HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - After nearly 30 years since its original release, Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwaole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” hit over one billion views on YouTube.
The song reached national and international fame after Kamakawiwaole released his 1993 album, “Facing Future.”
The album was released just four years before his death at the age of 38.
“Somewhere Over The Rainbow” became a staple of Hawaii music when IZ gave an island twist to Louis Armstrong’s classic, “What a Wonderful World.”
Kamakawiwaole had originally recorded a cover of “What a Wonderful World” on his Ka Anoi CD, which was released in 1990.
Unlike the soft, simple and bittersweet melody of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that is known worldwide, the 1990 cover is more upbeat.
The stripped down composition of the song in his “Facing Future” album showcased his effortless voice and signature ukulele.
All these years later, Kamakawiwaole’s legacy continues to live on as the song is played and loved by listeners across the globe.
One of the top comments on the YouTube video said, “He is not dead. He is somewhere over the rainbow.”