Why Are There So Many Songs About Rainbows?

THE MUPPET MOVIE, Kermit the Frog, 1979, (c) Henson Associates/courtesy Everett Collection
Henson Associates/Everett Collection

How many of you can picture and hear Kermit the Frog strumming his little banjo and singing his “Rainbow Connection” from 1979’s The Muppet Movie?

“Why are there so many
Songs about rainbows
And what’s on the other side?
Rainbows are visions
But only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide …”

Songs about rainbows have been around for decades and although sometimes they can be deemed “controversial,” the lyrics of these songs generally touch on feelings of happiness, hope and connection with others. See how many of these classic and contemporary tunes you remember?

“The Rainbow Connection”

As we already gushed, this classic feel-good hit remained on the Top 40 for seven straight weeks, reaching No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1979. The amazing Jim Henson, of course, sang the song as Kermit.

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

Perhaps the most iconic and well-known song about rainbows is “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz. Judy Garland sang the song beautifully and the song has been covered by countless artists over the years. Everyone knows the lyrics, “Somewhere over the rainbow / Way up high / There’s a land that I heard of / Once in a lullaby.”

THE WIZARD OF OZ, Judy Garland, Toto, 1939

Everett Collection

“Pocketful of Rainbows”

Elvis Presley also had his own song about rainbows called “Pocketful of Rainbows” featured in the ’60s movie G.I. Blues. The lyrics relate to the fact that Presley had a positive attitude to help anyone having a rough day. “I don’t worry / Whenever skies are gray above / Got a pocketful of rainbows / Got a heart full of love / Mister Heartache / I’ve found a way to make him leave / Got a pocketful of rainbows / Got a star up in my sleeve.”

“She’s a Rainbow”

We can’t forget rock music and rainbows. The Rolling Stones have a song called “She’s A Rainbow” rumored to be about the late Anita Pallenberg with lyrics “She comes in colours everywhere / She combs her hair / She’s like a rainbow / Coming, colours in the air / Oh, everywhere / She comes in colours.”

ROLLING STONES: FORTY LICKS WORLD TOUR LIVE AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, The Rolling Stones, from left: Ron Wood, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts (at drums), Keith Richards, (aired January 18, 2003)

HBO/Everett Collection

“Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows”

Leslie Gore — the sweetie pie from Tenafly — sang this 1963 catchy, upbeat, bubble-gum love song of what love was like, which was part of her LP Lesley Gore: Sings of Mixed-Up Hearts. The lyrics read “Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows / Everything that’s wonderful is what I feel when we’re together / Brighter than a lucky penny / When you’re near the rain goes, disappears, dear / And I feel so fine / Just to know that you are mine / My life is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows / That’s how this refrain goes / So come on, join in, everybody.” Gore, however, is most remembered for her 1963 smash hits “It’s My Party (And I’ll Cry If I Want To)” and “You Don’t Own Me.” She was also nominated for an Academy Award for Fame‘s “Out Here on My Own.”


The 2017 song “Rainbowland” by Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton features the lyrics “Living in a Rainbowland / The skies are blue and things are grand / Wouldn’t it be nice to live in paradise / Where we’re free to be exactly who we are. Let’s all dig down deep inside / Brush the judgment and fear aside. Make wrong things right / And end the fight / ‘Cause I promise ain’t nobody gonna win (come on).” It is easy to see the comparison between “Rainbow Connection” and “Rainbowland” with lyrics about wanting to find a place where inclusion and happiness are found instead of judgment and hate.

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” By Iz

Yes, it’s the same song that Judy Garland and Elvis and others have sung, but IZ’s tropical, ukelele version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” needs a callout all of his own. If you are a fan of ER you’ll never forget sobbing through the episode where Dr. Mark Green (Anthony Edward) goes to Hawaii and succumbs to his brain tumor. While that was sad enough, the 1994 Season 8, Episode 21 “On the Beach” sent us running for more tissues with IZ’s beautiful rendition playing in the background. Sadly, the singer died at age 38 in 1997 from respiratory failure.

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June 2018

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