Blue Moon: The history
- Wed 09 Mar 2011, 2:54PM
- Posted by Emily Brobyn
The anthem ‘Blue Moon’ originates from the great American song-writing partnership of composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart.
The music for the song was written in 1934 by the pair for actress Jean Harlow to sing in the MGM film ‘Hollywood Party’, under the title ‘Prayer (Oh Lord, Make Me a Movie Star)’, but was never used in its original format.
A second version of the tune was given new lyrics and became the title song of 1934 MGM film ‘Manhattan Melodrama’. The song was also referred to as ‘It's Just That Kind Of Play’, but was cut before the film was released.
The final, famous lyric was born when Jack Robbins, head of MGM's publishing company, said he would promote it if Hart wrote more romantic, ballad-like words with an accompanying catchy title.
Initially, Hart was reluctant to tinker with the song yet again, but eventually agreed to give it a shot. The result was Blue Moon as we know and love it
They included the instantly recognisable introduction to the song ("bomp-baba-bomp" and "dip-da-dip"). At first it was quite a shock: the song had previously been known as a slow, lilting ballad.
Composer Rogers hated it so much that he submitted full-page ads to newspapers urging people not to buy it. But the public disagreed and it shot to No.1 in both America and the UK, selling over a million copies.
Over 60 different artists have recorded their own versions of ‘Blue Moon’, offering a list that is as diverse as it is dazzling.
Django Reinhardt, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Julie London, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, The Supremes, Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart and many more have also recorded their own take.
The song has also featured in films including At The Circus, Viva Las Vegas, Grease and An American Werewolf in London.