This song essentially re-ignited appreciation of the ukulele in American popular culture and also abroad. Recorded in one take at a mid-night session, it was released on the 1993 album Facing Future and subsequently became a worldwide hit, in part through licensing in numerous movies, television shows, and commercials. Kamakawiwo'ole (KA-ma-KA-vi-VO-oh-leh), who passed away at the age of 38 in 1997, is a hero of both Hawaiian music and the Hawaiian independence movement.
In case you didn't turn on the radio or television during 2010, this ubiquitous hit by Train became the year's top-selling song on iTunes while reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. At 6x platinum, It remains the all-time highest-selling single to feature the ukulele as a lead instrument.
Middle school student Grace Vanderwaal charmed judges with a self-accompanied performance of an original song on the 11th season of America's Got Talent. Using the ukulele in each of her subsequent performances, she went on to become a finalist and winner. Since its debut the song has become a popular cover among ukulelists young and old.
Jason Mraz used a baritone ukulele on the original version, but this has become a popular song to learn on any kind of ukulele. This talented guy's performance was at one point the most-viewed ukulele performance on YouTube and remains among the most-viewed of all time.
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