Elvis in addition to also Ella Fitzgerald Sang the idea. She Says Her Father Wrote the idea.
Uncle Chris said, “Go up to the attic.” This particular was at a brother-in-law’s funeral, in 1992.
He also told the niece he was talking to, Liz Roman Gallese, a documentary filmmaker in addition to also the daughter of the man who had just been buried: “You’ll see. They changed the quarter notes to eighth notes, in which’s all.”
She did not follow Uncle Chris’s instructions until years later, nevertheless when she finally went through her father’s things, she discovered tantalizing clues in which appeared to back up one of those improbable family stories: Her father, not Richard Rodgers in addition to also Lorenz Hart, had written the endearing, enduring standard “Blue Moon.” Letters she found indicated he dashed the idea off in late 1930 or early 1931. Her father, Edward W. Roman, was 17 years old then in addition to also lived in Troy, N.Y., across the Hudson River coming from Albany.
“Blue Moon” is usually one of those heart-rending songs in which was recorded by everyone coming from Mel Tormé to Ella Fitzgerald.
in addition to also there is usually a doo-wop group called the Marcels in which rode up the charts having a high-energy take on “Blue Moon” from the early 1960s.
The story told from the family when Ms. Gallese, 70, was growing up was in which her father had sold the song for $900 to buy a car, or maybe in which he had “settled” with the rich in addition to also famous Rodgers in addition to also Hart for in which amount. Either way, there was a car. Ms. Gallese found a snapshot of the idea in which showed her father standing by the passenger-side door. She thinks the idea was a DeSoto, because the word from the family was in which he had one. in addition to also the early DeSotos looked like your vehicle from the photo.
Ms. Gallese — after talking to yet another uncle, Uncle Dom — concluded in which he did not end up with $900, nevertheless $1,0. nevertheless she had been convinced about the story long before in which. “My father wrote ‘Blue Moon,’” she announced in her freshman dormitory at Skidmore College in 1965. She was remembering the one in addition to also only exchange about “Blue Moon” in which she ever had with him, a conversation when she was 9 or 10, or maybe 11.
“You wrote ‘Blue Moon,’ didn’t you?” she asked.
She recalled in which he did not say no, nevertheless he did not say yes, either. His reply was, “Who told you in which?”
She said she “mumbled something about having heard the stories.”
He then told the story his way: He would likely go speed-skate racing on a frozen pond — he still had the skates when Ms. Gallese was a child, in addition to also he often took her in addition to also a sister skating having a cousin. in which night in 1930 or 1931, he said, “the moon reflected blue on the ice.” She said he formed a circle with his hands, like the moon.
in which was the idea, the end of the story. He said nothing about Rodgers, Hart, a Tin Pan Alley go-between or a lawsuit.
Uncle Dom said in which Rodgers in addition to also Hart had called Mr. Roman offering to settle for $1,0. As Ms. Gallese pieced the story together, Mr. Roman took the money nevertheless did not tell Uncle Chris, who became furious when he heard in which “Blue Moon” had rung up $75,000 worth of sheet music sales from the first year after the idea was published, with Rodgers in addition to also Hart listed from the credits.
Ms. Gallese said in which her father had sent his product of the song to a Manhattan music broker who offered to represent him. Back came a contract, nevertheless her father never signed the idea. “They continued to write to me at intervals, sending me contracts to fill out in addition to also make them my agent,” her father said, according to a 1936 newspaper article about the lawsuit he eventually filed.
The newspaper article, coming from the long-gone Knickerbocker Press in Albany, said the lawsuit had named Rodgers in addition to also Hart, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the Robbins Music Corporation in addition to also Jack Mahoney, who Ms. Gallese said was the person who had sent the contracts her father never returned.
The article said Mr. Roman figured in which he had forfeited his rights by the time the song turned up on the radio, nevertheless filed suit after being advised otherwise.
She found the letter coming from Mahoney, with the contract, proposing to represent Mr. Roman in addition to also handle the song. the idea was dated Jan. 12, 1932, a year in addition to also a half before the first MGM copyright on an unpublished song with the “Blue Moon” melody.
She said she assumed in which Mahoney sent the song to MGM; in which someone there “foisted the idea” on Rodgers in addition to also Hart; in addition to also in which Jack Robbins, who ran MGM’s music-publishing unit, saw potential from the melody a little later on.
What to make of Ms. Gallese’s story?
“This particular is usually news to me,” said Ted Chapin, the chief creative officer of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, who added, after hearing more of Ms. Gallese’s story, in which the idea seemed “a little far-fetched.” Robert Kimball, who edited “The Complete Lyrics of Lorenz Hart” with Hart’s sister-in-law Dorothy, went a step further, saying, “I don’t believe ‘Blue Moon’ was written by someone various other than Rodgers in addition to also Hart.”
Mr. Chapin pointed to a section from the 1976 book “Thou Swell, Thou Witty: The Life in addition to also Lyrics of Lorenz Hart,” by Ms. Hart. “Larry in addition to also Dick,” she wrote, referring to Hart in addition to also Rodgers, “never believed in letting a song go to waste,” adding in which “no Rodgers in addition to also Hart tune ever led as many lives as the one in which finally became ‘Blue Moon.’”
She then quoted Rodgers, who died in 1979, as tracing the song’s origins to the months between December 1932 in addition to also April 1933 when he in addition to also Hart worked at MGM. He said they wrote the song when a producer had the idea for a movie called “Hollywood Party” as a vehicle for Jean Harlow.
“Hollywood Party” was not made, nevertheless Rodgers said in which Hart kept the melody in addition to also wrote brand new lyrics for another movie, “Manhattan Melodrama.” in which second product was dropped too, nevertheless Hart churned out yet another set of lyrics in which made the idea in, with the title “The Bad in Ev’ry Man.” (The Hart biographer Gary Marmorstein added a footnote: “The Bad in Ev’ry Man” was the last song in which the gangster John Dillinger ever heard. He was strolling out of a theater when he was gunned down by F.B.I. agents. The movie he had just seen was “Manhattan Melodrama.”)
By July 1933, Rodgers in addition to also Hart had moved to Paramount, nevertheless Robbins, the MGM music publisher, sent them a telegram asking for a more commercial lyric to go with the melody. Rodgers said in “Thou Swell, Thou Witty” in which the brand new lyric was written “sometime from the next three months” in addition to also in which Robbins “personally suggested improvements from the last three lines of the chorus.”
Ms. Gallese said she was well aware in which there was a missing link in her story — how the song got coming from Mahoney to Hollywood. nevertheless in which is usually the nature of a mystery.
“in addition to also who knows if he sent the idea to various other people first?” she asked.