The song of the day for Thursday, April 8, 2021, is “Over the Rainbow.”
The Year of Tony Bennett is remembering one of America’s great lyricists: Edgar Yipsel “Yip” Harburg on the anniversary of his birth on April 8, 1896. In addition to his work on many memorable songs, including today’s song, he was known for the social commentary of his lyrics, as well as his liberal sensibilities. He championed racial and gender equality and union politics.
About This Song
“Over the Rainbow” was written by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg in 1939 for The Wizard of Oz. Interestingly, the producers wanted to cut the song from the film, as they felt it slowed downed the movie. Thankfully, the preview audiences preferred the movie with the song. “Over The Rainbow” ranked as the #1 song of the 20th century per the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment of the Arts. The song has always been closely associated with Judy Garland.
In a letter to Harold Arlen, Judy Garland wrote:
(the song) has become part of my life. It’s so symbolic of everybody’s dreams and wishes that I’m sure that’s why some people get tears in their eyes when they hear it. I’ve sung it thousands of times and it’s still the song that’s closest to my heart.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Over the Rainbow” in 1960 for Tony Bennett Sings a String of Harold Arlen. Glenn Osser wrote the arrangement and conducted the orchestra. Unlike many recordings of “Over the Rainbow,” Bennett sings the verse, which is quite beautiful.
“Over the Rainbow,” as well as Tony Bennett Sings a String of Harold Arlen, is available from Apple Music.
We can’t close out this post without two other wonderful versions of today’s song from Judy Garland and Yip Harburg.
Here’s Judy from The Wizard of Oz:
And here is Yip singing today’s song. I love this video. I hope you will too.