“Somewhere end The Rainbow,” prefer so many standard songs, was born in Los Angeles. Through music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Yip Harburg, it’s come to be one that the many beloved songs in the background of American famous music. Yet a rainbow to be never component of the screenplay because that the well known 1939 movie. That was entirely the concoction of Yip. That is the guy who lugged the rainbow to The sorcerer’s of Oz. Knowing Dorothy would certainly sing a ballad yearning for escape from the monochrome farmland of her Kansas residence in the film’s opening sequence, the lyricist E.Y. “Yip” Harburg provided his collaborator, the composer Harold Arlen, a fake title, a fragment the lyric to usage to cave a melody on, a direction, a mood. As a symbol for all the colour unseen come Dorothy in her black color & white world, he conceived the rainbow, although the word ‘rainbow’ is never ever used once in L. Open minded Baum’s book. That handed Arlen a title: “I desire to obtain on the other Side of the Rainbow.”

Arlen took that title and also ran through it, writing the famous melody for the song . Yip, however, was less than pleased as soon as he heard it, as he recalled in one interview late in his life. “I said, ‘My God, Harold, this is a 12 year old girl wanting to it is in somewhere over the rainbow. It isn’t Nelson Eddy!’” Arlen, return crest-fallen, labored all week to compose a new tune, however nothing could match the power and also poignancy of the original. The asked Yip to reconsider, so Yip asked Ira Gershwin because that advice. Ira said Arlen give up his grandiose piano accompaniment to play it rather like a pop song, and that the made all the difference. Yip relented.

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But composing lyrics for it was tough, considering that Arlen began with a dramatic octave leap, tough to lyricize. Yip shortly realized it would job-related by an altering the heat from the “other side” to “over the rainbow,” because that the mellifluence of the long o, and that led him to the opening word, “somewhere,” i m sorry fit the octave ascension ideally. That was every little thing he wanted and also more, and a standard was created.

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Yip in ~ work.

Though “Somewhere over The Rainbow” is his most famed song, and one the the most famed songs ever written (declared the “Number One tune of the 20th Century” by the NEA and also the “number one film song of all time” by AFI), he’s composed lyrics for many other classics, including “April In Paris,” with music through Vernon Duke, “It’s only A file Moon” v music by Arlen, Groucho Marx’s signature track “Lydia The Tattooed Lady,” likewise with Arlen, and “Brother, can You preventive A Dime,” written with Jay Gorney.

That Yip created “Dime” is significant, as unlike numerous of his contemporaries writing Broadway musical songs, Yip’s song were about the usual man, showing an America past Broadway, the America the breadlines, poverty and the downtrodden. He affirmed the political symbolism he uncovered in Oz — the scarecrow heartland farmer who feels he’s too dumb to think despite he has actually abundant wisdom; the manufacturing facility worker so dehumanized by the assembly lines of modern times that he’s diminished to a tin guy with no heart. Also “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” rings with the exultation of the little people rejoicing in ~ the fall of a tyrant.

A committed socialist his entire life, also his surname represents his politics. Though born Isadore Hochberg and called Edgar Harburg together a kid, he came to be Yip not for the Yiddish surname Yipsel, together if frequently assumed, however for YPSL, an acronym because that Young People’s Socialist League. Born in 1896 top top Manhattan’s Lower eastern Side, that attended high college with his pal Ira Gershwin, who common his love for the ingenious text of W.S.Gilbert of Gilbert & Sullivan. Lock attended City college together, after which Yip went to occupational in a Uruguay factory rather than fight in world War I. “He go not believe that Capitalism was the answer to the person community and that certainly it was the devastation of the human spirit,” said his son, Ernie Yarburg, “and he would not hit its wars.” after the war he come home, gained married, had actually two kids, and also became a co-owner that an electrical company. Once it go bankrupt following the crash that 1929, he was destitute and also desperate. Like numerous others in those circumstances, he turned to songwriting.


Via Ira Gershwin, Yip hooked up with the composer Jay Gorney and began composing Broadway musicals. The lyric because that “Brother, deserve to You preventive A Dime” was initially written come the song of a Russian people song Gorney provided in the present “Americana,” and this became the anthem the the Depression, a tune both remarkably colloquial and also poetic, rooted in the plight that the American everyman who built the railroads and also skyscrapers, dealt with in the army, and also was currently on the skids, his hand outstretched.

He composed a multitude that Broadway musicals, and additionally songs because that movies. But never did the forsake his politics conscience. As well as Oz, his many famous display is “Finian’s Rainbow” (with music by Burton Lane), which examined American racism and also broke criterion with that racially incorporated cast and chorus.

Though he won an Oscar through Arlen in 1940 for best Song, the blacklist kept him, and also scores of various other artists suspected of being Communists, from functioning in movies from 1951 come 1962.

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Though he’s famed for his songs from Oz, few know he likewise wrote lot of the conversation in the film, and conceived the integration the the songs into the plot five years prior to Rodger & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma obtained acclaim for this exact innovation. Yip was likewise the last script editor, conducting the rhythms the the narrative exactly as he had for years in Broadway shows. “There were eleven screenwriters,” Ernie Harburg said, “and traction the entirety thing together, composed his very own lines and gave the point a coherence and unity i m sorry made the a occupational of art.”

Though he died in 1981, his work is forever woven into the cloth of American culture, and his promise that a land over the rainbow is together alive this particular day as when he conceived the seventy year ago.