Over The Rainbow – Comparison View of The Invisble as Judy Garland's Wizard of Oz and Greatest Hits 'Torch-song' performances

Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland - Meanspeed Contemporary Tempo Map compared 1
Over The Rainbow – Judy Garland – Meanspeed Contemporary Tempo Map compared 1
Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland - Meanspeed Contemporary Tempo Map lf2
Over The Rainbow – Judy Garland – NA15N5 Contemporary Tempo Map lf2
Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland - Meanspeed Contemporary Tempo Map CP3
Over The Rainbow – Judy Garland – Meanspeed Contemporary Tempo Map CP3

Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland - Meanspeed Contemporary Tempo Map lf1

Over The Rainbow – Judy Garland – Meanspeed Contemporary Tempo Map lf1

As many classic songs, OVER THE RAINBOW was sung and recorded by the very late Judy Garland in different styles at different times.  These comparison charts by the meanspeed® music school were created by student Sophia Neumann. Each numerical element of the chart is available upon request through the kindness of Ms. Neumann.

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Over the Rainbow

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Over The Rainbow
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Published 1939
Language English
Original artist Judy Garland
Recorded by See Covers

Over the Rainbow” (often referred to as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”) is a classic ballad song with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. It was written for the movie The Wizard of Oz, and was sung by Judy Garland in that movie.

In the film, part of the song is played by the MGM orchestra over the opening credits. about 20 minutes later, Garland, in the role of Dorothy, sings Over the Rainbow after unsuccessfully trying to get her aunt and uncle to listen to her regarding an unpleasant incident involving Dorothy’s dog Toto and the nasty spinster Miss Gulch, whom Toto bit after she struck him with a rake. Dorothy’s Aunt Em tells her to “find a place where you won’t get yourself into any trouble”, prompting the girl to walk off by herself and sing the song.



  • 1 Influence
  • 2 The Wizard of Oz
  • 3 Original Garland recordings
  • 4 Lyrics
    • 4.1 Deleted Portion
  • 5 Other charting or significant versions
  • 6 References
  • 7 See also
  • 8 External links


[edit] Influence

The song is number one of the “Songs of the Century” list compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. The American Film Institute also ranked Over the Rainbow the greatest movie song of all time on the list of “AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs”. It was adopted (along with Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas”) by American troops in Europe in World War II as a symbol of the United States.

[edit] The Wizard of Oz

The song was deleted from the film after a preview, because MGM chief executive Louis B. Mayer thought the song “slowed down the picture” and that “our star sings it in a barnyard”. Harold Arlen, who was at the preview, and executive producer Arthur Freed lobbied successfully to get the song sequence reinstated.[1]

A reprise of the song was deleted after being filmed. An additional verse was to be sung by Dorothy while she was locked in a room in the witch’s castle, helplessly awaiting death as the witch’s 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 that extremely intense rendition, Dorothy weeps her way through it, unable to finish, concluding with a tear-filled, “I’m frightened, Auntie Em; I’m frightened.” This phrase was retained in the film and is followed immediately by Auntie Em’s brief appearance in the witch’s crystal, where she is soon replaced by the visage of the witch, mocking and taunting Dorothy before turning toward the camera to laugh.

[edit] Original Garland recordings

Judy Garland first pre-recorded the song on the MGM soundstages on October 7, 1938. A studio recording of the song, not from the actual film soundtrack, was recorded and released as a single by Decca Records in September 1939. In March 1940, that same recording was included on a Decca 78-RPM four-record studio cast album entitled “The Wizard of Oz”. Although this is not the version of the song featured in the film, Decca would continue to re-release the so-called “Cast Album” well into the 1960s after it was reissued as a single-record 33 1/3 RPM LP. Garland always performed the song without altering it, singing exactly as she did for the movie. She explained her fidelity by saying that she was staying true to the character of Dorothy and to the message of really being somewhere over the rainbow.[2]

It was not until 1956, when MGM released the first true soundtrack album from the film, that the film version of the song was made available to the public. The 1956 Soundtrack release was timed to coincide with the television premiere of the movie.[3] The soundtrack version has been re-released several times over the years, including in a “Deluxe Edition” from Rhino Records in 1995.[4]

At the time of Garland’s original release hers was not the most commonly played version in jukeboxes, where versions by dance bands such as Bob Crosby’s predominated.[citation needed]

[edit] Lyrics

This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2009)

The introduction was not used in the movie, nor was there ever any intention of using it; but it is often used in theatrical productions of The Wizard of Oz. Judy Garland herself sang the introductory verse once on the radio during the War.

The lyrics to the introduction are as follows:

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

[edit] Deleted Portion

The second chorus is used occasionally in theatrical productions, but remains largely unknown. The only time verse two has been recorded, aside from Garland’s original, was for The Wizard of Oz In Concert, where it was performed by singer/songwriter Jewel.[5] In 2009, Jewel recorded a studio version of the song in its entirety (all three verses) for her album, “Lullaby”.

The short reprise, deleted from the final cut of the film, uses the same melody as the second verse.

Someday I’ll wake and rub my eyes
And in that land beyond the skies,
You’ll find me
I’ll be a laughing daffodil
And leave the silly cares that fill
My mind behind me


[edit] Other charting or significant versions

Barbra Streisand covered “Over the Rainbow” in 1986. She sang it live at her One Voice (Barbra Streisand album) concert and dedicated the song to Garland before she sang it. “Who knows, she may even be listening?” Streisand said.[7]

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s album Facing Future, released in 1993, included a ukulele medley of “Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World”, used in several films, television programs, and commercials. The song reached #12 on Billboard’s Hot Digital Tracks chart the week of January 31, 2004 (for the survey week ending January 18, 2004).

Eric Clapton covered this song on his 2002 cd/dvd One More Car, One More Rider as the closing song of the setlist.

The Smashing Pumpkins covered a portion of the song live on tour in 1994.

Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland - Meanspeed Contemporary Tempo Map lofe
Over The Rainbow – Judy Garland – na15n5  Contemporary Tempo Map na15n5