I'm over the moon for this list, for it is all about the moon! But what is the moon? Well, it's one thing and it's many things, if that makes sense. It's the natural satellite of the Earth, which gives us light at night and affects the ocean tides. But on Jupiter, there are sixteen of them. And it's also the name of a real tasty chocolate-covered marshmallow pie.
But I digress. Way back in ancient times, a fellow named Paul once wrote: "If you want to write a song about the moon, walk along the craters of the afternoon". Okay, 1983 isn't exactly ancient times, and the Paul was Paul Simon.
The sentiment still remains that our moon has long been an inspiration in music (such as Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata"). Sadly, not all are here; "By The Light Of The Silvery Moon", "Moonlight In Vermont" and "Mr. Moonlight" are three tunes I would have loved to have included.
As always the songs are organized by how well each has done on the various charts. I'll say it again: If you don't see your favorite moon song, be sure to leave a comment. Who knows, your submission could be the next entry!
Let's start at the bottom (but certainly not least) and work our way up to the #1 spot.
10. Moonlight Serenade
One of the most popular instrumental of all time. When Glenn Miller recorded "Sunrise Serenade" in 1939, he placed "Moonlight Serenade" as the B-side. It became one of the top records of 1939, and was adopted as Miller's signature tune. In 1991, the original recording of "Moonlight Serenade" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
I stand at your gate
And the song that I sing is of moonlight.
I stand and I wait
For the touch of your hand in the June night.
The roses are sighing a Moonlight Serenade.
9. Blue Moon Of Kentucky
Written and originally recorded by Bill Monroe, it's considered one of the greatest bluegrass songs of all time. Elvis Presley's recording is lauded as the genesis of rockabilly. So it has to be on this list. While it doesn't have a Billboard chart history, no list like this would be complete without it.
Blue moon of Kentucky, keep on shining
Shine on the one that's gone and proved untrue
Blue moon of Kentucky, keep on shining
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue
This Van Morrison song is a staple of FM radio, and for good reason. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2003, the Moondance album was ranked #65 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. And it swings like a pendulum.
Well it's a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
'Neath the cover of October skies
7. Fly Me To The Moon
This was originally titled "In Other Words" when it was written by Bart Howard in 1954. The biggest hit version was by Joe Harnell in 1962, as an instrumental. It reached #14 in the US and #4 on the US Easy Listening chart. But it's been recorded by just about everyone, from Frank Sinatra to Astrud Gilberto.
Fly me to the moon
And let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
From Jupiter or Mars
In other words, hold my hand
In other words, darling, kiss me
6. It's Only A Paper Moon
Published in 1933, "It's Only A Paper Moon" was written by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Yip Harburg and Billy Rose. Like "Fly Me To The Moon", it's a standard that has been recorded by many artists. The biggest hit was by Ella Fitzgerald whose version reached #9 in the US and #4 on the US R&B chart in 1945.
Say, it's only a paper moon.
Sailing over a cardboard sea.
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me.
5. There's A Moon Out Tonight
"There's A Moon Out Tonight" is a classic doo-wop tune by any measure, but especially in terms of moon songs. It was the biggest hit for the Queens, New York-based Capris, led by lead singer Nick Santo (who also wrote the song.) It reached #3 in the US in 1961. Why aren't there any hit songs today that sound like this?
There's a moon out tonight, whoa-oh-oh-ooo
Let's go strollin'
There's a girl in my heart, whoa-oh-oh-ooo
Whose heart I've stolen
There's a moon out tonight,
Let's go strollin' through the park.
4. Bad Moon Rising
Contrary to what some have heard on first listen, this song is NOT called "There's A Bathroom On The Right". This was a big hit for Creedence Clearwater Revival, reaching #2 in the US and #1 in the UK for three weeks in September 1969. It was CCR's second gold single. You know, for such serious lyrics...it sounds like such a happy song!
I see the bad moon arisin'
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightnin'
I see bad times today
3. Moon River
From Henry Mancini (music) and Johnny Mercer (lyrics), for the 1961 Audrey Hepburn film Breakfast At Tiffany's, comes one of the greatest ballads ever penned. Mancini released a version, as well as many others, including Danny Williams, whose version reached #1in the UK. However, everyone knows that this is the signature song of crooner Andy Williams. Compared to any other version, Andy totally pwned that song. (Note: pwned is not a typo.)
Moon river, wider than a mile
I'm crossing you in style someday
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you're going, I'm going your way
2. Blue Moon
Numero dos on our list is "Blue Moon", a true classic. Written by Rodgers and Hart as a ballad, it's a standard that's been recorded by dozens of crooners. But the Marcels' uptempo doo-wop cover took it to a whole other level. It reached #1 in both the US and UK, and was actually shocking to many purists!
You saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own
And here we go again! The top position song on our list. It's a biggie, too, but don't let the stars get in your eyes. The top song is...!
1. How High The Moon
Yes! "How High The Moon" by Les Paul & Mary Ford most definitely qualifies, in no uncertain terms, as not only the top moon song of all time, but one of the all-time revolutionizing records of the 20th century. The studio wizardry achieved on this song by both Les on guitar and Mary on vocals, combined with such enthusiasm and energy, makes it a jaw-dropper. It reached #1 in the US in 1951, and stayed there for nine weeks.
Somewhere there's music, how faint the tune
Somewhere there's heaven, how high the moon
There is no moon above when love is far away too
Till it comes true, that you love me as I love you
Do you agree with this list? Have any suggestions for honorable mentions? I can think of a few myself, but I want you to decide.
Check out all of the lists here at Rock The Jukebox: