Over the Rainbow

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"Over the Rainbow"
Song by Judy Garland
Published1939
GenrePop, jazz
Composer(s)Harold Arlen
Lyricist(s)E.Y. Harburg

"Over the Rainbow" is a ballad composed by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Yip Harburg.[1] It was written for the movie The Wizard of Oz and was sung by actress Judy Garland[2] in her starring role as Dorothy Gale.[1] It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and became Garland's signature song.

About five minutes into the film, Dorothy sings the song after failing to get Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and the farm hands to listen to her story of an unpleasant incident involving her dog, Toto, and the town spinster, Miss Gulch (Margaret Hamilton). Aunt Em tells her to "find yourself a place where you won't get into any trouble". This prompts her to walk off by herself, musing to Toto, "Some place where there isn't any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It's not a place you can get to by a boat, or a train. It's far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain...", at which point she begins singing.

The Wizard of Oz[edit]

The "Over the Rainbow" and Kansas scenes were directed by the uncredited King Vidor. The song was deleted from the film after a preview in San Luis Obispo because MGM chief executive Louis B. Mayer and producer Mervyn LeRoy thought it "slowed down the picture" and sounded "like something for Jeanette MacDonald, not for a little girl singing in a barnyard". But the song was returned to the film due to the persistence of associate producer Arthur Freed and Roger Edens, who was Judy Garland's vocal coach and mentor.[citation needed]

At the start of the film, part of the song is played by the MGM orchestra over the opening credits. A reprise of it was deleted after being filmed. An additional chorus was to be sung by Dorothy while she was locked in the Witch's castle, helplessly awaiting death as the hourglass ran out. However, although the visual portion of that reprise is presumably lost, the soundtrack of it survives and was included in the 2-CD Deluxe Edition of the film's soundtrack released by Rhino Entertainment in 1995. In that intense rendition, Dorothy cries her way through it, unable to finish, concluding with, "I'm frightened, Auntie Em, I'm frightened!" This phrase was retained in the film and is followed immediately by Aunt Em's brief appearance in the crystal ball, where she is soon replaced by the visage of the witch (Hamilton), mocking and taunting Dorothy before turning toward the camera to cackle. Another instrumental version is played in the underscore in the final scene and over the closing credits.[citation needed]

Recordings by Judy Garland[edit]

On October 7, 1938, Judy Garland recorded the song on the MGM soundstage with an arrangement by Murray Cutter. In September 1939, a studio recording of the song, not from the film soundtrack, was recorded and released as a single for Decca. In March 1940, that same recording was included on a Decca 78 four-record studio cast album entitled The Wizard of Oz. Although this isn't the version that appeared in the film, Decca continued to release the "cast album" into the 1960s after it was reissued on disc, a 33​13 album.

The film version of "Over the Rainbow" was unavailable to the public until the soundtrack was released by MGM in 1956 to coincide with the television premiere of The Wizard of Oz.[3] The soundtrack version has been re-released several times over the years, including a deluxe edition by Rhino in 1995.[4]

After The Wizard of Oz appeared in 1939, "Over the Rainbow" became Garland's signature song. She performed it for thirty years, singing it as she had for the film. She said she wanted to remain true to the character of Dorothy and to the message of being somewhere over the rainbow.[5]

Other lyrics[edit]

An introductory verse ("When all the world is a hopeless jumble...") that was omitted from the film is sometimes used in theatrical productions of The Wizard of Oz and is included in the piano sheet music from the film. It was also used in versions by Tony Bennett, Al Bowlly, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, and Norma Waterson. Judy Garland sang the introductory verse only once, on a 1948 radio broadcast of The Louella Parsons Show.[6] Lyrics for a second verse ("Once by a word only lightly spoken…") appeared in the British edition of the sheet music.[7]

Awards and honors[edit]

In March 2017, "Over the Rainbow" sung by Judy Garland was entered in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as music that is "culturally, historically, or artistically significant".[8] The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) ranked it number one on their Songs of the Century list. The American Film Institute named it best movie song on the AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs list.

"Over the Rainbow" was given the Towering Song Award by the Songwriters Hall of Fame and was sung at its dinner on June 12, 2014, by Jackie Evancho.[9] In April 2005, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp honoring Yip Harburg that includes a lyric.[10]

It was sent as an audio wakeup call to astronauts about the STS-88 space shuttle mission on Flight Day 4, dedicated to astronaut Robert D. Cabana by his daughter Sara.[11]

Chart activity and sales[edit]

"Over the Rainbow" reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot Digital Tracks chart during the week of January 31, 2004 (for the survey week ending January 18, 2004).[12] In the U.S., it was certified Platinum for 1,000,000 downloads sold.[13] As of October 2014 it had sold over 4.2 million digital copies.[14]

In the UK, "Over the Rainbow" was released as a single under the title "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". It entered the UK Official Singles Chart in April 2007 at number 68. In Germany, the single also returned to the German Singles Chart in September 2010. After two weeks on that chart, it received gold status for selling 150,000 copies.[15] In October 2010, it reached number one on the German charts. In 2011 was certified 5x gold for selling over 750,000 copies.[15] It stayed 12 non-consecutive weeks at the top spot and was the most successful single in Germany in 2010.[16] In March 2010 it was the second best-selling download in Germany with digital sales between 500,000 and 600,000.[17][18] In France, it debuted at number four in December 2010 and reached number one.[19] In Switzerland, it received Platinum status for 30,000 copies sold.[20]

"Over the Rainbow" has been used in commercials, films and television programs, including 50 First Dates, Charmed, Cold Case, ER, Finding Forrester, Horizon, Life on Mars, Meet Joe Black, Scrubs, Snakes on a Plane, Son of the Mask, and the television series South Pacific. The Kamakawiwo'ole version was sung by the cast of Glee on the season one finale "Journey" and included on Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals, charting at number 30 in the UK, 31 in Canada and Ireland, 42 in Australia, and 43 in the U.S.[21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

International versions[edit]

The first German version in the English language was recorded by the Swing Orchestra Heinz Wehner (1908–1945) in March 1940 in Berlin. Wehner, at this time an international well-known German Swing Artist,[28] also took over the vocals.[29] The first German version in German language was sung by Inge Brandenburg (1929–1999) in 1960.[30]

Israel Kamakawiwoʻole version[edit]

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World"
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole Facing Future.jpg
Single by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole
from the album Facing Future
Released1993
FormatCD single
Recorded1988
LabelMountain Apple Company
Songwriter(s)E.Y. Harburg, Bob Thiele, George David Weiss

On the album Facing Future (1993), Israel Kamakawiwo'ole included "Over the Rainbow" in a ukulele medley with "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. Israel called the recording studio at 3 am. He was given 15 minutes to arrive by Milan Bertosa. Bertosa said, "And in walks the largest human being I had seen in my life. Israel was probably like 500 pounds. And the first thing at hand is to find something for him to sit on." A security guard gave Israel a large steel chair. "Then I put up some microphones, do a quick sound check, roll tape, and the first thing he does is 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow.' He played and sang, one take, and it was over."[31]

Eva Cassidy version[edit]

"Over the Rainbow"
Eva Cassidy Over the Rainbow single.jpg
Single by Eva Cassidy
from the album The Other Side/Songbird
ReleasedJanuary 29, 2001 (UK)
FormatCD single
LabelBlix Street
Producer(s)Chris Biondo

Eva Cassidy recorded a version of the song for The Other Side (1992). After her death in 1996, it was included on the posthumous compilation Songbird (1998) and released as a single in 2001. It debuted at number 88 on the UK Singles Chart in February 2001 and climbed to number 42 in May, becoming Cassidy's first single to chart in the United Kingdom. In Scotland, it reached number 36, giving Cassidy her first top 40 hit in that region. It was her highest-charting song in the United Kingdom until 2007, when "What a Wonderful World" reached number one.[32] Her recording was selected by the BBC for its Songs of the Century album in 1999. Her performance at Blues Alley appeared on the album Simply Eva (2011).

Track listings[edit]

Single

  1. "Over the Rainbow"
  2. "Dark End of the Street"

Charts[edit]

Chart (2001) Peak
position
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[33] 36
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[34] 42
UK Indie (Official Charts Company)[35] 10

Danielle Hope version[edit]

"Over the Rainbow"
Danielle Hope Over the Rainbow.jpg
Single by Danielle Hope
ReleasedMay 23, 2010 (UK)
FormatDigital download, CD single
GenrePop
Length2:58
LabelPolydor

Danielle Hope, the winner of the BBC talent show Over the Rainbow, released a cover version of the song as a digital download on May 23, 2010 and a single on May 31, 2010.[36] As it was recorded before a winner was announced, runners-up Lauren Samuels and Sophie Evans also recorded versions.[36]

The single was a charity record that raised money for the BBC Performing Arts Fund and Prostate UK.[37]

Track listings[edit]

UK digital download

  1. "Over the Rainbow" – 2:58

CD single

  1. "Over the Rainbow"
  2. "The Wizard of Oz medley" – Sophie Evans, Danielle Hope and Lauren Samuels

Charts[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[38] 29

Ariana Grande version[edit]

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
Single by Ariana Grande
ReleasedJune 6, 2017 (2017-06-06)
FormatDigital download
Length4:32
LabelRepublic
Producer(s)
  • E.Y. Harburg
  • Harold Arlen
Ariana Grande singles chronology
"Heatstroke"
(2017)
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
(2017)
"No Tears Left to Cry"
(2018)

American singer Ariana Grande released a version of the song on June 6, 2017 to raise money at her benefit concert One Love Manchester after 22 people were killed in the Manchester Arena bombing at Grande's concert on May 22, 2017.[39] Grande sang the single for the first time on TV at the One Love Manchester benefit concert on June 4, 2017.[40][41]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak

position

UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[42] 60

Other versions[edit]

On albums and singles[edit]

On film and television[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 134. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. New York City: Oxford University Press. p. 328–330. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  3. ^ "The Wizard of Oz Soundtracks (MGM label)". The Judy Room. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27.
  4. ^ "The Wizard of Oz (Rhino Movie Music label)". The Judy Room. Archived from the original on 2012-01-26.
  5. ^ Garland, Judy. "The Wizard of Oz (Decca label)". The Judy Room. Archived from the original on 2007-09-26.
  6. ^ Scott Brogan. "Judy Garland MP3's". Thejudyroom.com. Archived from the original on 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  7. ^ Over the Rainbow. London: Francis, Day, & Hunter, Ltd.
  8. ^ "National Recording Registry Picks Are 'Over the Rainbow'". Library of Congress. March 29, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  9. ^ Shriver, Jerry (June 13, 2014). "Songwriters gala links old and new with a 'Rainbow'". USA Today.
  10. ^ May, Patrick (8 June 2017). "'Over the Rainbow': 10 things to know about classic American song". The Mercury News. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  11. ^ "NASA Human Spaceflight Database - STS-88 Wakeup Calls".
  12. ^ Billboard, page 65 (February 7, 2004).
  13. ^ "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - November 22, 2012". RIAA. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  14. ^ Gary Trust (October 21, 2014). "Ask Billboard: The Weird Connections Between Mary Lambert". Billboard. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  15. ^ a b "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Over the Rainbow')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  16. ^ "Musik-Jahrescharts: "Sanfter Riese" und der Graf setzen sich durch - media control". Media-control.de. Archived from the original on 2011-01-07. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  17. ^ ""Poker Face" knackt 500.000er-Download-Marke - media control". Media-control.de. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  18. ^ "600.000 Verkäufe: Michel Teló legt Download-Rekord hin - media control". Media-control.de. 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  19. ^ "musicline.de". Archived from the original on September 21, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  20. ^ Steffen Hung. "Die Offizielle Schweizer Hitparade und Music Community". Hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  21. ^ Flandez, Raymund (June 9, 2010). "'Glee' Season One Finale, 'Journey:' TV Recap". The Wall Street Journal. Les Hinton. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  22. ^ "Glee is number 1 Again" (Press release). PR Newswire. May 26, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  23. ^ "Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive: 26th June 2010". The Official Charts Company. June 26, 2010. Archived from the original on January 31, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  24. ^ "Canadian Hot 100: Week of June 26, 2010 (Biggest Jump)". Billboard. June 26, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  25. ^ "Irish Music Charts Archive: Top 50 Singles, Week Ending 17 June 2010". Chart Track. GfK. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  26. ^ "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing July 12, 2010" (PDF) (1064). Australian Recording Industry Association. July 12, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  27. ^ "Hot 100: Week of June 26, 2010 (Biggest Jump)". Billboard. June 26, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  28. ^ Dick McBougall, Down Beat 12/1937
  29. ^ Over the Rainbow, Swing-Orchester Heinz Wehner, engl. Refraingesang Heinz Wehner, Telefunken A 10101, Matrizennummer 24836, recorded March 23, 1940
  30. ^ Wenn Du in meinen Träumen (Over the Rainbow), Inge Brandenburg mit dem NDR-Tanzorchester, recorded November 2, 1960
  31. ^ "Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: The Voice Of Hawaii". 50 Great Voices. NPR. December 6, 2010. Retrieved December 16, 2015. Then I put up some microphones, do a quick sound check, roll tape, and the first thing he does is 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow.' He played and sang, one take, and it was over.
  32. ^ "Eva Cassidy". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  33. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  34. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  35. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  36. ^ a b "Winning Dorothy to release 'Rainbow'". Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  37. ^ "Danielle Hope ('Over the Rainbow')". Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  38. ^ "Danielle Hope: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  39. ^ Reporters, Telegraph (June 7, 2017). "Ariana Grande releases Somewhere Over the Rainbow as charity single for Manchester benefit". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  40. ^ "Ariana Grande resumes Dangerous Woman tour in Paris and says she's thinking of Manchester terror victims 'every step of the way' in poignant Instagram". The Sun. June 7, 2017. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  41. ^ Tanzer, Myles. "Ariana Grande", The Fader, May 30, 2018
  42. ^ "UK Charts June 22, 2017". auspOp. April 1, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  43. ^ Gill, Andy (9 April 2010). "Album: Jeff Beck, Emotion & Commotion". The Independent. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  44. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100 Week of 22 December 2012". Billboard. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
  45. ^ Milosheff, Peter (March 24, 2010). "The Demensions, White Doo Wop From The Bronx". The Bronx Times. Archived from the original on December 8, 2010.
  46. ^ Phares, Heather. "Katharine McPhee". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  47. ^ Pop Archives. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
  48. ^ Savorelli, Antonio (13 April 2010). Beyond Sitcom: New Directions in American Television Comedy. McFarland. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-0-7864-5843-1. Retrieved July 18, 2017.

External links[edit]