- Released: June 27, 2006
- Label: Capitol
- 1.Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries
- 2.I Happen to Like New York
- 3.Comes Once in a Lifetime
- 4.If I Love Again
- 5.The Far Away Part of Town
- 6.Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart
- 7.You Go to My Head
- 8.Man That Got Away, The - (live)
- 9.I Get the Blues When It Rains
- 10.Come Rain or Come Shine
- 11.Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home
- 12.It Never Was You - (previously unreleased)
- 13.Lucky Day
- 14.Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe
- 15.Hello Bluebird
- 16.By Myself
- 17.April Showers
- 18.Why Was I Born? - (previously unreleased, alternate take)
- 19.Rock-A-Bye Your Baby (With a Dixie Melody)
- 20.Over the Rainbow - (live)
Liner Note Authors: Lorna Luft ; Will Friedwald.
Recording information: Capitol studios, Los Angeles, CA (03/??/1956-05/09/1962); Carnegie Hall, NY (03/??/1956-05/09/1962); EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England (03/??/1956-05/09/1962); London, England (03/??/1956-05/09/1962); New York, NY (03/??/1956-05/09/1962).
Arrangers: Mort Lindsey; Gordon Jenkins; Jack Marshall; Andr? Previn ; Nelson Riddle; Norrie Paramor.
Not to be confused with other similarly titled discs, this 2006 collection presents 20 tracks by the iconic Hollywood performer Judy Garland. Drawing from her decade-long stint with Capitol Records (1955-'65), the compilation features many of Garland's undisputed classics, including the vibrant "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart," the breezy "Come Rain or Come Shine," and the swaying "Hello Bluebird," all of which showcase her bold, expressive voice. Closing with a stirring live rendition of "Over the Rainbow," ESSENTIAL stands out as one of the finest era-specific Garland anthologies available, and perfectly complements THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION (also released in '06), a set of '30s and '40s songs.