American Songbook: Over the Rainbow


By Wayne Allensworth

Over the Rainbow…Everybody remembers Judy Garland singing that lovely song in The Wizard of Oz. The song was written by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg specifically for Judy to sing in the movie. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. After Toto snaps at Miss Gulch (Margaret Hamilton), Judy as Dorothy wonders if there is any place where there is no trouble. There must be—but where?

Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz:

The song has been recorded by many performers over the years, including Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennet, and Frank Sinatra, among others, and is a perennial favorite, named to many best songs lists. Here’s a marvelous version as recorded by Eva Cassidy:

Over the Rainbow has become part of the American song book.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh, why can’t I?

Chronicles contributor Wayne Allensworth is the author of  The Russian Question: Nationalism, Modernization, and Post-Communist Russia, and a novel, Field of Blood

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Wayne Allensworth

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