Harburg, E.Y.

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HARBURG, E.Y. (Edgar "Yip"; Isidore Hochberg ; 1898–1981), U.S. songwriter. Born in New York to Orthodox Jewish parents, Harburg graduated from City College in 1921. After traveling through Latin America working for newspapers, Harburg turned to writing lyrics for Broadway musicals, such as Walk a Little Faster (1932), Life Begins at 8:40 (1934), The Show Is On (1936), Hold on to Your Hats (1940), and Bloomer Girl (1944). His particular vein was the so-called "socially conscious," and his "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?" which he wrote during the Depression of the 1930s became a classic. He wrote the lyrics and co-authored the book for the witty Broadway musical Finian's Rainbow (1947) and wrote lyrics for The Wizard of Oz (1939), Cabin in the Sky, and other popular films. His songs "Over the Rainbow" and "Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe" won Academy Awards. A victim of the Hollywood blacklist, he returned to Broadway and wrote songs for such musicals as Flahooley (1951), Jamaica (1957), and The Happiest Girl in the World (1961). Among his other well-known songs are "April in Paris," "Home on the Range," "It's Only a Paper Moon," and "That Old Devil Moon." Harburg was inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 1972. He wrote Rhymes for the Irreverent (1965) and At This Point in Rhyme (1976).

add. bibliography:

H. Meyerson, Who Put the Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz?: Yip Harburg, Lyricist (1995).

[Jo Ranson /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]