top of page

"Over The Rainbow" - Unexpected Origin

Updated: Oct 22, 2023



"Would you ever imagine that 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' concealed more than just dreams of a fantastical Oz? It was, in fact, born from the collective heartache and yearning of an immigrant Jewish consciousness, a poignant testament to a people's staunch resilience.


Yip Harburg, an eloquent lyricist and the child of Russian-Jewish immigrants, joined forces with Harold Arlen, a cantor's son hailing from Lithuania, known to the world as Hyman Arluck. Together, they crafted a melody that would become the anthem of the 20th century. But their creation delves deeper than just wizards and mystical lands.


Unveil the lyrics within their Jewish context, and you'll glimpse a narrative that transcends the colorful façade of Oz. In a time shadowed by past pogroms and the looming Holocaust, the song's poignant verses whisper of Jewish survival. They yearn for flight, like bluebirds escaping the encroaching darkness, their lyrical journey mirroring a somber prelude to the horrors of the Holocaust.


Yet, it's essential to remember that 'Over the Rainbow' wasn't penned as an explicit ode to the Holocaust. Neither the lyricist Yip Harburg nor his son Ernie, in retrospect, tied the song to those looming horrors. However, the song's words hold an eerie resonance, offering an almost prophetic insight into a chapter of history we dare not forget." 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

Someday 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?

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? My hope lies in the line: And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true!

2 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page