"Polka Dots and Moonbeams" is a popular song with music by Jimmy Van Heusen and lyrics by Johnny Burke, published in 1940. It was Frank Sinatra's first hit recorded with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. The song is one of the top 100 most-frequently recorded jazz standards with arrangements by Gil Evans and others and notable recordings by Bill Evans, Blue Mitchell,[1] Wes Montgomery, Sarah Vaughan (for the 1954 album Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown, and the 1957 album Swingin' Easy), Bud Powell, Lester Young, Gerry Mulligan, Lou Donaldson, Dexter Gordon and many others[2] American songwriter and guitarist John Denver also covered the song on his 1976 Spirit album. Bob Dylan covered this song in his 2016 album Fallen Angels.

The song has a notable lyric: the man discovers love at a country dance by accidentally bumping into a woman who has a pug nose. The others at the dance are looking strange at this, since her nose makes her someone they wouldn't think romantically about. But he has the last laugh: she becomes the love of his life, and he settles down with her.

During the song's first year, a fashion designer even created a "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" fabric print as part of a series of prints inspired by popular music.[3]


  1. ^ Dave Gregg. "Off the record" (music review column), Joplin Globe (Joplin, MO), May 21, 1967, Showtime magazine section, page 9: "... Blue can play with tenderness without slopping over into mawkish sentimentality. Just listen to his treatment of the gorgeous ballad, 'Polka Dots and Moonbeams.' " .
  2. ^ "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" at jazzstandards.com. Accessed 2009 January.
  3. ^ (No author.) "Song hit dress patterns for music as you walk," Winnipeg Free Press, June 22, 1940, Magazine section, page 8. Accessed June 27, 2013.