Monday, November 13, 2017

Remakes Blogfest - One Song Remake I Was Surprised to Like: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

Remembering the song made famous by Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Every November, my husband and I would  camp in front of the tube with our two children to watch the antics of Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. Would the Wicked Witch win? Would Aunt Em find Dorothy? Who was the wizard? I lost track of how many times we watched this pre-Thanksgiving film. Everyone I knew, it seemed, looked forward to the television event.

Looking back, the evening must have spanned three hours or more. Watching the movie years later without commercials I somehow felt gypped. Was it really only  2hr 5m long? Unlike today, commercials of the past never bothered me. I'd run to the kitchen and get the popcorn ready or cut the dessert. Later during commercials, the kids would get their PJs on and brush their teeth, while I cleaned up the kitchen. It worked somehow. 

MGM released this film classic in 1939. It was based on the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum in 1900. Theater viewers liked the film well enough when it was first released, but it was only a modest success in the beginning. In the end, the movie and its music had a long lifespan. When it came to television years later, mostly during the period 1956 to 1980, its popularity soared.

Judy Garland's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is perhaps the most famous and known song from the movie. Music and lyrics were the creation of Harold Arlen and E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, and it won an Academy Award for Best Song that year. I knew all the lyrics and often sang the song, and it was a popular favorite with my family on road trips (kids weren't plugged into electronics back then). It was Judy Garland's trademark song, and whether she enjoyed singing it for the umpteenth time or not during performances, her fans  demanded it. 

Skip ahead to ..... 2010. I'm listening to NPR's 50 Great Voices Series on the radio. The host is describing a song by Izzy someone from Hawaii, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World." Izzy's full name is Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. NPR calls him "The Voice of Hawaii." I've already heard snippets of the song in commercials on TV, but never in full. I'm mesmerized when I hear it in full and surprised how much I like it. His performance on the ukulele gains recognition across the U.S. According to Wikipedia it had already passed the 2 million mark in downloads by 2009. By 2011 it had sold 3 million.

Judy Garland - "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
Somewhere over the rainbow 
Way up high 
There's a place that I heard of
Once in a lullaby 

Somewhere over the rainbow 
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true 

Some day I'll wish upon a star 
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me 
Where troubles melt like lemon drops 
Away above the chimney tops 
That's where you'll find me 

Somewhere over the rainbow 
Bluebirds fly 
Birds fly over the rainbow 
Why then oh why can't I? 

If happy little bluebirds fly 
Beyond the rainbow why 
Oh why can't I?

Izzy - "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World"

Is this not the best remake of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" you have ever heard?

Eva Cassidy "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

Eva Cassidy's remake is a close second so I include both,
but Izzy's version is my favorite. 

What do think?

(This is a blog hop)


  1. Replies
    1. Such a soothing version. It took me by surprise.

  2. I heard Israel before with this song and he has such a soft yet a strength to it which not sure if this makes sense. The other gal is also good but nothing beats Judy Garland for me. I watched a special on Judy Garland and saw a show she did on TV in the mid ‘50s and she sang this song in hobo makeup( because she just finished singing A Couple Of Swells) and she was so caught up with the sadness that she missed the first beat. When she sang that song, she was crying and had such emotion that nothing beats it for me.

    1. I remember this about her...the emotion she showed.

  3. I fondly remember watching The Wizard of Oz each year with my family. It was such an event. I kind of miss those in the moment annual events. But to the song, es, Israel's song is a delightful remake.

  4. Seen the Izzy one, great voice indeed. But I still think Garland tops it at my sea.

  5. That's a classic. Second mention I'm coming across in this fest. Fab choice.

  6. Judy's version is still my favorite, but i like Israel's too.

  7. I have heard Izzy sing that before. Such a soft voice from such a big guy.

  8. Izzy's version is definitely catchy!

  9. The Wizard of Oz was never a favorite of mine - I know, terrible, huh? So I definitely appreciate Izzy's version better.
    Thanks for participating in the blogfest!

  10. Wizard of Oz was a yearly tradition in my house too. I was afraid of most of the movie, but I was as cowardly as the lion.

    That remake was amazing. He has a great voice.

    1. It was much longer and bigger than life movie back then. The cowardly lion was my favorite.

  11. Its interesting the Wizard of Oz found success on TV. The movie got its second innings.

    1. I suppose that was true for other movies. I know I watched a lot of old movies on TV growing up.

  12. Great choice!!! I adore the movie, the song AND the remake. We watched it again and again and again as well (although my sister hated the flying monkeys :))

    1. Thanks. Everyone who watched had their favorites. Was just thinking how funny the lollypop guild was.

  13. I love Israel's version of this song. It can relax you and cheer you up. What a great musical mash-up.

  14. That is a great remake of the song. I always enjoy it when I hear it.


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You could call me an eternal optimist, but I'm really just a dreamer. l believe in dream fulfillment, because 'sometimes' dreams come true. This is a blog about my journey as a writer and things that inspire and motivate me.