81 years ago tomorrow, on October 7th, 1938, Judy Garland and the MGM studio orchestra recorded “Over the Rainbow.” The song was written for the film by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, and arranged by Murray Cutter. It was in the MGM scoring stage with its plywood walls, recorded single-channel, with Judy singing at the same time as the orchestra and Georgie Stoll conducting. They did eight takes that day, splicing together the beginning of take 5 with the rest of take 6 to be used in the film, and the rest is history.
Yes, it’s nice that it’s the 81st anniversary (and the 80th anniversary of the release of the film this autumn, too), but why bother to write this post? Well, because for a few weeks this summer, this particular arrangement of “Over the Rainbow,” which has loomed large in my life since I first heard it at age two, became a near-obsession. It all began on May 8th of this year, when in the middle of an email about another Garland arrangement I was restoring for an upcoming concert (more on that here), Michael Feinstein dropped the tantalizing tidbit that he might have found the original orchestral arrangement of “Over the Rainbow.” He couldn’t be sure until he received actual copies because he’d only gotten a brief glimpse of them among composer/bandleader/arranger David Rose’s files as he was helping David’s daughter, Angela Rose White, move some files from her Studio City office.
And then we waited…
….and waited.Read More