Did Hyman Have Any Idea?

It’s the birthday of songwriter Harold Arlen, born Hyman Arluck in Buffalo, New York in 1905. He wrote over 400 songs, including “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” “Stormy Weather,” “I’ve Got the World on a String,” and “Over the Rainbow.” “Over the Rainbow” was the last song he wrote for the movie The Wizard of Oz, and it came to him on a rainy day as he was driving down Sunset Boulevard in his convertible.

—- from the Writer’s Almanac, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020

We just go through life
experiencing the moment
and then the moment
sticks, because, more often
than not, it is associated
with the music of which we
often don’t know the origin.
My brother-in-law says
that there will never be
an interpretation of “Over
the Rainbow” like Judy
Garland’s. Meanwhile,
I cry every time I listen
to Eva Cassidy hitting
the high note of the last
“Somewhere…” and I
am filled with unquench-
able but delectable pain.
I can’t stop playing that
song. I’m addicted to the
anguish of Eva’s all-too-
brief life and its evocation
of my own experiences and,
to think, my brother-in-law
and I owe it all to one Hy-
man Arluck as he drove
down Sunset Boulevard on
a rainy day in his convertible.

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