EVERYONE KNOWS THE SONG

       ... NO ONE KNEW THE MAN

"Blue Moon," the classic American ballad that is one of the most universally recognized songs of the 20th century, is not what you think it is.

History tells us that it was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

In reality, "Blue Moon" was composed in 1931 by a 17-year-old, the son of Polish immigrants, after an evening of moonlit skating on a pond in upstate New York. This is the previously untold true story.

New York Times Article On Who Wrote Blue Moon
NY Times Interview On Blue Moon With Liz Roman Gallese

Blue Moon Classics

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Blue Moon. The Real Story.


Photo of Edward W. Roman with his ice skates

By Rodgers & Hart?  Not Really.

From the Memoir:

". . .the history of 'Blue Moon,' for all of its known convolutedness and remarkableness, actually begins earlier. Its unknown origins are even more remarkable and convoluted, and its agency lies at that very intersection of those final Hart lyrics being either his 'simplest or most banal.'”

". . .the lyrics. . .weren’t written by Hart, nor the melody by Rodgers. Rather the song was composed in 1931 by a 17-year-old, the son of Polish immigrants, in Troy, on the East bank of the Hudson River in upstate New York. His name was Edward W. Roman."

"I know because I am his daughter, and because I have always known this story. It was part of the family lore for all of my growing-up years, the source of whispers about 'that "Blue Moon" thing' among the adults. . .a matter of curiosity among the more curious of the youngsters, of which I was perhaps the most curious."

GO TO MEMOIR NOW

Photo of Edward W. Roman with his Desoto automobile

 

Ed, with the 1930 DeSoto,
possibly the car he bought with the settlement from “Blue Moon,” 1937.


Edward W. Roman. Other Songs.


Photo of Edward W. Roman in the mid-1930's.

Six Unknown Songs Discovered

From the Memoir:

"I've been asked by some to whom I've told this story if the composer of a song as iconic as 'Blue Moon' had written other songs. I hadn't been able to answer before going through the papers in the attic."

"But he had. A young club manager and aspiring songwriter, Henry R. Dutton—whose name I hadn't ever heard until slipping his letter to my father out of its envelope—proposed shortly after the article in The Knickerbocker Press appeared that they collaborate." 

"Two developed songs appear to have originated with Dutton, who had already copyrighted the music and lyrics for one entitled 'Am I Really in Love?'"

"His songwriting collaboration, along with other materials that emerge, speak to the broader point: that since writing 'Blue Moon' in 1931 through the settlement of the lawsuit in 1937, my father had been fully engaged in his artistic pursuits."

Blue Moon. The Lawsuit.


Newspaper article on the Copyright  infringement article against Rodgers and Hart for the song "Blue Moon"

Rodgers & Hart Lawsuit Settled?  Really.

From the Memoir:

"In The Knickerbocker Press article, there is a picture of my father, young and slim and serious and handsome, in his signature wireless glasses, and wearing a jacket and tie. He’s seated and holding a document with his attorney. . ."

“Uncle Dom. . .explained that my father had gotten 'chummy' with Chris after meeting my mother. Chris heard 'Blue Moon' on the radio, learned that it had already made $75,000 sheet music alone, and insisted that they sue."

"Dom said Richard Rodgers called my father with an offer to settle for $1,200, not the $900 I had thought as a child. I countered with the $900, and Dom said, no, the figure had been $1,200, two or three times what most people earned in a year in those days."

GO TO MEMOIR NOW


Selected Press Coverage of the Lawsuit

October 31, 1936 newspaper article talking about copyright infringement lawsuit against Rodgers and Hart
Newspaper articleon copyright infringement lawsuit by Edward W. Roman against Rodgers and Hart
1930's newspaper article talking about copyright infringement lawsuit against Rodgers and Hart by E. Stewart Jones
1930's newspaper article talking about copyright infringement lawsuit against Rodgers and Hart, Mohoney and Associates, Metro Goldwin-Meyer Corporation, and the robbins Music Corporation.