Musical Appreciation ► AUNTY EM!!! AUNTY EM!!!
2005 stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service

Dateline April 8, 1896 – Somewhere over the rainbow, in New York City’s Lower East Side to be exact, Isidore Hochberg was born.

He later changed his name to Edgar Harburg, but he was always known by his nickname “Yipsel” or “Yip.” As Yip Harburg he wrote the lyrics to some of the most popular songs in the ‘Merkin songbook, including Brother, Can You Spare a Dime; April In Paris; It’s Only a Paper Moon; Lydia the Tattooed Lady; and every song in The Wizard of Oz. He won an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song for “Over the Rainbow.”

It should not be forgotten that Yip Harburg was later a victim of the Hollywood Blacklist in the ’50s. From 1951 to 1962 was unable to work in Tinsel Town due to his leftist leanings. He was luckier than some who were Blacklisted, since he was still able to write musicals for Broadway.

Here are just a few interpretations of Yip Harburg’s most famous songs:



E.Y. Harburg was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972.

About Headly Westerfield

Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.

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