Born Feb. 15: Harold Arlen

Harold Arlen, stampFamous song ‘Over the rainbow’ that we hear in the classic 1939 ‘The Wizard of Oz’ sung by talented and young Judy Garland was written by amazing Harold Arlen. This song won the Academy Awards prize for the best song in motion picture with the lyrics written by E.Y. Harburg.

The compositor was born on February 15 th in Buffalo, NY and his name was Hyman Arluck. His father was a music-related artist – choir director and cantor, and his mother influenced his music taste and love to piano.

Arlen discovered jazz music and tried himself singing with groups of his peers as a singer and pianist. By the time he was 20, he had been recording with the Buffalodians (very popular band back then) and met his future friend – talented actor Ray Bolger who then became the Scarecrow.

As soon as Arlen got some experience in performing, he decided to try himself in songwriting which led him to creating timeless hits in cooperation with Ted Koehler, Johnny Mercer, Harburg, etc.

As a result Arlen wrote more than 500 songs, most of them are considered golden classics of pop-culture today. He was in a happy marriage of more than 30 years with Anya Taranda and died at the age 81 in 1986.

He was honored on 32 cent stamp from September 11 th, 1996 in a Songwriter edition of the Legend of American Music series (Scott 3100).