Shine On, Harvest Moon
|"Shine on, Harvest Moon"|
Cover, sheet music, 1908
"Shine on, Harvest Moon" is a popular early-1900s song credited to the married vaudeville team Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth. It was one of a series of Moon-related Tin Pan Alley songs of the era. The song was debuted by Bayes and Norworth in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1908 to great acclaim. It became a pop standard, and continues to be performed and recorded even in the 21st century.
During the vaudeville era, songs were often sold outright, and the purchaser would be credited as the songwriter. John Kenrick's Who's Who In Musicals credits the song's actual writers as Edward Madden and Gus Edwards. However, David Ewen's All the Years of American Popular Music credits Dave Stamper, who contributed songs to 21 editions of the Ziegfeld Follies and was Bayes' pianist from 1903 to 1908. Vaudeville comic Eddie Cantor also credited Stamper in his 1934 book Ziegfeld - The Great Glorifier.
The earliest commercially successful recordings were made in 1909 by Harry Macdonough and Elise Stevenson (Victor 16259), Ada Jones and Billy Murray (Edison 10134), Frank Stanley and Henry Burr (Indestructable 1075), and Bob Roberts (Columbia 668).
The night was mighty dark so you could hardly see,
For the moon refused to shine.
Couple sitting underneath a willow tree,
For love they did pine.
Little maid was kinda 'fraid of darkness
So she said, "I guess I'll go."
Boy began to sigh, looked up at the sky,
And told the moon his little tale of woe
Oh, Shine on, shine on, harvest moon
Up in the sky;
I ain't had no lovin'
Since April, January, June or July.
Snow time, ain't no time to stay
Outdoors and spoon;
So shine on, shine on, harvest moon,
For me and my gal.
Note: The months in the chorus have been sung in different orders.
The Ada Jones and Billy Murray recording linked on this article has it as April, January, Ju-u-une or July. 
I can't see why a boy should sigh when by his side
Is the girl he loves so true,
All he has to say is: "Won't you be my bride,
For I love you?
I can't see why I'm telling you this secret,
When I know that you can guess."
Harvest moon will smile,
Shine on all the while,
If the little girl should answer "yes."
Film and television connections
The song has had a long history with Hollywood movies. In 1932, animation great Dave Fleischer directed a short titled Shine on Harvest Moon. A 1938 Roy Rogers western was named after the song, as was a 1944 biographical film about Bayes and Norworth.
The song has been featured in dozens of movies, including Along Came Ruth (1933) and The Great Ziegfeld (1936). Laurel and Hardy performed a song-and-dance routine (Hardy singing and both dancing) to the song in their 1939 RKO film The Flying Deuces. The song was also featured in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), The Eddy Duchin Story (1956), and Pennies from Heaven (1978). There was also a popular British 1980s comedy drama called Shine on Harvey Moon. The song was featured in the 2013 video game BioShock Infinite. It was referenced by Don Rickles in the 1971 Friars Club roast of Jerry Lewis when he said, "Just hope and pray, Shine on Harvest Moon they know." And Gidney and Cloyd the moon creatures performed the first line of the refrain on an episode of Rocky and his Friends in 1959-60.
- 1931 – Art Gillham's recording of the song for Columbia was praised by Walter Winchell
- 1931 – Ruth Etting revived the song in the Ziegfeld Follies
- 1933 – Kate Smith
- 1939 – Laurel and Hardy perform it in their film The Flying Deuces
- 1949 – Vaughn Monroe on Victor 1705
- 1950 – Chordettes on Columbia LP 6111 "Harmony Time"
- 1951 – Jerry Gray and his orchestra (recorded August 24, Decca Records catalog number 27868)
- 1954 – John Serry Sr. and his accordion ensemble for RCA Thesaurus
- 1955 – Four Aces "B" side to their #1 hit "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing"
- 1955 – Moon Mullican performed the song live
- 1957 – Bonnie Guitar on Dot LP 25069 "Moonlight And Shadows"
- 1957 – Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster both perform sax in a nearly five-minute jazz version on the album Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster
- 1958 – Mitch Miller recorded it in a medley with "For Me and My Gal" on the album More Sing Along With Mitch
- 1958 – William Frawley, who portrayed Fred Mertz on I Love Lucy, recorded the song as part of his LP homage to Vaudeville, Bill Frawley Sings the Old Ones
- 1958 – Billy Vaughn on Dot LP 25156 "Billy Vaughn Plays"
- 1960 – Jaye P. Morgan on MGM 12924
- 1960 – Teresa Brewer on Coral LP 57329 Naughty Naughty Naughty
- 1960 – Rosemary Clooney
- 1962 – Platters
- 1963 – Nino Tempo and April Stevens on Atco LP 156 "Deep Purple"
- 1964 – Allan Sherman parodied the song as "Shine on, Harvey Bloom" on his album For Swingin' Livers Only!
- 1965 – Mance Lipscomb recorded the song live for Arhoolie Records on Texas Songster in a Live Performance
- 1976 – Leon Redbone recorded the song for his album Double Time
- 1989 – Eight-year-old Britney Spears sang a rendition of the song in her video audition for the Mickey Mouse Club.
- 1992 – Kirsten Cooke and Arthur Bostrom perform it as the characters Michelle Dubois and Officer Crabtree in the sitcom 'Allo 'Allo! (Season 8 Episode 7). Carmen Silvera as Madame Edith also sings the number during the closing credits of the same episode.
- 2005 – Bobby Bare recorded the song as part of his album The Moon was Blue
- 2007 – Marah recorded the song for their EP, Can't Take It with You
- 2012 – Lon Milo DuQuette recorded it along with 11 originals on Baba Lon II
- Ewen, David (1977). All the Years of American Popular Music. Prentice Hall. p. 189. ISBN 0-13-022442-1.
- Cantor, Eddie; David Freedman (1934). Ziegfeld, The Great Glorifier. A.H. King. p. 78.
- Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954: The History of American Popular Music. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. p. 578. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
- Herder, Ronald (1998). 500 best-loved song lyrics. Courier Dover Publications. p. 315. ISBN 978-0-486-29725-5. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- Decca Records in the 27500 to 27999 series