Blue Moon

Actually, the fourth piece in the concert is titled “Blue Moon”, first written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1933, and eventually having four different sets of lyrics (as you can read below). For this arrangement, written by Warren Barker (see below), the solo is being performed on Tenor Saxophone by Paige Rooney.

Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) and Lorenzo Hart (1895 – 1943) were contracted to write music for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in May 1933. They were soon commissioned to write the songs for a film entitled Hollywood Party, which was to star many of the studio's top artists of the time.

Rodgers recalled:

“One of our ideas was to include a scene in which Jean Harlow is shown as an innocent young girl saying — or rather singing — her prayers. How the sequence fitted into the movie I haven't the foggiest notion, but the purpose was to express Harlow's overwhelming ambition to become a movie star (‘Oh Lord, if you're not busy up there,/I ask for help with a prayer/So please don't give me the air ...’).”

The song was not recorded and the song did not appear in the movie, which was released without Harlow in 1934. MGM Song No. 225 “Prayer (Oh Lord, Make Me a Movie Star)” was registered for copyright as an unpublished work.

Hart wrote new lyrics for the tune, as the title song for the 1934 film Manhattan Melodrama with these lyrics: “Act One:/You gulp your coffee and run;/Into the subway you crowd./Don't breathe, it isn't allowed”. The song, titled “It’s Just That Kind of Play”, was cut from the film before release, and registered for copyright as an unpublished work in 1934. When the studio then asked for a nightclub number for the film. Rodgers wanted to use the melody again, so Hart wrote a third lyric, this time under the title “The Bad in Every Man” (“Oh, Lord ... /I could be good to a lover,/But then I always discover/The bad in ev'ry man”).

After the film was released by MGM, Jack Robbins, the head of the studio's publishing company, decided that the tune was suited to commercial release but needed more romantic lyrics and a punchier title. Hart was initially reluctant to write yet another lyric but eventually agreed. The fourth set of lyrics for the tune began thusly: “Blue Moon/You saw me standing alone/Without a dream in my heart/Without a love of my own”. Robbins licensed the final version of the song to a radio program, Hollywood Hotel, which used it as its theme. The cover of Robbins’ 1934 sheet music edition credits Ted Fio Rito (vocal by Muzzy Marcellino) as introducing the song, recorded on Brunswick 7315, on October 19, 1934.

The song charted in the Variety Top Ten for 18 weeks, reaching No. 1 on January 26, 1935. The song was also recorded by Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra for Decca Records in November 1934 and Connee Boswell for Brunswick Records in 1935. It subsequently was featured in at least seven MGM films, including the Marx Brothers’ At the Circus (1939) and (as sung by Elvis Presley) in Viva Las Vegas (1964).

Arranger Warren Barker (1923 -2006) was born in Oakland, California. He attended the University of California at Los Angeles. At the age of 24, he was appointed chief arranger for the National Broadcasting Company’s prime musical program of the time, The Railroad Hour, a position he held for six years. Barker was also associated with 20th Century Fox, Metro Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Studios as a composer arranger-conductor for motion pictures and television.

Barker composed and conducted music for more that thirty television series including seven years as composer-conductor for the highly rated comedy series, Bewitched. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored him in 1970 for his original music written for the award winning series, My World and Welcome to It, based on the life of James Thurber. He was a member of the arranging staff for the Oscar winning motion picture Hello Dolly. He also served as conductor-arranger and recording artist for Warner Bros. and Capitol Records.

Barker’s compositions and arrangements have been performed and recorded by a variety of musical artists from Frank Sinatra to the Hollywood Bowl and Cincinnati Pops Orchestras. He received writing commissions from many outstanding music organizations including The United States Air Force Band, The Royal Australian Navy Band, the Northshore Concert Band, and the Norwegian Army Staff Band. Barker wrote or arranged more than 300 pieces for concert band, and we frequently perform pieces by him.

The music for Blue Moon was provided for the band by

The Trombone Section of June, 2015.