37¢ Yip Harburg
Issue Date: April 22, 2005
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10.75
Lyricist E.Y. “Yip” Harburg (1896-1981) was born in New York City. An energetic youngster, he was nicknamed “Yipsel” – Yiddish for squirrel.
In high school and City College, he began a life-long friendship with Ira Gershwin. When the Great Depression cut short Harburg’s business career, Gershwin loaned him money and introduced him to composers and writers. Harburg’s first hit was a song of social commentary. “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” (1932) has been called “the anthem of the Depression.”
During the following decades, Harburg wrote lyrics for Hollywood musicals, with popular songs like “It’s Only a Paper Moon” and “April in Paris.” Together with composer Harold Arlen, Harburg wrote songs for the 1939 MGM classic The Wizard of Oz. The film included his Academy Award-winning song “Over the Rainbow,” as well as “Ding, Dong! The Witch Is Dead” and “We’re Off to See the Wizard.”
In 1947, Harburg and Burton Lane collaborated on Harburg’s masterpiece, Finian’s Rainbow, a Broadway musical attacking American greed and racism. The score included “How Are Things In Glocca Morra?” and “Old Devil Moon.” Over a long career, Yip Harburg wrote memorable lyrics to more than 500 songs.