This dreamy ballad was Glenn Miller's breakout hit, but it was years in the making. Miller wrote the melody in 1935 when he was a trombone player in Ray Noble's band. The lyricist Eddie Heyman added words, and the song was titled "As I Lay Me Down To Weep." It went:Weep for the moon
For the moon has no reason to glow now
Weep for the rose
For the rose has no reason to grow now
The rivers won't flow now
As I lay me down To weep
Miller didn't record or publish the song with these lyrics, but in 1938 used the instrumental as theme music for his radio broadcasts on the NBC network. In 1939 the publisher Robbins Music bought the melody and had Mitchell Parish ("Stardust
") write a new set of lyrics for it, which were given the title "Wind In The Trees."
By this time, Miller had his own band and was set to record a song called "Sunrise Serenade," written by Frankie Carle. Someone at Robbins suggested that Parish write the lyrics as "Moonlight Serenade" instead, which could be used as the B-side of the single, forming a theme. Parish did just that, but Miller recorded the song as an instrumental. When the single was released, "Sunrise Serenade" charted, but it was soon outdone by "Moonlight Serenade," which rose to #3 and became Miller's signature song.