Judy Garland's Song 'Over The Rainbow'

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Popular Music Paper: “Over the Rainbow” The song “Somewhere over the Rainbow” originally appeared in the movie the Wizard of Oz in 1939. It was created to be a part of the movie’s soundtrack. Its original title is “Over the Rainbow”, but it is now more popularly known as “Somewhere over the Rainbow”. Judy Garland was the actress in the movie who performed this song. Edgar Yipsel Harburg wrote the lyrics for “Somewhere over the Rainbow” and Harold Arlen was the composer for this song. This song reflected the general attitude of most Americans at the time. Although not released until 1939, this song clearly encapsulates the hardships of the 30’s in America. Americans felt a deep need to get over the hardships of the era. New politics, the Depression,…show more content…
The Depression was the biggest economic crash America had ever experienced previously. Thousands of people lost their jobs, hundreds of businesses went bankrupt, and even some banks had to close their doors. It was a disaster. People lost everything, their savings were gone and their homes were foreclosed. Life for Americans was drastically changed. As if the Depression wasn’t bad enough, then the Dust Bowl happened. The Dust Bowl was the result of drought and erosion of the top soil of the land. Huge dust clouds swept through the Great Plains, suffocating its inhabitants (History.com). There were political efforts to better those two events, most of those efforts were enacted by the New Deal policies. FDR was the president at the time, and he created and pushed for the use of the New Deal policies. The New Deal encompassed the programs enacted to save homes from foreclosure, create jobs and many other helpful programs. All in all, the 30’s was an era of economic insecurity and general upheaval. By the late 30’s people were looking to the government to get the nation out of these national…show more content…
Edgar Harburg was the one who wrote the lyrics for this song and Harold Arlen was the composer. The reason it’s so easy to tie in the lyrics to this song to the problems of its era is mainly due to Harburg’s reputation. Harburg was effected by the Depression just as like most Americans. Before song writing, He started out as the Co-Owner of an electrical appliance business, but that business went bankrupt when the Depression started. In a sense, the Depression was a bit of a blessing to Harburg, as it encouraged him to pursue his career as a lyricist. Harburg was a very talented writer; he earned his fame through writing other popular songs like “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” and “April in Paris” in 1932 (Allmusic). Harburg drew his inspiration from America’s and his misfortune due to the Depression. His inspiration allowed him to write “Over the Rainbow”, with help from the composer. But Arlen reportedly had trouble composing the music for this song. He didn’t want to make the tune too fast because it wasn’t supposed to be an overly cheerful song. He also didn’t want it to be too slow because it wasn’t supposed to be depressing (Harold Arlen.com). Eventually, Harburg and he finally agreed to settle on the contemplative tune we know today. Given the points above, it is almost sacrilege to classify this song as anything other than an American classic. Even in today’s time people recognize

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