How many times have you heard the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” with a Hawaiian rendition on the radio? Well, this beautiful spirit of a man had an incredible story that needs to be shared.
His name was Israel Ka’ano’i Kamakawiwo’ole. He was well-known in Hawaii for the great work that he did while he was alive. He recorded this song, and it has resonated in people’s hearts and minds whenever they hear it.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow is an iconic song featured in the Wizard of Oz. Israel’s rendition is a glowing tribute to that song, but it’s also one of those feel good songs that makes you stop and listen until it’s over. Israel, while no longer with us, is still with us every time his song is played. The video below has been viewed over 249 million times on YouTube. That’s called staying power.
When Israel Ka’ano’i Kamakawiwo’ole begins playing the first verse of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” most people are immediately mesmerized by his soulful voice and gentle ukulele strumming. But, behind the music, lies a man that has touched the lives of million with his artistic skill and Hawaiian advocacy projects.
During his life, Israel was known as the “Gentle Giant.” Despite his enormous stature, his soul and singing voice was as soft as could be! Unfortunately, the Gentle Giant’s size was the cause of his devastating demise. Israel was considered to be obese, and his condition led to a host of other health problems like cardiac and respiratory illnesses.
The problems were a prominent cause of his passing in 1997 at the young age of 38. Even though he’s now looking down at us from Heaven, he left us with a precious gift: his music. Listen to his song with a fresh perspective of the man behind it in the video below! You are surely missed, Israel!
I’ve heard this song played over again on the radio and I have never looked to see who recorded the song or its backstory, and now I can share it with you.
Not knowing the history of this song’s creator is enough to share this article, what do you think? Add his legacy to your Facebook/Twitter timeline and leave us a comment below on your first memory of hearing this song.