Blue Moon – Mel Tormé | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#20); 1949

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

For Rodgers and Hart it was three times lucky with Blue Moon. They originally wrote the tune – called Prayer – for a 1934 Jean Harlow movie. Neither Harlow nor Prayer had one: neither made it to the screen.

Hart wrote new lyrics, and it became The Bad In Every Man, sung by Shirley Ross in Manhattan Melodrama. Hart rewrote the lyrics yet again, and – as Blue Moon – it was popularized by Benny Goodman and Glen Gray in 1935.

Moon‘s film debut came in the 1949 Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland R&H movie bio, Words and Music, and Mel Tormé recorded it early that year. In his autobiography, Mel tells of Richard Rodgers’ heated objections to Tormé’s conversational approach to the song (vs. strict emphasis of the rhymes).

The “discussion” ended with Rodgers storming out of the session. Mel’s second take was the keeper. In addition to Mel’s recording of Blue Moon, two others stand out: Elvis Presley’s

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.


  • Richard Rodgers

Lyrics Written by:

  • Lorenz Hart