The Duo Behind The Marcels’ 1961 Doo-Wop Hit “Blue Moon”

Decades before The Marcels turned “Blue Moon” into a No. 1 doo-wop hit, the song started out as a popular standard in the 1930s.

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Originally written by Richard Rodgers (of Rodgers and Hammerstein) and Lorenz Hart in 1934, “Blue Moon” was first recorded by singers Al Bowlly and Connee Boswell in 1935 and later became a hit in 1949 when released by Mel Tormé and Billy Eckstine. 

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In 1961, The Marcels recorded and released their version of “Blue Moon,” which went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Blue moon (moon, moon, moon, blue moon)
You knew just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for
Someone I really could care for

And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will ever hold
I heard somebody whisper, “Please adore me”
And when I looked, the moon had turned to gold

Over the decades, “Blue Moon” has been covered by everyone from Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper, Rod Stewart, and many more.

Rodgers and Hart

Before there was Rodgers and Hammerstein, there was Rodgers and Hart.

Later known for his work with Oscar Hammerstein II, composer Richard Charles Rodgers (1902-1979) first worked with lyricist Lorenz Hart (1895-1943) and the duo wrote for musicals in the 1920s and ’30s.

In 1919, Hart and Rodgers had their first breakthrough, landing their song “Any Old Place With You” in the Broadway musical comedy A Lonely Romeo. A year later six of their songs were featured in Poor Little Ritz Girl, and they were later hired to write the score for the 1925 production of The Garrick Gaieties. The duo worked together for two decades and on more than 20 musicals before Hart’s death in 1943.

Along with the lyrics for “Blue Moon,” Hart also wrote “My Funny Valentine,” “Manhattan,” “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” and “The Lady Is a Tramp.”

Rodgers and Hammerstein

Rodgers would later start composing with Hammerstein, and the duo (Rodgers and Hammerstein) scored a collection of musicals throughout the 1940s and ’50s, including The Sound of Music, The King And IOklahoma!, and South Pacific, among others.

Throughout his career, Rodgers wrote more than 900 songs and composed more than 40 Broadway musicals.

In 1962, Rodgers became the very first EGOT, the winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award. 

Photo of Marcels by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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