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“Blue Moon” By The Marcels Reached Its Zenith 50 Years Ago

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The Marcels was a rhythm and blues and doo-wop group whose members Richard Rodgers and Lorenzo Hart wrote “Blue Moon” during 1934, although it was not published until the following year. It has since been recorded by a huge array of artists including Elvis Presley, Mel Torme, Eric Clapton & Rod Stewart, Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, and Sha Na Na. But no interpretation of the song could match the uniqueness and commercial success as the one by The Marcels. Their version would top the American Singles charts for three weeks, beginning 50 years ago this week. It would also top the British charts for two weeks as well and reach number one on the American R&B charts.

The Marcels were formed during 1959 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They were originally a rare bi-racial group, although this fact caused problems on their southern tours. The group would undergo many personnel changes through the years. The founding group members were lead singer Cornelius Harp, tenor Ronald Mundy, tenor Gene Bricker, baritone Richard Knaus, and bass vocalist Fred Johnson.

They would only place four songs on the Billboard Magazine Pop chart during their career. There would be one more hit, when “Heartaches” reached number seven late in 1961. They would be inducted into the Vocal Group Hall Of Fame in 2002.

Words of “Blue Moon” such as “bomp-baba-bomp” and “dip-da-dip” kicked off one of the more memorable songs of the pre-Beatles era in the United States. It would sell over a million copies and be honored by The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock ‘N’ Roll.

“Blue Moon” by The Marcels remains a nice footnote in rock ‘n’ roll history, and 50 years ago it ruled the music world.

About David Bowling

  • Chuck Jones

    Oops? – Rodgers & Hart were BROADWAY icons, born in 1902 & 1895, not members of the Marcels. Hart, in fact, had DIED in 1943! How old are you, young man?
    Disappointed there’s no mention of producer/arranger Stu Phillips, who discovered the Marcels & gave them ‘Blue Moon’ to sing in the first place!
    Stu’s 40 year career changed the musical landscape of three generations. He’s done it all, from supervising actual vinyl pressings, to editing & mixing, & even conducting the LA Philharmonic on a little tune he composed back in 1978, the Battlestar Gallactica Theme. He composed the Knight Rider score as well. Just search ‘Stu Phillips’ online for more. You’ve left this musical master behind. He’s also worthy of an article during this Blue Moon 50th anniversary! And if you doubt how serious I am about music, check out my 700 playlists on youtube at chkjns!

  • http://blogcritics.org/music/article/blue-moon-by-the-marcels-reached/#comments David Bowling

    Greetings. Somehow two paragrahs became combined. The original members of the Marcels shoul have been listed and then the Rodgers & Hart paragraph should have started. Thanks for catching it and for the additional information.