Monday, September 9, 2013

Dark Monday • Blue Moon

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart photo Rodgers_and_Hart_zps41e6287a.jpg
Richard Rodgers, left, and Lorenz Hart, right.

A song can have a life that extends far beyond what might have been the plans at the time it was first written. Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote "Blue Moon" in 1933, commissioned by MGM to write for the proposed movie, 'Hollywood Party'. They envisioned it as a song for Jean Harlowe, and young girl saying her prayers, hoping to find stardom in Hollywood. This never came to be, so the song was recycled for another film, 'Manhattan Melodrama'. Hart had rewritten the lyrics for the new project, and it was sung by Shirley Ross. The film was released in 1934.



Surprisingly enough, "Blue Moon" was not a hit, and might have been forgotten. But the executives at MGM felt the song could be a hit if it had more romance, and so once again Lorenz Hart went back to the drawing board, to give the song the third set of lyrics. Instead of a coy prayer that asked "Oh Lord, make me a movie star", he came up with lyrics that are much more familiar today. "Blue moon, you saw me standing alone, without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own". It seemed to have worked, for soon artists were lining up to sing the song, and it became a hit. This is Mel Tormé's 1949 recording, making it to the Top 20 on the charts.



In 1961, the song was recorded by a group out of Pittsburgh, The Marcells. They were a Doo-wop group, a sound that was ever-so-popular back then. They decided to change up a classic, and decided that song would be "Blue Moon". They took the romantic love song almost 30 years old, and put on the new sheen of a Doo-wop jacket, and a new generation began to love the song. The song went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and stayed there for three weeks. This is The Marcells singing "Blue Moon" live.



So it just goes to show you, great music can live forever.

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