One of the great joys of The Wizard of Oz is its amazing score. Harold Arlen wrote the music, E.Y. "Yip" Harburg wrote the lyrics, and Herbert Stothart (along with Murray Cutter and Roger Edens) handled the score - all to magnificent results.
When OZ came out in 1939, soundtrack albums of songs as recorded for the film soundtracks were eight years away. To capitalize on the success of the film and its score, and because Judy Garland was under contract to them, Decca Records chose to record studio versions of the songs for release in a special album.In 1956 MGM Records released a special LP (12" long playing records were still new) of songs and dialog taken directly from the soundtrack of the film. This was the first soundtrack album of The Wizard of Oz ever released. The record created an abridged audio version of the film (with dialog and music) for the listener, but oddly omitted the song "The Merry Old Land Of Oz". It wouldn't be until 1989 when CBS Records released their "songs and dialog" version that "The Merry Old Land Of Oz" would finally be released. The first CD release was the now rare 1986 U.K. re-release of the MGM Records soundtrack on LP and CD. In 1995, Rhino Records released a two-disc special edition of the soundtrack presenting, for the first time on CD, the actual surviving pre-recordings of the songs and score (with many outtakes/alternate takes/and expanded versions). And a few years after that, they would release their own version of the "dialog and songs" editon, using the newly remixed stereo soundtrack that was currently running in theaters for the 60th anniversry release of the film.
Many other non-soundtrack versions of the score and/or song selections from The Wizard of Oz have been released over the years, usually as children's albums recorded by a variety of vocalists and vocal groups. The focus of this discography is on the releases that are a direct result of the film and feature most (if not all) of the original cast, whether is be the radio versions, Decca Records versions, or the actual soundtracks.
In 2001, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the National Endowment for the Arts selected "Over the Rainbow" sung by Judy Garland as the #1 song of the 20th Century.
"Over The Rainbow" was chosen by the American Film Institute as the number one film song of all time. The RRIAA inducted Judy's Decca version of "Over The Rainbow" into their Grammy Hall of Fame in 1981. In 2006, they inducted the original 1956 MGM Records soundtrack release.
Click on the images below to go directly to the pages with details of each of those releases.