Saturday, January 5, 1985

50 years ago: “Blue Moon” charted for the first of 9 times on the U.S. pop charts

First posted 1/5/2013; updated 3/13/2021.

Blue Moon

Glen Gray

Writer(s): Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart (see lyrics here)

First Charted: January 5, 1935

Peak: 13 US (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.11 video, -- streaming

Blue Moon

The Marcels

First Charted: February 27, 1961

Peak: 13 US, 13 CB, 13 HR, 12 RB, 1 UK, 12 CN (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 16.13 video, -- streaming

Awards (Glen Gray version): (Click on award for more details).

Awards (The Marcels version): (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart made their names as giants of musical theater having written The Garrick Gaieties (1925), A Connecticut Yankee (1927), and Present Arms (1928). Ironically, though, their biggest-selling song TY didn’t become a hit because of an appearance in a musical or movie. The pair wrote a song intended for a 1933 Jean Harlow film which has been said to be called “The Prayer” TY and “Make Me a Star.” BR1 It underwent several revisions, becoming “The Bad in Every Man” and “Act One,” but continued to be passed over for movies.

Jack Robbins, the head of MGM’s musical publishing division, heard the song and said he’d promote it if the lyrics were rewritten to be more commercial. KL The resulting “Blue Moon” became a #1 hit for Glen Gray in 1935. That same year, Benny Goodman had a #2 hit with it and Al Bowlly and Ray Noble took it to #5. In 1949, the song charted again thanks to its appearance in the 1948 film Words and Music. Mel Torme took it to #20 and Billy Eckstine got to #21.

After that, it was featured in movies frequently, including With a Song in My Heart (1952), This Could Be the Night (1957), New York, New York (1977), and An American Werewolf in London (1981). Elvis Presley recorded the song while at Sun Records and had a minor hit with it. However, the song got its biggest boost from a quintet from Pittsburgh who were named after a popular hairstyle. BR1

In 1961, The Marcels revived the song as a doo-wop hit. The group had gone in the studio to record four songs. In their final eight minutes of recording time, they recorded two takes of “Blue Moon.” The vocal arrangement was borrowed from The Collegians’ 1957 doo-wop classic “Zoom Zoom Zoom,” TB a move which Richard Rodgers called “an abomination.” KL After New York DJ Murray the K played the Marcels’ recording 26 times one one show at WINS radio, BR1 became a hit, launching a doo-wop revival. TB It hit #1 on the U.S. pop and R&B charts and also landed on top of the UK charts.

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Richard Rodgers
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Lorenz Hart
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Glen Gray
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for The Marcels
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 87.
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh. (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits. Page 74.
  • TB Thunder Bay Press. (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 50.
  • TY Don Tyler (1985). Hit Parade 1920-1955. New York, NY: Quill. Pages 72-3.

No comments:

Post a Comment