Friday, March 16, 2012

100 years ago: “Moonlight Bay” hit #1

Moonlight Bay

American Quartet

Writer(s): Edward Madden, Percy Wenrich (see lyrics here)


First Charted: March 9, 1912


Peak: 18 US, 13 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.16 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Arguably the best moonlight song ever written,” PS “Moonlight Bay” “conjures up an entire lost era of a slower-paced America that…had plenty of time for gentle spooning in an unspoiled natural setting.” SS It is “a very durable song from Tin Pan Alley about an idyllic setting for romance.” RCG

Edward Madden, who also wrote “By the Light of the Silvery Moon,” penned the lyrics about “sailing across the bay at night in the moonlight while losing one’s heart to true love.” RCG The music was written by Percy Wenrich, “one of the era’s specialists in sentimental ballads.” SS. He came from a musical family wrote a number of hits in the rag genre and performed with his wife, Dolly Connelly, in vaudeville. PS

It was Connelly who introduced the song in vaudeville and took it to #3 on the U.S. pop charts in 1912. It also became a “huge barbershop-quartet song as exemplified by the American Quartet,” JA who made the tune the biggest hit of 1912. WHC

The song was revived by Alice Faye in the 1943 film On Moonlight Bay and again in 1951 in a Doris Day and Gordon MacRae film of the same name. The song has appeared many times in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts featuring Porky Pig and Daffy Duck. WK In 1951, Bing and Gary Crosby took their version of the song to #14. JA


Resources:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for American Quartiet
  • JA David A. Jasen. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 136.
  • PS ParlorSongs.com
  • RCG RimChiGuy.com The Old Songs (1900-1929)
  • SS Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volumes I & II). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland. Page 587.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 23.


Last updated 12/27/2021.

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