Moonglow (song)

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"Moonglow", also known as "Moonglow and Love" is a 1933 popular song. The music was by Will Hudson (1908–1981)[a][i][ii][iii][iv][v][vi][vii][viii][ix][x][xi][xii] and Irving Mills and the words were by Eddie DeLange.

Musicological notes[edit]

"Moonglow" is a 32-bar tune in the form of AABA.

"Moonglow" appears in jazz fake books and lead sheets in the key of G, though it is also thought to originally be in the key of C.[1] It is tonal and begins on the IV chord, also referred to as the subdominant major chord, and the sixth, or submediant note of the major scale, before resolving onto the tonic.

The melodic riff of the A section is composed of a repeated minor third interval followed by a major third interval and then a repeated note. Harmonic movement is largely in an ascending circle of fourths, or with descending chromatic substitutions, but there is also movement between thirds or between major and minor seventh chords. Minor seventh chords are often played in first inversion in this tune, and may therefore be thought of and notated as six chords of the relative major.

Rhythmically "Moonglow" is in 4
. It is a foxtrot, typically played at a slow tempo, although some performers, notably Art Tatum, have played it faster. The rhythm is syncopated. Jazz players usually swing the eighth notes.

Selected discography[edit]

"Moonglow" was first recorded by Joe Venuti and his orchestra in 1933, with subsequent recordings by Cab Calloway, Benny Goodman and his orchestra, Ethel Waters, and Art Tatum in 1934 and has since become a jazz standard, performed and recorded numerous times by a wide array of musical talents. The Benny Goodman Quartet with Teddy Wilson, Gene Krupa and Lionel Hampton made a famous version of the song in 1936, Artie Shaw recorded it in 1941, and Harry James recorded it in 1946 (released in 1950) on Columbia 38943.

Prominent vocalists who have recorded "Moonglow" include June Christy (1946), Billie Holiday (1952) and Sarah Vaughan (1962). A recording by George Cates and his Orchestra reached number four.[2] The Coasters released a version on their 1960 album, One by One.[3]

Jazz sessionography

As of July 2016, in jazz alone, "Moonglow" is credited for having been recorded 572 times — which includes studio sessions, unreleased masters, live performances, and radio transcriptions ... according to The Jazz Discography, a print and digital resource for jazz recordings. The 572 count does not include re-releases, which often far outnumbers the sessions.

Selected filmography[edit]

In the 1950s a medley of the song and George Duning's "Theme from Picnic," orchestrated by Johnny Warrington (1911–1978), became quite popular, especially in instrumental recordings by Morris Stoloff, conductor of the film version by the Columbia Pictures Orchestra. Duning wrote the film's theme to counterpoint "Moonglow." Stoloff's recording spent three weeks at number one on the U.S. Billboard, "Hot 100," and became a gold record.

Copyright history[edit]

Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 3 Musical Compositions, New Series, Library of Congress, Copyright Office

Original copyright
Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 3, Musical Compositions, New Series, Library of Congress, Copyright Office
Vol. 29 (1934), pg. 159
"Moon-glow," by Will Hudson
pianoforte copy
© January 16, 1934
Class E (published) 40428
New York: Exclusive Publications, Inc., 3943 (index no.)


  1. ^ Biographical sources for Will Hudson (né Arthur Murray Hainer; 8 March 1908 Grimsby, Ontario – 16 July 1981 Isle of Palms, South Carolina) often incorrectly state that he was born in Barstow, California. He changed his name sometime between 1931 and 1933 — after his marriage to Eleanor Radtke (born 1912) in Detroit on August 15, 1931, and before his compositions were copyrighted under his new name. (see citation for Naturalization Petition)


Inline citations for Will Hudson
  1. ^ Oxford Music Online, "Will Hudson" OCLC 5104909244
    The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Barry Dean Kernfeld & Stanley Sadie (eds.)
    1st ed. (Hudson in Vol. 1 of 2), Macmillan (1988); OCLC 16804283
    1st ed. (Vols. 1 & 2 combined), St. Martin's Press (1994); OCLC 30516743, 317410406
    2nd ed. (Hudson in Vol. 2 of 3), Macmillan (2001); OCLC 46956628, 232175971
  2. ^ Tin Pan Alley: An Encyclopedia of the Golden Age of American Song, by David Alan Jasen (born 1937), Routledge (2003); OCLC 51631299
  3. ^ "Will Hudson," Petition N° 375689, sworn and filed April 14, 1941, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
    Record access: New York, Naturalization Records, 1882–1944 (Rolls 1293-1326), Petition N°s 367936 - 381643 (Roll 1313); Petition N°s 375551–375900 (accessed April 29, 2016, via
  4. ^ ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, compiled by Jaques Cattell Press, New York: R.R. Bowker
        3rd ed. (1966); OCLC 598257, 604233677
        4th ed. (1980); OCLC 7065938, 10721505
  5. ^ Biographical Dictionary of American Music, by Charles Eugene Claghorn (1911–2005), West Nyack, New York: Parker Publishing Co. (1973); OCLC 609781
  6. ^ Biographical Dictionary of Jazz, by Charles Eugene Claghorn (1911–2005), Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (1982); OCLC 8626853
  7. ^ Biography Index, H.W. Wilson Co.; ISSN 0006-3053
        Vol. 9: Sep. 1970–Aug. 1976 (1973); OCLC 24559910
        Vol. 12: Sep. 1980–Aug. 1981 (1982); OCLC 31441161
  8. ^ Who's Who of Jazz: Storyville to Swing Street, by John Chilton, Chilton Company (1972); OCLC 278739
  9. ^ The Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz, 1900–1950 (Hudson's bio in Vol. 2 of 4), by Roger D. Kinkle (1916–2000), New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House Publishers, 1974 OCLC 897890
  10. ^ The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (3rd ed.) (Hudson in Vol. 4 of 8), Colin Larkin (ed.). London: Muze (1998)
  11. ^ The Oxford Companion to Popular Music, by Peter Gammond, Oxford University Press (1991); OCLC 22382241
  12. ^ The Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music: Composers and Their Music (Hudson in Vol. 1 of 3), by William H. Rehrig, Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press (1991); OCLC 24606813


General inline citations
  1. ^ "Moonglow (1934)," Jazz Standards Introduction: Origins, History, Theory, Musicology, Biographies, and Books, Portland, Oregon:, LLC, Jeremy Wilson (ed.) (retrieved April 29, 2016)
  2. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2002, by Joel Whitburn, Record Research (2011); OCLC 745433409
  3. ^ "The Coasters, One by One," by J. Poet, AllMusic (retrieved February 14, 2012)