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Blue Moon

by

The Marcels



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote this for the 1934 movie Manhattan Melodrama. Rodgers and Hart wrote many songs for Broadway plays, including The Lady Is A Tramp and My Funny Valentine. In 1948 a movie was made about the duo called Words And Music. It starred Mickey Rooney as Lorenz Hart.
This was also used in the movies Words And Music (1948); Malaya (1949); East Side, West Side (1950); and With A Song In My Heart (1952) before Elvis Presley recorded it for Sun Records in 1954.
The Marcels recorded this at the last minute when they recorded three songs and needed a fourth. When one of the members said he knew "Blue Moon," producer Stu Phillips told him to teach the song to the rest of the group in an hour, then they'd record it.
The introduction to the song was an excerpt of an original song that the group had in its act - Phillips added it to "Blue Moon" to give it a flair that the group was lacking in their other songs.
The Marcels recorded this in 2 takes. A promotion man asked and got a copy of the finished tape, which found its way to legendary DJ Murray The K. He promoted it as an "exclusive," and played it 26 times on one show.
The followup song, "Summertime," recorded a month after this, stalled at #78. Eight months later, the group hit #7 with "Heartaches," a song that begins with "Watch out! Here we go again..." Guy Lombardo took it to #12 in 1931 and Ted Weems topped the charts with it in 1947. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for all above)
Richard Rodgers hated the Marcels' doo-wop arrangement of this song so much that he took out advertisements in the music papers urging people not to buy it. (thanks, Emery - London, England)
This has been covered by a slew of artists, including Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, and Django Reinhardt.
Sam Cooke recorded a little-known version of this. It was on the LP The Wonderful World of Sam Cooke under the label KEEN. The rare 45 rpm recording of this song was on the rainbow KEEN label. (thanks, Tracy - Beaumont, TX)
In the movie Grease this was used in a scene at the dance where it was interrupted by students "mooning." (thanks, Sharon - New York, NY)
The Marcels
The Marcels Artistfacts
More The Marcels songs
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More songs covered by Elvis Presley

Comments (16):

As stated above Ted Weems took the song "Heartaches" to No. 1 in 1947, I guess he did!!! It became No. 1 on March 15th, 1947 and stayed at No.1 for 12 consecutive weeks until June 6th, 1947!!!
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
the cowboy junkies covered blue moon on the trinity sessions
- chris, westchester, NY
does anybody know how i could contact the copyright owner of the marcels' songs so that i could work out a mechanical royalties agreement with the proper party??!!!

please help if you can!!!!
- Ethan, San Leandro, CA
Sam Cooke's version was released in 1958 on KEEN single #3-2008.
- jAKAsso!, Niagara Falls, Canada
Elvis Presley did a great cover version of this song on his album "Elvis Presley" in 1956. Also Chris Isaak did an excellant cover of the song on the album "It's Now Or Never:Tribute To Elvis" in 1994.
- Bob, Comox, B.C., Canada
The Marcels' arrangement for "Blue Moon" was influenced by "Zoom Zoom Zoom" by The Collegians (Winley, 1957), as I wrote in my interview of the group published in Bim Bam Boom (a collectors magazine) in 1973. It is often wrongly attributed to "Zoom" by the Cadillacs - but even a cursory listen to the two records will prove the point.
-Ed, Nashville, TN.
- Ed, Nashville, TN
Blue Moon was the only Rodgers and Hart song to become a hit, that was not written for a show or movie; but Blue Moon has a remarkable history. The lyric that we are familiar with was the fourth... here's the story:

Rodgers and Hart were under contract to MGM for about a month when they were given the task of writing songs for the "Hollywood Party". They were told every MGM star would be in it, Disney was making a technicolor cartoon to stick in the middle of it, and it was to be the big screwball comedy "to end all screwball comedies" to quote Richard Rodgers... "One of our ideas was to include a scene in which Jean Harlow is shown as an innocent young girl saying - or rather singing- her prayers. How the sequence fitted into the movie I haven't the foggiest notion, but the purpose was to express Jean's overwhelming ambition to become a movie star ('Oh Lord, if you're not busy up there,/I ask for help with a prayer/ So please don't give me the air...')." The scene was never shot, no sound checks were ever made, and in fact, only three of the dozen or so Rodgers and Hart songs written for the film made it to the screen. So MGM Song #225 is dated June 14, 1933, and was registered for copy-right as an unpublished work by MGM, JULY 10, 1933. The remarkable saga of "Prayer" epitomizes what Rodgers and Hart went througn when they were under contract to Metro.

In its second life the "Prayer"/"Blue Moon" tune was given a new lyric and became the title song of the 1934 MGM film Manhatian Melodrama, which starred Clark Gable, William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Leo Carillo, and was the movie that John Dillinger had been watching when he was gunned down outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago. It was registered for copyright as an unpublished work by Metro-Goidwyn Mayer, March 30, 1934. So Hart wrote a lyric for the song to be used as the title song (played either before or during the opening credits of the Movie)... But before "High Noon", you just didn't have too many title songs, so "Its Just That Kind of a Play" AKA The Manhattan Melodrama was cut.

Rodgers liked the melody and when MGM asked for a nightclub number for "Manhattan Melodrama", he had Hart write new lyrics and "Prayer (Oh Lord, make me a movie star)" became "The bad in every man" sung by Shirley Ross. The song made it into the film but did not become a hit. The press kit shows sheet music on the song, but I've never run across any.

It was Rodgers & Hart's publisher, Jack Robbins who told them he thought the song would be a hit, if Hart could make it more commercial. Hart was reluctant to write a fourth lyric, but Robbins swore he'd plug the song from California to Maine. Hart caved in and wrote "Blue Moon". Robbins "gave" it to the "Hollywood Hotel", a radio program that used it as their theme, and on January 15, 1934 He had Connie Boswell record it for Columbia. Blue Moon turned up in at least seven other MGM motion pictures including "Marx Brothers At The Circus" and "Viva Las Vegas".
- Bill, Beechhurst, NY
I am trying to find out if the song Blue Moon ever won any kind of award? Thanks!
- Bob, Sheboygan, WI
Very popular song of the big band era, recorded as an instrumental by Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey. Recorded as a vocal by Frank Sinatra (with Dorsey and on his own), Dean Martin, Mel Torme, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday and others.
- Leo, West Chester, PA
Blue Moon was sung by Robert DeNiro and Mary Kay Place (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman) in the 1977 movie New York, New York.
- Leo, West Chester, PA
Nay, 3 versions of the song are in "American Werewolf in London". During the opening credits by Bobby Vinton, during the transformation scene by Sam Cooke, and over the end credits by the Marcels.
- Henry, Kingston, NY
The lady that sang it in the 40s is likely Billie Holiday
See also lyrics007.com
- A, York (Old), England
Who was the Black lady that sang "Blue Moon" real slow back in the 40's? A friend of mine said it was recorded only by the Marcels. (he is only in his 30's; ha, ha, ha) I told him it came out in the 30's and has been sung by many artists many different ways. Right?
- johnnie, lake city, FL
Sam Cooke's version of "Blue Moon" can be heard in the film, "American Werewolf in London".
- Brian, La Mesa, CA
The name of the group was the name of the lead singer's hair style (back in the days when hairstyles had names..LOL)
- Randy, Beaumont, TX
MxPx did this song covered
- nazrul, ampang, Malaysia
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