October 2019 - "Shine On Harvest Moon"


“Shine on Harvest Moon” was written by Jack Norworth and his then wife, Nora Bayes, during a time when they both were vaudeville performers in New York City. The song was originally written for one of the Ziegfield Follies productions in 1908. He and Nora later performed this song, both together and separately, in Broadway theatre, and on early radio. The song was published by Harry Von Tilzer in 1918, selling nearly 1 million copies.

Jack Norworth is most well known for "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", but “Shine on Harvest Moon” was his most popular. There is some question as to whether Jack and Nora actually wrote the song themselves, and there is some evidence that at least the chorus was actually composed by a man named Dave Stamper, a pianist who worked with the couple in vaudeville. Jack and Nora divorced in 1912, but both went on to have very successful careers. A movie about the life of Jack Norworth released in 1944 was titled "Shine On Harvest Moon".

The song has been recorded countless times by many of America's most noted celebrities, starting with a woman named Ruth Etting, aka "America's Sweetheart", a popular vaudeville performer. It has also been performed and recorded by Laurel & Hardy, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Liza Minelli, Roy Rogers, Leon Redbone, Britney Spears, and more.

Here's a link to a YouTube video of the song being performed by Leon Redbone:

Tin Pan Alley songs almost always had both verses and a chorus, but it is usually only the choruses that have survived the decades in pop culture. This arrangement includes both the verse and the chorus.

There are a couple of accidentals in the tune, but those can be accommodated on the mountain dulcimer by playing it in the key of G, and using both the 6 and 6+ frets. This version does not require the use of a capo. I've also provided a second version of the tune that makes use of the 1+ fret.

Tull Glazener