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Over the Rainbow (often referred to as Somewhere Over the Rainbow) is a classic Academy Award-winning ballad, with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. It was written for the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, and was sung by actress Judy Garland in her starring role as Dorothy Gale. Over time, it would become Garland's signature song.
About five minutes into the film, Dorothy sings the song after failing to get her aunt and uncle to listen to her relate an unpleasant incident involving her dog, Toto, and the town spinster, Miss Gulch. Dorothy's Aunt Em tells her to find yourself a place where you won't get into any trouble. This prompts Dorothy 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.
Judy Garland first recorded the song on the MGM soundstages on October 7, 1938, using an arrangement by Murray Cutter. A studio recording of the song, not from the actual film soundtrack, was recorded and released as a single by Decca Records in September of 1939. In March of 1940, that same recording was included on a Decca 78-RPM four-record studio cast album entitled The Wizard of Oz.
An introductory verse that was not used in the movie is often used in theatrical productions of The Wizard of Oz and is included in the piano sheet music book of songs from the film. It was also used in renditions by Frank Sinatra, Doris Day on her 1958 album Hooray For Hollywood (Vol.1), Tony Bennett on his 1961 album Tony Bennett Sings A String Of Harold Arlen, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Norma Waterson (among others). Garland herself sang the introductory verse only once, on a 1948 radio broadcast of The Louella Parsons Show. A second bridge is also used occasionally in theatrical productions. The short reprise, deleted from the final cut of the film, uses the melody of the bridge (or "B" section).
Over The Rainbow
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Performed by JoJo Worthington
Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high there's a land 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
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then oh why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow why oh why can't I?