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Yip Harburg

E. Y. Harburg
Edgar Harburg
Isodore Hochberg

Lyricist, Librettist, Poet, Businessman

(1896 - 1981)

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Big Bands Database


Interview with Harburg's son at ...
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Book--"Rhymes for the Irreverent...
Book--"Who Put the Rainbow..." a...


Books at yipharburg.com
Films at nytimes.com
Yip Harburg, the son of poor Russian immigrants remembered his happy childhood of baseball and theater. He attended a New York high school for talented children, along with Ira Gershwin, and put himself through college. He wrote successful parodies of popular songs but sought financially secure work, going into the electrical appliance business, which he then lost in the 1929 crash. He turned to writing, and Gershwin introduced him to composer Jay Gorney. The pair wrote, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” which emphasized the dignity and accomplishments of the out-of-work men. Republican sentiment against its anti-capitalist lyric almost caused its omission from the 1932 Americana revue. That same year a collaboration with Vernon Duke turned out the elegant “April in Paris.”

In 1933 a collaboration with Harold Arlen produced “It’s Only a Paper Moon” with Billy Rose, and in 1936 Arlen and Harburg penned “Last Night When We Were Young.” They continued their collaboration, scoring the classic film, The Wizard of Oz (1939), which produced their Oscar-winning “Over the Rainbow.” This was followed by the Oscar-nominated “Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Joe” for Cabin in the Sky (1943). Their popular 1944 Broadway musical, Bloomer Girl, tackled social issues and introduced the paean to freedom, “The Eagle and Me.”

In 1945 Harburg and Jerome Kern wrote Deanna Durbin’s songs for Can’t Help Singing. But in 1947 Harburg’s outspoken interest in social justice got him blacklisted in Hollywood, so he returned to Broadway. His libretto for Finian’s Rainbow with music by Burton Lane also dealt with social issues, but the show was a great success with “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” “Old Devil Moon,” and “If This Isn’t Love.”

Harburg is responsible for instituting the popular “Lyrics and Lyricists” series in 1970 at YMHA in New York City.

- Sandra Burlingame

Brother Can You Spare a Dime?

Various Artists

Over The Rainbow: The Songs Of E. Y. "Yip" Harburg

Susannah McCorkle, E. Y. Harburg

Over the Rainbow

Judy Garland

Over the Rainbow

Little Jimmy Scott

April in Paris

Count Basie Orchestra

April in Paris

Charlie Parker with Strings

Last Night When We Were Young

Art Farmer, Quincy Jones Orchestra

Love Nest/All Over the Place

The Hi-Lo's Includes "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?"

Old Devil Moon

Carmen Lundy

Yip Sings Harburg

Yip Harburg
Reading and Viewing

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Harold Meyerson, Ernie Harburg

Who Put the Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz? : Yip Harburg, Lyricist

University of Michigan Press

Yip Harburg (Composer)

Yip Harburg Songbook

Warner Brothers Publications

Yip Harburg

Rhymes for the Irreverent

Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Yip Harburg

More Rhymes for the Irreverent

The Harburg Foundation

Broadway & Hollywood Legends - The Songwriters - E.Y. "Yip" Harburg & Sheldon Harnick


Judy Garland, Frank Morgan

The Wizard of Oz (1939)


Deanna Durbin

Can't Help Singing


Fred Astaire, Petula Clark, Tommy Steele

Finian's Rainbow

Warner Home Video


A Musical Life in Concert - E.Y. 'Yip' Harburg (1991)


Ethel Waters, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong

Cabin in the Sky (1943)


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