“Over the Rainbow” is a ballad through Harold Arlen’s musical genius and Yip Harburg’s lyricism. Its conception was for the movie The Wizard of Oz. The beautiful voice behind the movies OST was Judy Garland’s. Apart from that, it was also her starring role as Dorothy Gale. “Over the Rainbow” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Also, it became Garland’s signature song. Lastly, it was one of the most enduring standards of the 20th century.
From Dorothy of The Wizard of Oz
Where can we hear this? In the first five minutes of the song, Dorothy sings “Over the Rainbow”. This happened because she failed to get Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and the farmhands to listen to her story. The story was about a horrible incident between Toto, her dog, and Miss Gulch, the town spinster. Aunt Em tells her to find herself a place where she will not get into any trouble. Once poor Dorothy hears this, she walks off by herself musing to Toto,
“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…”.
At that scene, she begins singing.
Country Musicians who Covered “(Somewhere) Over the Rainbow”
In 2003, Martina McBride released her 7th album, Martina. She featured a live concert version of the classic song “Over the Rainbow” in the said album. McBride made a good cover, but her version is difficult to separate from The Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland’s version. The album was a number one on the country album charts, and number seven on the US album charts.
Willie Nelson included the song in his 29th studio album. It bore the title track “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. According to critics, it is quite hard to describe it. However, it is simple, awkward, touching, and puzzling.
Among all the covers made, Israel Kamakawiwo?ole is the only singer who made it his own. Several advertisements, films and television programs have used Israel’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.
Whose version do you like best?
If you have your own recording of the song, feel free to post it.