Northside, Workington, Cumberland, England, but spent his teenage years in Adelaide, Australia, where he met his songwriting and musical partner Trevor Spencer. He is best known for his association with the Shadows as bassist.

Aselin Debison

Aselin Ettinger (born June 27, 1990), better known as Aselin Debison, is a Canadian pop and Celtic music singer.

Facing Future

Facing Future is an album by Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, released in 1993. The best-selling album of all time by a Hawaiian artist, Facing Future combines traditional Hawaiian-language songs, hapa haole songs with traditional instrumentation and two Jawaiian (Island reggae) tracks. The album's sales have been driven not only by its popularity with Hawaiian audiences but by its popularity in the mainland United States and around the world, particularly the track "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World," which has been licensed for use in movies (Finding Forrester, Meet Joe Black, 50 First Dates, Fred Claus, Hubble, Son of the Mask) television shows (ER, Cold Case, Jon & Kate Plus 8, Life On Mars, Glee) and commercials (eToys). Facing Future reached platinum status in 2005.

Israel Kamakawiwoʻole

Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole (pronounced [kəˌmɐkəˌvivoˈʔole]; Hawaiian for "The Fearless Eyed Man"; May 20, 1959 – June 26, 1997), also called Bruddah Iz or IZ, was a Native Hawaiian singer-songwriter, musician, and Hawaiian sovereignty activist.

He achieved commercial success outside Hawaii when his album Facing Future was released in 1993. His medley of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" was released on his albums Ka ʻAnoʻi and Facing Future. It was subsequently featured in several films, television programs, and television commercials.

Along with his ukulele playing and incorporation of other genres, such as jazz and reggae, Kamakawiwoʻole remains influential in Hawaiian music.

Ka 'Ano'i

Ka ʻAnoʻi is the debut album by Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.

List of musical medleys

In music, a medley is a piece composed from parts of existing pieces, usually three, played one after another, sometimes overlapping. They are common in popular music, and most medleys are songs rather than instrumental. A medley which is a remixed series is called a megamix, often done with tracks for a single artist, or for popular songs from a given year or genre.

A medley is the most common form of overture for musical theater productions.

In Latin music, medleys are known as potpourrís or mosaicos; the latter were popularized by artists such as Roberto Faz and Billo Frómeta, and most commonly consist of boleros, guarachas, merengues or congas.

List of number-one hits (Germany)

The GfK Entertainment Charts are record charts compiled by GfK Entertainment on behalf of the Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI).

List of number-one hits of 2010 (Germany)

The Media Control Charts are record charts compiled by Media Control on behalf of the German record industry. They include the "Single Top 100" and the "Album Top 100" chart. The chart week runs from Friday to Thursday, and the chart compilations are published on Tuesday for the record industry. The entire top 100 singles and top 100 albums are officially released the following Friday by Media Control. The charts are based on sales of physical singles and albums from retail outlets as well as permanent music downloads. Robbie Williams is the only artist who has had three different number albums in a year in Germany—Reality Killed the Video Star hit the top of the charts in January, his greatest hits album In and Out of Consciousness: The Greatest Hits 1990–2010 hit number 1 in October, and Progress, on which he sang as a member of Take That, hit number 1 in December.

Maddie Poppe

Madeline Mae "Maddie" Poppe (born December 5, 1997) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and the season 16 winner of American Idol. She is a multi-instrumentalist playing the guitar, piano, and ukulele. Prior to winning American Idol, Poppe released an EP titled Songs from the Basement. In 2015, she had also auditioned for The Voice.

Summer Nights Concert Series

The Summer Nights Concert Series was a Cliff Richard UK tour of some of the UK's finest Castles and stately homes, including; Edinburgh Castle, Leeds Castle and Chatsworth House. The tour grossed more than £4m.

The 50th Anniversary Album

The 50th Anniversary Album is a compilation album by Cliff Richard. The album was released by EMI on 3 November 2008 to mark his 50th Anniversary as a recording artist.The album features 50 tracks across two CDs. It includes Richard's 50th anniversary single "Thank You for a Lifetime" which reached No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart in September 2008.

The Platinum Collection (Cliff Richard album)

The Platinum Collection is a compilation album by Cliff Richard, released on 14 November 2005. The album peaked at number 51 on the UK Albums Chart. The album is a triple album set featuring 59 tracks.

Wanted (Cliff Richard album)

Wanted is the 70th studio album by British singer Cliff Richard, released by Papillion on 5 November 2001 in the UK. This album was produced by Alan Tarney who had previously worked with Richard on the hits including "We Don't Talk Anymore", "Dreaming", "Wired for Sound" and "Some People". The two had not worked together since the 1989 album Stronger. The album reached #11 in the UK Albums Chart and stayed in the charts for 8 weeks.The album is primarily made up of cover songs, including songs by artists such as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Carole King and Tina Turner. At the time of release the official website for the album explained that it consisted of "hits Cliff's always Wanted to record."The inspiration for the album came when Richard was sent a copy of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's recording of "Over the Rainbow" combined with "What a Wonderful World" weeks into the year 2000. He knew immediately he wanted to record it.Two singles were released from this album, the first being the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" which reached #11 in the UK Singles Chart and stayed for 6 weeks. The second single release was one of the three original songs on the album, "Let Me Be the One", which came in at #29. The two other original songs were, "Do You Wonder" and "This Love You Will Never Forget".

The album has sold over 220,000 copies worldwide.

Wanted World Tour

The Wanted World Tour was a Cliff Richard tour of the world during 2002 and 2003 with stops including; South Korea, Hamburg and Canberra

Studio albums
Compilation albums


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