The song of the day for Friday, April 8, 2022, is “Over The Rainbow.”
Today we are celebrating one of America’s great lyricists: E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, who was born on April 8, 1896. Known mostly for his work with Harold Arlen, he also wrote lyrics for Vernon Duke, Arthur Schwartz, Burton Lane, and Jerome Kern.
About This Song
“Over The Rainbow” was written by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg in 1939. Probably the most widely known of all Arlen’s songs, “Over The Rainbow” is from the great 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. It has always been closely associated with Judy Garland. In a letter to Harold Arlen, Judy Garland wrote that 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 this version of “Over The Rainbow” in 1995 for the album Here’s To The Ladies. In this album, Bennett recorded songs associated with the 20th century’s greatest women singers. “Over The Rainbow” was, of course, for Judy Garland. The album was arranged and conducted by Bill Holman.
“Over The Rainbow,” as well as Here’s Top The Ladies is available on Apple Music.
As we are honoring Yip Harburg, I have a clip from a 1979 television program special They Wrote The Songs. Yip Harburg was the guest for one episode. The clip is 11 minutes long and I hope you can find the time to watch it. He talks about the importance of music in our lives, and segues into “Over The Rainbow.” Next, he talks about the making of The Wizard of Oz and some of the lyrics he wrote. He ends with the story of how he and Harold Arlen wrote one of the greatest songs in the Great American Songbook, “Last Night When We Were Young.”
Here’s Tony Bennett’s recording of “Last Night When We Were Young” from his 1992 album Perfectly Frank.