Blue Moon Of Kentucky

Album: Blue Moon Of Kentucky (1946)
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  • Bill Monroe wrote this song in 1946, and recorded the first version of the song playing mandolin and backed by his band the Blue Grass Boys. Monroe, who died in 1996, was one of the most famous bluegrass musicians of all time (the name "bluegrass" is derived from his backing band - "The Blue Grass Boys"). Kentucky is his home state, and in this song he is heartbroken over a girl who left him, but wishes her well.
  • Elvis Presley recorded this as the B-side to "That's All Right (Mama)" in 1954. It was his first single with Sun Records, recorded during his second Sun session on July 6, 1954. Presley's recording became the best-known version of the song, and is an early example of what was to become known as rockabilly, a combination of blues and country together with an uptempo beat. Over the years, Presley recorded many uptempo songs with heartbreaking lyrics - a good example is "I Gotta Know." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bob - Comox, B.C., Canada
  • The state of Kentucky made this their official bluegrass song.
  • Other artists who covered this include Paul McCartney, Carl Perkins, Ray Charles and LeAnn Rimes. Al Kooper recorded it on his debut solo album I Stand Alone. This is the album with Al's face inserted over a photo of the Statue of Liberty - and remember, there was no Photoshop in 1968! Kooper's cover was ill-fated; right about this time was when his former Blood Sweat & Tears bandmates started saying negative things about him in the press. As he puts it in Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards, "They depicted me as some demonic egomaniac with whips and chains who kept them all in cages." The press had never had anything to characterize Al Kooper by up until this point, so they latched onto this. The Statue-of-Liberty photo hacking didn't help.

Comments: 9

  • Love from MsI know who he wrote the song about.
  • Tee from UsNobuo, In English, in the Us, and maybe other places the word 'blue' is used to express being unhappy. A 'Blue Moon' is a name for when there are two full moons occurring in one month. It doesn't literally mean the color blue. So, 'Blue Moon of Kentucky' "shines on the one who left and made me blue" or something like that. Another way that the word blue is used as a description in Kentucky, is bluegrass, the plant, which does is a fine silky grass that is attractive in lawns and is blue tinged on the ends. Bill Monroe, who wrote "Blue Moon of Kentucky" is the originator of a style of music that is called 'bluegrass', probably because he was a native of Kentucky.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 25th 1954, Elvis Presley performed "Blue Moon of Kentucky" live on the 'Grand Ole Opry' in Nashville, TN...
    Two weeks later on October 9th Elvis' covered version of Bill Monroe's classic peaked at #6 on Billboard's Memphis C&W Territorial Best Sellers in Stores chart...
    R.I.P. to 'The Father of Bluegrass' {1911 – 1996} and to 'The King' {1935 – 1977}.
  • Nobuo from Tkyo, JapanQuestion: Why is the moon in Kentucky blue?
    I've never been to Kentucky. I really want to know.
    -Knob, Japan
  • Deethewriter from Saint Petersburg, Russia FederationAs written in '25 Albums that Rocked the World' Book by Chris Charlesworth, Geoff Brown, David Buckley and Andrew Doe : "Presley worked similar magic on the flipside, a bluegrass tune by the father of the genre, Bill Monroe. His original had the “high lonesome” sound of Forties bluegrass, with keening vocals and a tight, restrained rhythm. Elvis started out singing the song that way, then cut loose the chains and played it like an uptempo blues tune. By the time the record was finished, it was hard to tell which side was country and which was blues."
  • Pat from Albuquerque, NmMonroe had a bluegrass festival in Bean Blossom, Indiana every summer. He only allowed traditional bluegrass bands (acoustic instruments only, no "newgrass" songs) to play in the festival. Very traditional, but really good music. Yes, the Bluegrass Boys played "Blue Moon of Kentucky." The Festival is still around:

    I've attended once, and was blown away. You could stroll around the parking lot and hear many amateurs and pros getting down in the back of a truck. I wish I'd had a tape recorder...
  • John from Cincinnati, OhAlso covered by Al Kooper on his first solo album, "I Stand Alone", presumably as a put-on (since it ends with him saying, "This sounds just like the Byrds.").
  • Jl from French GuyanaThis is one of "sir" [:-)]Paul McCa's favourites, he often sings it on interviews and early solo gigs, when he doesn't want to play a Beatles song, which is of course what everbody's waiting for.
    He once sang it with George and Ringo, though (cf. The Beatles Anthology).
  • Sara from Greenville, AlThis was also covered by Rick Nelson on "Rick's Rareties".
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