In Arlen and Harburg’s “Over the Rainbow” (Oxford University Press, 2017) Walter Frisch traces the history of the song “Over the Rainbow” from its inception during the development of The Wizard of Oz‘s screenplay to its various reinterpretations over the course of the ensuing decades. Through analysis of the song’s music and lyrics, this Oxford Keynotes volume provides a close reading of the piece while examining the evolution of its meaning as it traversed widely varying cultural contexts. Featuring a companion website with audio and video supplements.
Walter Rimler’s biography of Harold Arlen, The Man That Got Away: The Life and Songs of Harold Arlen, was published by University of Illinois Press in August 2015. The book contains extensive material about Yip Harburg, who, over a span of nearly fifty years, wrote more than 100 songs with Arlen , including “Over the Rainbow” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon.”
Over the Rainbow: The Life and Rhymes of Yip Harburg by Stuart Stotts was released in paperback in September 2015 by Big Valley Press. It is also available as a Kindle book.
Michael Elihu Colby. The Algonquin Kid: Adventures Growing Up at New York’s Legendary Hotel. Reminiscences of encounters with celebrities, including Yip, by the grandson of Ben and Mary Bodne, who owned the hotel from 1946 to 1987. BearManor Media, 2015.
The Yip Harburg Songbook. Piano/vocal sheets to 34 songs including “Over the Rainbow,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” “April in Paris,” “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady,” “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” “Old Devil Moon,” and an illustrated introductory essay by Stephen Holden. Hal Leonard Publishers, 2009.
Who Put the Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz? Yip Harburg, Lyricist. by Harold Meyerson and Ernie Harburg. 454 pages, black-and-white and color illustrations. University of Michigan Press, 1993. Paperback edition, 1995.
Harriet Alonso. Yip Harburg: Legendary Lyricist and Human Rights Activist. Wesleyan University Press, 2012. 305 pages, with illustrations. This interview-based biography is, in the author’s words, “a study of the lyrical world of Yip Harburg, as told largely by Yip himself through interviews, speeches, song lyrics, and poems.”
Justin Kaplan, General Editor. Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 16th Edition. Little, Brown & Company, 1992, p. 699.
Herbert Keyser. Geniuses of the American Musical Theatre: The Composers and Lyricists. Applause Books, 2009. Contains a beautifully illustrated chapter on Yip.
Richard Koszarski. Hollywood on the Hudson: Film and Television in New York from Griffith to Sarnoff, Rutgers University Press, 2008. Several passages of this thorough history discuss Yip’s little-known lyric writing stint at Paramount’s Long Island Astoria Studios from 1929 through the early 1930’s.