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It's the birthday of American composer and pianist Harold Arlen, born Hyman Arluck, in Buffalo (1905), the son of a musician. In the mid-1920s he met lyricist Ted Koehler; together they collaborated on such tunes as "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" and "I've Got the World on A String." Among his many Broadway and Hollywood songs are "It's Only A Paper Moon," "That Old Black Magic," and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
--From "The Writer's Almanac" for Wednesday, February 15th, 2017   https://outlook.live.com/owa/?id=64855&path=/mail/inbox/rp

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A very varied career.

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?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why, can't I?

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Many many years ago (I think I was still in high school in the 60s) I saw an interview on television with E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, who was the lyricist who collaborated with Harold Arlen on all the songs in the movie version of "The Wizard of Oz."  He talked about how intimidated he sometimes felt when Harold would come in the room and start playing majestic, sweeping music on the piano, like the underlying music of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."  Apparently when Harold played it the music sounded like something from a Wagner opera. 

it seems like that kind of composing talent has died away nowadays, judging by what we hear, or see on the Grammy awards.


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