Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Archive for April 23rd, 2011


Over the Rainbow

Words and Music by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg
Illustrated by Eric Puybaret
Published by Imagine Publishing Inc.
ISBN 978-1-936140-00-8

Read the full article about this book, here:

Sing-along with Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World”

A link to Eva Cassidy’s “Over the Rainbow,” here she sings live at Blues Alley in Washington, DC:

The original by Judy Garland (it still gives me goosebumps)

Lyrics with the rarely heard introduction which is also included in the book:
Over the Rainbow
Words by E. Y. Harburg
Music by Harold Arlen
From the Movie Musical “Wizard of Oz”

When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around,
Heaven opens a magic lane.

When all the clouds darken up the skyway,
There’s a rainbow highway to be found,
Leading from your window pane
To a place behind the sun,
Just a step beyond the rain.

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.

Some day 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?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh, why can’t I?

I’m thrilled to write that “Over the Rainbow” is one of the songs we selected to be part of
Oh, What a Beautiful Day: Sing Books with Emily, the Cabaret.” 

I make a strong committment to each song I perform and completing my Song Craft Worksheet is part of that process,

 Emily’s Song Craft Worksheet

Because the first section of the Song Craft Worksheet involves background research on the song, I’ll share the answers with you so you can know about the song, too.  The more about the song you know (both concrete facts and less tangible artistic choices), the more “authority,” and heart and soul you can put into the singing and sharing of the song with others.  If you are interested in improving your artistic abilities for singing songs in any capacity, just simply filling out the Song Craft Worksheet is a great place to start!  After the background research, the rest of the Song Craft Worksheet gets VERY personal…don’t worry!  I won’t bore you with that.

1 Q: Who wrote the words?
1 A: E. Y. Harburg

2Q: Who wrote the music?
2A: Harold Arlen

3Q: When was the song written?
3A: 1938

4Q: At what point in the lyricists’ and composer’s career was the song written?
4A: For both Mr. Arlen and Mr. Harburg (who was a little older) this song was written around the beginning of the middle of their careers.

5Q: What is the song from?
5A: Wizard of Oz

6Q: If from a show, what character sang it?
6A: Dorothy

7Q: If from a show, from what situation does the song arise?  Why does the character sing the song?  What function does the song/character play in the story?
7A: Dorothy is feeling pushed aside by her family, it is a song of intense longing of a young woman to break out of childhood and to make her dreams come true.

8Q:  What other contextual elements of the song are significant?
8A: Dorothy is deeply loved by her Aunt and Uncle who look after her and Dorothy clearly loves them as well, but she is an imaginative child with deep feelings, hopes and dreams beyond the farmstead where she has spent her childhood.  She is just on the verge of becoming a woman.

9Q: Was the song written for a particular singer?  Why?
9A: The song was written for the fabulous 15 year old Judy Garland to sing in the role of Judy for the 1938 film “Wizard of Oz.”

10Q: If not from a show, why did the songwriter write the song?
10A: NA

11Q: What do you feel the lyricist is trying to say?
11A: The longing of someone who feels stuck in a situation to break free and make dreams come true.

12Q: Does the song tell a story or just express feelings or ideas?
12A: This song very elegantly uses the telling of a story, describing a place the singer wants to go to express feelings of hope and longing.

13Q: Who else has recorded this song:
13A: “Over the Rainbow” has been beautifully recorded by hundreds of wonderful performers including:  Judy Garland, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Eva Cassidy, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Jane Monheit, Johnny Mathis and Ray Charles, Harry Nilsson, Carly Simon…

The rest of the questions require VERY personal answers and I will spare you those!

Related Articles:


Sing Books with Emily on Twitter

Calendar of SBWE Posts