National Recording Registry Picks Are “Over the Rainbow” Judy Garland’s hit single “Over The Rainbow”; the original-cast album of “The Wiz”; the rap group N.W.A’s seminal album, “Straight Outta Compton”; the Eagles’ 1976 “Their Greatest Hits”; and the national anthem of black America have been designated as aural treasures worthy of preservation as part of America’s patrimony. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today named these recordings and 20 other titles to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress because of their cultural, artistic and historical importance to American society and the nation’s audio heritage. One of the best-known ballads of all time, “Over the Rainbow,” from the classic American fantasy film “The Wizard of Oz,” expresses a poignant yearning for escape as sung by the film’s young star, Judy Garland. “Over the Rainbow” became an anthem for Garland, a song she cherished throughout her life as her favorite. “It represents everyone’s wondering why things can’t be a little better,” she said in a 1967 interview, two years before her death. Lyricist E. Y. “Yip” Harburg settled on the image of the rainbow as the “only colorful thing that she’s [the Garland character] ever seen in her life,” he recalled, and created a symbol of hope that also became a reason for the film’s creators to shift its cinematography from sepia tones to Technicolor once Dorothy landed in the Land of Oz. Garland credited the song’s “childlike, wistful quality” to its composer, Harold Arlen. The song won an Academy Award, and the 1939 Decca recording by Garland—released a few weeks after the film’s premiere—with accompaniment by Victor Young and his orchestra, became a best-seller.
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