That definitely got me thinking. From the clues, I guessed that the song must have been used in a movie. It must have been a ballad. It must have been appealing on many levels, but not a love song. Hmm...
From more of the backstory details I learned that it was written just prior to WWII and the songwriters were influenced by the terrible happenings to the Jews in Europe. That little tidbit was all I needed. I guessed that the song was "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" written by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg.
I actually learned this song not from watching the movie "The Wizard of Oz" or hearing Judy Garland's performance. I learned it by hearing my mother sing it. Carolyn Thompson Lee had a clear, lyrical high soprano voice. When she sang the octave jump in the modulation, she sang way above the staff to a high B flat. Since then, I counted that song as my mother's legacy and I wanted more than ever to be able to sing it the way she did!
When I was a little girl I heard my mother singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" while accompanying herself or by having her sister play it for her. I never, ever saw them use actual sheet music either. Years later, my aunt Janie Thompson made a piano recording of the accompaniment for me to use whenever I got a chance to sing it. This was the perfect choice to sing on almost any program because people are always longing for a better world or better situation.
But when once I had the opportunity to sing it, but I couldn't use the recording but I did have an accompanist, I decided to write the music down for her to play (without the fancy flourishes). Yeah, I had to commit the arrangement to manuscript or it could be lost forever.
“It might not seem obvious that a song performed by a young girl at the beginning of a fantasy movie would take on a life of its own,” said Walter Frisch, a professor of music whose new book, Arlen and Harburg’s Over the Rainbow, traces the work’s history. One factor of the song’s appeal that Frisch cites is the universality of a childhood desire to get away or escape. “The song’s mix of hope and anxiety has allowed people to read into it their own concerns,” he said, noting that the lyrics are general enough that one would not know the singer was standing in a farmyard with her dog.
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is No. 1 on my list of all-time greatest songs of the 20th Century, too.
PS I just located this amazing clip of my mother singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." In about 1970, our family did a big show celebrating my Thompson Grandparents' 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary. My Aunt Janie gave the introduction and also accompanied my mother singing. This is such a treasure!