Hawaiian music great Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole posthumously entered YouTube 1 billion views club with his classic cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” YouTube announced on Wednesday (Jan. 6).
The tender video from Hawaiian record label The Mountain Apple Company’s YouTube channel features the late Kamakawiwoʻole gently plucking at his ukelele on the beach. It has averaged more than 500,000 views a day over the last 12 months, according to YouTube. The singer died in 1997 at the age of 38.
His famous cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” has spent a record 541 weeks on the World Digital Song Sales chart, including 332 non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 starting in 2011. Google paid tribute to him last May during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with an animated Doodle of him playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on his iconic ukelele in a reimagined clip of the viral video.
Add to the 1 billion-and-counting view tally by watching his “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” version below.