“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is one of the most iconic songs in pop culture history. Since its debut in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, the beautiful lyrics and melody have enchanted generations of listeners. But what is the full meaning behind the magical somewhere over the rainbow lyrics?
Composed by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Yip Harburg, this ballad has become a timeless classic for how it expresses universal longing through poetic symbolism and imagery. Let’s take a closer look at the full over the rainbow lyrics and their indelible message of hope.
The Story Behind the Lyrics
The lyrics for “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” were written specifically for The Wizard of Oz film to represent Dorothy’s wistful dream of a better world. Harburg drew inspiration from his difficult childhood amid poverty and anti-Semitism.
The song was initially deleted for slowing the film down but was reinserted thanks to producer insistence. It went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Full Lyrics Breakdown
Here is a look at the complete somewhere over the rainbow lyrics to unpack their deeper meaning:
Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high There’s a land that I’ve heard of once in a lullaby. Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue And the dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true.
These opening lyrics establish the magical place “somewhere over the rainbow” that sets up the song’s escapist vision. It conveys the idea of a beautiful place where dreams come true, harkening back to childhood lullabies and fantasies.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star And wake up where the clouds are far behind me. Where troubles melt like lemon drops, High above the chimney tops, That’s where you’ll find me.
Here, rainbow symbolism is tied to the act of wishing. The lyrics suggest if you wish hard enough, you’ll find your way to this idyllic place where worries evaporate like melting lemon drops.
Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly Birds fly over the rainbow Why then, oh why can’t I?
The rainbow is given a vivid visual image, with bluebirds flying over it. The singer then expresses longing to join them in this magical place where birds can fly over the rainbow.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star And wake up where the clouds are far behind me Where troubles melt like lemon drops Away above the chimney tops That’s where you’ll find me
The final verse repeats the wishful thinking from the second verse, closing on the promise that the singer hopes to find their way to this dreamland “over the rainbow.”
Analysis of Key Symbols
Let’s analyze some of the key symbolism contained in the over the rainbow lyrics:
- The Rainbow – The rainbow represents the bridge or pathway to this idyllic dream world. It gives tangible form to imagining a better place.
- Bluebirds – Bluebirds flying over the rainbow symbolize the magical, whimsical quality of this envisioned world where anything is possible.
- Wishing Upon a Star – Wishing is presented as the way to access this special place, conveying childlike belief in dreams and magic.
- Troubles Melting – The melting lemon drop troubles evoke the concept of leaving worries behind by escaping to a new world.
While written for a specific film, the somewhere over the rainbow ukulele chords have taken on a meaning that resonates across cultures. The song speaks to universal desires for escape, hope, and childlike wonder. It suggests belief in yourself and your dreams can carry you above life’s troubles to a better place.
The lyrics have become almost mythical on their own, conjuring a dreamland where anything is possible. They illustrate the power of fantasy and imagination to envision a beautiful, magical alternative to grim realities.
There is a timeless quality that continues to inspire and comfort listeners around the world. The song remains globally beloved more than 80 years after its debut.
Impact on Pop Culture
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” has had an enormous pop culture imprint. Here are some examples:
- One of the most covered songs in music history with famous versions by Ariana Grande, Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, and many more.
- Voted the #1 song of the 20th century in multiple polls.
- Used in countless films like 50 First Dates, Finding Forrester, Meet Joe Black and many more.
- Referenced in works like Hannah and Her Sisters, Mr. Robot, Family Guy, and others.
- Performed live at major events like the Academy Awards, Super Bowl pregame show, and America: A Tribute to Heroes telethon.
- Inspired songs like Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” and Elton John’s “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.”
Few songs can match the cultural imprint left by the somewhere over the rainbow ukulele chords. It has become woven into the fabric of society, representing hopes, dreams and innocence. Over 80 years later, its lyrics continue to resonate and inspire listeners around the globe.