There’s yet another pot of gold at the end of Israel “Bruddah Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole’s rainbow.
Iz’s iconic hit, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World,” today (March 24) will be added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry for preservation as part the heritage in recorded sound.
Marlene Kamakawiwo’ole, Iz’s widow, said the honor is “a blessing for my ohana and we are so happy to share his magic with the world.”
And Jon de Mello, who produced the disc, said “Our wish is that Iz was here to witness the joy the song brings to the world.”
The inclusion in the registry is not surprising, since “Rainbow” already has logged more than a billion views on YouTube, has been included in dozens of feature films (“Meet Joe Black,” “50 First Dates”), television shows (“EZ,” “Scrubs”), commercials, and has earned multi-platinum sales records in the U.S. and many global nations.
The characteristic “ooooh, ooooh” opening notes are part of the charm of the tune, and even the intro-only has been utilized in commercials. Clearly, it’s Iz’s sound and emotion that appeal to listeners; ironically, Iz was a Hawaiian entertainer but his aloha in the pop tunes is what connected to the world beyond the shores of Hawaii.
The track was included in the best-selling “Facing Future” album, and the medley has emerged as the undisputed No. 1 hit in the annals of Hawaii recordings.
Iz died on June 26, 1997, at age 38, so he never enjoyed the popularity and appeal of “Raiinbow.”
Iz’s inclusion in the registry’s Class of 2020 is also historic: among this year’s honorees is Thomas Edison, for the first-ever sound recording.