Louis B. Mayer is one of the greatest executives in the history of motion pictures. But he almost made the mistake of his life when he deleted “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz following a preview. He said it slowed down the movie, and “Our star sings it in a barnyard.”
Fortunately, he was talked back from the edge, and this song earned the honor as “Song of the Century” in a list compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. The American Film Institute also named it the greatest movie song of all time.
Judy Garland will always be linked to her signature song, which she always performed just as it was heard in the film. When asked why she never changed it, she expressed her love for the song and respect for the beauty of its arrangement. Harold Arlen created the melody, while E.Y. Harburg wrote the lyrics.
Even so, “Over the Rainbow” has been covered countless times by a wide variety of artists. Here are a few of my favorites, starting with the original…