Download This song has an identity crisis. “Blue Moon” was written by composers “Rodgers & Hart” in 1934 for the movie Hollywood Party. In the flick, Jean Harlow had a scene where she was praying to be a movie star, singing the melody to “Blue Moon” – only the title then was “Prayer”. That scene was eventually scrapped. Then they trotted the tune out again as the title song for the movie Manhattan Melodrama – this time they called it “It’s Just That Kind of Play” (which was the original name of that movie – are you confused yet?). But a nightclub scene in the movie required a special song, so Hart wrote more lyrics and the tune became “The Bad in Every Man”. Finally, to give it more commercial appeal, Hart was convinced to write even more lyrics and it became “Blue Moon”. Whew!
It’s remarkable that a song written decades before rock’n’roll was around became a rock standard. The Marcels were most responsible for this. They were a racially- mixed vocal group from Philadelphia with a definitive “doo-wop” style. They recorded it in 1961 with only two takes – featuring the prominent bass vocal carrying the bottom and great falsettos soaring over top. Now add an absolutely frantic tempo and there’s your hit version of “Blue Moon”… at last!
Of course, now everyone’s recorded it, from Elvis to Dean Martin to Rod Stewart. How you perform it with these backups is entirely up to you. If you’ve got great bass singer, mute the bass (trombone) track. No bass vocalist? Keep the trombones and mute the backup vocal track. I’m sure you’ll figure it out. Just have some fun with it…
Here’s something interesting – the movie Manhattan Melodrama was what was playing in the Chicago theater John Dillinger stepped out of before being shot to death by federal agents. So the last song he heard was “The Bad in Every Man” (Blue Moon). Well… the things you learn.