Cover's Paradise

Friday, May 12, 2006

Over The Rainbow

Facing Future La Scala

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - Somewhere Over The Rainbow - What A Wonderful World - Buy
Keith Jarrett - Over The Rainbow - Buy

This song written by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg was made famous by Judy Garland, who sang it in the 1939 film classic The Wizard Of Oz.

The song has been covered many many times by all kinds of artists from different musical directions (see this wikipedia article for a selection). One of my favourite versions comes from hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo'ole from his 1993 album Facing Future. Beside being part of the soundtrack to Meet Joe Black and Finding Forrester this version was also used in various TV commercials and I'm sure lots of folks have heard it before. However the story and other music of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole seems far less known than this one song. The record is a medley including also a nice version of the Louis Armstrong-hit What A Wonderful World (George Weiss/Bob Thiele). Very simple arrangement but still one of my all-time favourites. So, don't misuse it for commercials!

Another great version of this song comes from jazz pianist Keith Jarrett. The track was recorded live at Teatro alla Scala, Milan in early 1995 and released on the La Scala album.
Although Jarrett's concerts are completely improvised there are some (more or less accurate) transcriptions of his concerts available. So, if you are into piano playing and you like Jarrett's music, take a look at

further reading:'ole


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  • Re 'Over the Rainbow', have a listen to Billy Thorpe (RIP) who did a beautiful acoustic version of this song:

    Chris from Australia

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  • Ah; but who can forget Toby Swan's version off of the Lullabies in Razorland LP

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