Late in 1952 the final agreement required to make a musical of the 1937 screen classic A Star is Born was signed when Ira Gershwin consented to write the lyrics. Arlen and Gershwin knew they had to create a dramatic song for Judy Garland that allowed her to not only demonstrate her fine singing abilities, but also her flair for acting. The song that they created is The Man That Got Away. It was during the work on this score in February 1953 that Harold’s father, Cantor Samuel Arluck, died. Harold, deeply affected and distressed by his father’s passing, forced himself to keep working.
Judy Garland pre-recorded the song on September 3, 1953.
According to sound man Earl Bellamy: “When Judy sang to playback, you could never hear anything…She wanted me to start off at a full blast and then she topped that…her huge voice carrying out over the rafters. You could hear Judy clear as a bell, and she sang right with it…”