James Holmes

Sing-Off: 'What a Wonderful World'

Filed By James Holmes | February 23, 2013 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Eva Cassidy, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Joey Ramone, Katie Melua, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Brightman, Sing-off, What a Wonderful World, Willie Nelson

Louis_Armstrong_What_a_Wonderful_World.jpgI wasn't sure if I would be up for writing a Sing-Off post today. I spent my afternoon at the memorial service for sexual freedom activist and friend Dan Massey. He passed away January 28 at the age of 70.

Dan and his partner Alison live just around the corner from my apartment in DC. After meeting at a fundraiser, they became a second set of parents to my partner and me. Each 4th of July since we have watched the national fireworks from their rooftop, and I was lucky enough to spend this last Christmas Eve with Dan.

I have nothing but happy memories of Dan. Somehow David and I were always the last people to leave any gathering at their home. This gave me a lot of one-on-one time with Dan. His long stories are legendary, and I was always happy to listen, even if what he was saying was completely over my head.

At his service today, I was struck by how much joy there was in the room - joy created by our memories of Dan. It was a true celebration of his life. The service ended with a recording of Willie Nelson singing the Louis Armstrong classic "What a Wonderful World."

This sing-off is for you, Dan.

Willie Nelson wins out as my favorite, followed by Armstrong. The Joey Ramone cover is a close third. My least favorite by far is Sarah Brightman - something about the heavy orchestration takes away from the simplicity of the song's message.

Check out the clips after the break and let me know who you think did it best. Did I leave anyone out? Post a link in the comments.

Louis Armstrong (1967)

Willie Nelson (1988)

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (1993)

Joey Ramone (2002)

Sarah Brightman (2003)

Katie Melua & Eva Cassidy (2007)

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