Iz's Music Lives On

Jon de Mello
Jon de Mello

By : Darren Pai

(KHNL) - A woman pours milk into a bowl of cereal and watches as her young child hears a distinctive snap, crackle and pop for the first time.

But it's the music in the background that grabs the viewer's attention in this television commercial for Rice Krispies, a familiar and somewhat haunting tune that's turned out to have worldwide appeal.

"I often say it misses your ears and goes directly in your heart. That song goes directly in your heart," said Jon de Mello, head of Mountain Apple records.

Kellogg's is the latest company to make Isreal Kamakawiwaole's rendition of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" part of an ad campaign. It's now the soundtrack for dozens of commercials

"Fiat, Rice Krispies, Kellogg's corn flakes, Hallmark," de Mello said when asked to name a few.

De Mello said the song had much more humble beginnings.

"It was just one of Isreal's favorites and he loved to play it, real simply and sing it and hum it."

In 2002, fans of ER heard Kamakawiwaole's voice as they said goodbye to one of the show's most beloved characters. Over the years, the song's been part of the soundtrack to dozens of films and TV shows.

"The neat part of the licensing was it did start to take off before Israel died," de Mello said. "So he did feel a lot of it."

The song was a personal favorite of Kamakawiwaole, but not one he often shared with his fans.

"The irony is real he never did Someone Over The Rainbow live," de Mello said. "It was not in his stage repertoire."

The Rice Krispies commercial says childhood is calling, perhaps a fitting tribute to man whose music lives on.

"It is a legacy, it is growing and it's getting stronger," de Mello said. "It's not showing signs of slowing down or stopping at all."