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American Music

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Stabile Building

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Lecture

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Michael Lasser's American Music
Artis—Naples Lifelong Learning


Lyricist E.Y. “Yip” Harburg hated to come out and say “I love you.” He preferred indirection, irreverence and wordplay, even though he was usually writing about love. He had a reformer’s passion, a lover’s heart and a permanently arched eyebrow.

He wrote the words to Brother, Can You Spare a Dime, Over the Rainbow, and Paper Moon, but he also wrote:

       To let a fool kiss you is stupid,
       To let a kiss fool you is worse.

The idea was to make a lyric both fresh and familiar at the same time. Yip belonged to a generation of great songwriters who learned to combine wit and sentiment in single songs to help create the Great American Songbook.


This presentation is part of Michael Lasser's American Music lecture series.

Michael Lasser

Michael Lasser

Teacher, broadcaster and critic Michael Lasser is the coauthor of America’s Songs: The Stories Behind the Songs of Broadway, Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley. A study of more than 300 classic American songs, the book illuminates the ways in which great songs meld words and music into a seamless whole. Lasser recently released America’s Songs II: From the 1890s to the Post-War Years.

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