Whether you know it from Judy Garland’s version or the soothing ukulele of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, somewhere over the rainbow meaning is one of those songs that makes hearts swoon. It’s a wistful song that pines for something better, and it’s often played during funerals and memorials.
Originally written for the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, it features Dorothy (Judy Garland) singing about someplace she wants to escape to. It’s her way of saying she’s had enough of living in Kansas, a place that’s been so dull and depressing that her only hope is to go somewhere else.
It’s a dream-like song that speaks to everyone, young and old alike. It’s a comforting song that reminds us that there is always a better world to come, if we just look around and keep on dreaming.
The music was composed by Harold Arlen and the lyrics were written by Yip Harburg, a Jewish singer and songwriter from New York. Both grew up in Orthodox Jewish families, and Arlen’s family was also immigrated from Lithuania.
Over the years, this song has been covered by many different artists in a variety of styles and genres, including Eva Cassidy and Kylie Minogue. It’s also been featured in a number of movies, TV shows, and commercials.
When Ariana Grande performed it at her One Love Manchester concert last year, it was a particularly powerful moment. It was the right choice for the moment, and it reduced the entire audience to tears. It’s the perfect song for a world that’s still in mourning over the death of people we loved and lost.