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'Over the Rainbow' is named SongHall's 'Towering Song'

The Songwriters Hall of Fame’s (SHOF) Towering Song Award winner this year is “Over the Rainbow”—the historic pop standard written for the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz and famously sung in it by Judy Garland.

The sheet music for "Over the Rainbow"
Courtesy of Songwriters Hall of Fame

The award will be presented at the 45th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner on June 12 at New York’s Marriott Marquis Hotel.

“Over the Rainbow” was written by SHOF inductees Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, and published by EMI Feist Catalog, Inc. Among its many accolades over the past 75 years is its ranking as No. 1 on the "Songs of the Century" list compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts; the American Film Institute also placed it at the top of its list of "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs."

Garland’s signature song, “Over the Rainbow” has also been recorded by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Glenn Miller and Jerry Lee Lewis, and was recently performed by Pink at this year's Academy Awards show.

The Towering Song Award honors an individual song that has influenced our culture in a unique way over many years. Previous Towering Songs have included "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," "Moon River," "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "It Was a Very Good Year," "Stand By Me" and "A Change is Gonna Come."

This year’s SHOF inductees are Ray Davies, Donovan, Graham Gouldman, Mark James and Jim Weatherly.

In addition, the legendary songwriting team of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, a.k.a. Gamble and Huff, will receive the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award, while music industry executive Doug Morris will receive the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award. Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons will receive the Hal David Starlight Award, and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) president Del Bryant will get the Visionary Leadership Award.

The SHOF is dedicated to recognizing the work and lives of composers and lyricists who create popular music around the world. Besides celebrating songwriters, it educates the public with regard to their achievements, and produces professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships.

[The Examiner contributes to the SHOF newsletter.]

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