Blue Moon

Album: Blue Moon (1961)
Charted: 1 1
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  • Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart began writing this for the 1933 movie musical Hollywood Party, but it was cut from the film. The following year, it was used in Manhattan Melodrama - starring Clark Gable, William Powell and Myrna Loy - where it was performed by Shirley Ross in a nightclub scene. The song was originally called "The Bad in Every Man," befitting the story of Gable's kind-hearted criminal, but was rejected by MGM until it was re-worked as "Blue Moon."

    Rodgers and Hart wrote many songs for Broadway plays, including "The Lady is a Tramp" and "My Funny Valentine" for Babes in Arms (1937). In 1948 a movie was made about the duo called Words And Music. It starred Mickey Rooney as Lorenz Hart.
  • Mel Tormé sang this in the 1948 movie Words And Music, which was loosely based on the story of Rodgers and Hart's partnership. It was also used in the movies 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.

    Three different versions of the song appear in the 1981 film An American Werewolf in London: by Bobby Vinton, Sam Cooke, and The Marcels.
  • Producer Stu Phillips was ordered by his boss not to waste time on the Marcels and to spend his days devoted to a different artist at Colpix Records. But he didn't say anything about his nights. Phillips waited until everyone else had gone home and sneaked the band into the studio for a secret session. They 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," 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 the group had in its act - Phillips added it to "Blue Moon" to give it a flair the group was lacking in their other songs.
  • The Marcels recorded this in two 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.
  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tracy - Beaumont, TX
  • In the movie Grease this was used in a scene at the dance where it was interrupted by students "mooning." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Sharon - New York, NY
  • A blue moon is a real astronomical phenomenon when a second full moon appears. When that actually happens depends on who you ask. The modern definition simply asserts that it's when two full moons occur in the same calendar month. The original definition, however, is a little more complicated. About every 2.7 years, there are four full moons in a season instead of three - the third moon, not the fourth, is dubbed the blue moon. The rarity of the occasion inspired the old saying "once in a blue moon."

    Incidentally, neither definition involves the moon's color. Although it can take on a bluish cast when ash is in the atmosphere, that is not technically a blue moon. (Learn more about blue moons from the Library of Congress).
  • Many other artists have recorded unrelated songs called "Blue Moon," including Big Star, Beck, Moby and Steve Holy, while others incorporated the phrase in the title, like Stevie Wonder ("Moon Blue"); Bill Monroe ("Blue Moon Of Kentucky"); John Fogerty ("Blue Moon Nights"); Merle Haggard ("When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again"); Traveling Wilburys ("New Blue Moon"); Toby Keith ("Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine On You"); Edie Brickell and New Bohemians ("Once in a Blue Moon"); Van Morrison ("Once in a Blue Moon"); Dolly Parton ("Once in a Very Blue Moon"); Children of Bodom ("Bodom Blue Moon"); and more!

Comments: 19

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NySixty years ago today on April 3rd, 1961, "Blue Moon"* by the Marcels peaked at #1 {for 3 weeks} on Billboard's Top 100 chart...
    And at that time, "Blue Moon" was in its first of two weeks at #1 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart...
    One month later on May 4th "Blue Moon" reached #1 {for 2 weeks} on the United Kingdom's Singles chart...
    Between March 1961 and February 1962 the Pittsburgh, PA doo-wop group had four records on the Top 100 chart, two made the Top 10 with the above "Blue Moon" being their biggest hit...
    Besides "Blue Moon", their other Top 10 record was "Heartaches", it peaked at #7 {for 1 week} in late November of 1961...
    Their two charted records that didn't make the Top 10 were "Summertime" {#78 in 1961} and "My Melancholy Baby" {#58 in 1962}...
    Original lead singer Cornelius 'Nini' Harp died on June 4th, 2013 at the age of 73...
    May he R.I.P.
    * The day "Blue Moon" peaked at #1, at position #63 was Herb Lance and The Classics' version of "Blue Moon", the week before it had peaked at #50...
    Also in 1961, The Ventures' instrumental version of "Blue Moon" peaked at #54 {for 1 week} in November...
    And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of Billboard's Top 10 on April 3rd, 1961:
    At #2. "Apache" by Jørgen Ingmann and His Guitar
    #3. "Surrender" by Elvis Presley {it was the #1 record for the previous two weeks}
    #4. "Pony Time" by Chubby Checker
    #5. "Dedicated To The One I Love" by The Shirelles
    #6. "Don't Worry" by Marty Robbins
    #7. "On The Rebound" by Floyd Cramer
    #8. "Walk Right Back" by The Everly Brothers
    #9. "Runaway" by Del Shannon
    #10. "But I Do" by Clarence 'Frogman' Henry
  • Faisal from Jandanwalawhere I can download it in video form?
    here they are giving brazil version:
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 26th 1961, the Marcels performed "Blue Moon" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Three months earlier on March 6th, 1961 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #89; and on April 3rd, 1961 it peaked at #1 (for 3 weeks) and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 8 of those 14 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    Two other covered versions also made the Top 100 in 1961; Herb Lance & the Classics (peaked at #50) and the Ventures (reached #54), and both are on You Tube......
    Besides "Heartaches" the group charted two more times and both were also 'old-time' classics; "Summertime" (#78 in 1961) and "My Melancholy Baby"* (#58 in 1962)...
    * Has a cute "Blue Moon" intro.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyAs 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!!!
  • Chris from Westchester, Nythe cowboy junkies covered blue moon on the trinity sessions
  • Ethan from San Leandro, Cadoes 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!!!!
  • Jakasso! from Niagara Falls, CanadaSam Cooke's version was released in 1958 on KEEN single #3-2008.
  • Bob from Comox, B.c., CanadaElvis 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.
  • Ed from Nashville, TnThe 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.
  • Bill from Beechhurst, NyBlue 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".
  • Bob from Sheboygan, WiI am trying to find out if the song Blue Moon ever won any kind of award? Thanks!
  • Leo from West Chester, PaVery 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 from West Chester, PaBlue Moon was sung by Robert DeNiro and Mary Kay Place (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman) in the 1977 movie New York, New York.
  • Henry from Kingston, NyNay, 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.
  • A from York (old), EnglandThe lady that sang it in the 40s is likely Billie Holiday
    See also
  • Johnnie from Lake City, FlWho 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?
  • Brian from La Mesa, CaSam Cooke's version of "Blue Moon" can be heard in the film, "American Werewolf in London".
  • Randy from Beaumont, TxThe name of the group was the name of the lead singer's hair style (back in the days when hairstyles had names..LOL)
  • Nazrul from Ampang, MalaysiaMxPx did this song covered
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