If I Only Had A Brain

(Scarecrow verse)

Words & Music:

E.Y. Harburg & Harold Arlen (1939)


There is a transcription of the Laurence Juber arrangement of this classic tune.  He uses open D tuning (D A D G A D), but I have given the basic chords here, courtesy of Jumbo Jim.


D7        G             Am7      Bm7               C

I could while away the hours conferrin' with the flowers,

    G                Am7    Bm  Bbm7

Consulting with the rain.

        C       C/B   Am7        Am7/G     D            D/C   D/B

And my head I'd be a scratchin' while my thoughts were busy hatchin'

D7    G          Am7      Bm7    D9     D7

If I only had a brain.


I'd unravel ev'ry riddle for any individdle

In trouble or in pain.

With the thoughts that I'd be thinkin', I could be another Lincoln

If I only had a brain.



    C  Cdim             Bm7-5 E7    Am7     Dm7  D7   G   G/F#  Em

Oh, I----- could tell you why---- the ocean's near the shore.

         F#m7                B7           Em   B+

I could think of things I'd never thunk before.

              A7                D       D7

And then I'd sit and think some more.


I would not be just a nuffin', my head all full of stuffin',

My heart all full of pain.

        C   C/B    Am7     Am7/G    D   D/C    D/B

And perhaps I'd deserve you and be even worthy erv you ["of you"]

D7    G          Am7     Bm7    Am7     G

If I only had a brain.



"If I Only Had A Heart" (Tin Man) verse:

When a man's an empty kettle, he should be on his mettle

And yet I'm torn apart

Just because I'm presumin' that I could be kinda human

If I only had a heart.


I'd be tender, I'd be gentle and awful sentimental

Regarding love and art

I'd be friends with the sparrows and the boy who shoots the arrows,

If I only had a heart.


Picture me..., a balcony...,  above a voice sings low:

"Wherefore art thou, Romeo?:  I hear a beat.  How sweet!


Just to register emotion:  "jealousy," "devotion"

And really feel the part.

I could stay young and chipper and I'd lock it with a zipper

If I only had a heart.



"If I Only Had The Nerve" (Cowardly Lion) verse:

Yeah, it's sad, believe me missy, when you're born to be a sissy,

Without the vim and verve.

But I could show my prowess, be a lion not a mowess,

If I only had the nerve


I'm afraid there's no denyin' I'm just a dandelion

A fate I don't deserve.

I'd be brave as a blizzard...

TIN MAN: I'd be gentle as a lizard...

SCARECROW: I'd be clever as a gizzard...

DOROTHY: If the Wizard is a wizard who will serve.

SCARECROW: Then I'm sure to get a brain...

TIN MAN: ... a heart

DOROTHY: a home

LION: the nerve!



[segues to "We're Off To See The Wizard"]

Back to the Songbook Index.

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