“Over the Rainbow” is a ballad tune composed by the musical genius Harold Arlen and lyrics penned by lyricist and librettist E. Y. Harburg. The song was conceived solely for the movie The Wizard of Oz. Singer-actress Judy Garland popularly sang the tune in her role as Dorothy Gale.
In addition, after the movie played in cinemas, “Over the Rainbow” went to be a big hit. In fact, it became Garland’s signature song. Also, the tune earned the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Since then, it was named as one of the most enduring standards of the 20th century.
As Sung by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz
“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…”
In the movie, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy (as played by Garland) muses herself with these words. Talking to her dog, Toto, she asks him and herself the question of a place where there is no any trouble at all. She tries to get the attention of her Aunt Em, Uncle Henry and the farmhands to listen to her story. However, she fails to do so. The story was all about an unpleasant incident involving her dog Toto and the town spinster Miss Gulch. Aunt Em, on the other hand, just tells Dorothy to find and seek herself a place where she doesn’t get into any trouble. With these words, she leaves poor Dorothy and Toto. This now signals the start of Dorothy singing the ballad tune,
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…
Watch the part where Dorothy sings “Over the Rainbow” in the movie:
Country Artists’ Version of the Tune
In 2003, Martina McBride featured a live concert of her version of “Over the Rainbow.” Further, she included it in her 7th album, Martina, which was released in the same year. McBride’s rendition of the song was sultry and purely countrified. Indeed, she gave a new taste to Garland’s hit. To note, her album became no. 1 on the country album charts and no. 7 on the U.S. album charts.
Listen to McBride’s version of the song:
Moreover, Willie Nelson included the song in his 25th album, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It has two sides and “Over the Rainbow” leads the Side Two. According to critics, it is quite hard to describe it. However, it is simple, awkward, touching, and puzzling.
Here’s the rendition of Nelson of the song:
Meanwhile, Pentatonix released an acapella version of the song through their 2017 album, PTX, Vol. IV – Classics. Their version is for sure one of the best acapella renditions ever recorded.
Check out their version below:
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