Ach du Lieber! Iz’s ‘Rainbow’ endears Germany with award
Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s enduring “Over the Rainbow” signature tune last night earned an Echo Award in Berlin, Germany’s equivalent of the Grammy Award.
The tune, featured on Bruddah Iz’s “Facing Future” CD, has dominated Germany’s hit lists, marking its 10th consecutive week at No. 1 on the charts. It always has been a Hawaii favorite, featured in numerous films, TV shows and commercials, but went viral — and global — when featured in a pivotal “ER” segment on NBC in 2002, when the fictional character Dr. Mark Greene (played by Anthony Edwards) died. The segment was one of the show’s highest-rated.
Jon de Mello, Mountain Apple Company CEO who produced the recording, accepted the award in Berlin. “I am humbled and thrilled to see that the endearing music of Iz continues to resonate and inspire audiences throughout the world,” he commented.
The tune, a one-take recording in the wee hours in a Honolulu studio, has packed contagious and emotional power, and has been heard in the past 15 years in such diverse projects as “Meet Joe Black,” “Finding Forrester,” “50 First Dates,” “Snakes on a Plane,” “Cold Case,” “Glee,” and the reboot of “Hawaii Five-0.”
Its humming introductory notes have been licensed separately from the full-on, ukulele-accompanied vocal, crossing normal boundaries of language, geography, culture and musical genre and has been one of the indefatigable promotional tools for Island tourism and entertainment. It also has cemented Bruddah Iz’s legacy as the most popular and successful Hawaiian entertainer of all time, who died in 1997 at age 38.