"Shine On, Harvest Moon"
Cover, sheet music, 1908
Composer(s)Nora Bayes
Lyricist(s)Jack Norworth

"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 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 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.[1] Vaudeville comic Eddie Cantor also credited Stamper in his 1934 book Ziegfeld - The Great Glorifier.[2]

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).[3]


First verse

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.[4]

Flanagan and Allen, Moon Mullican, Mitch Miller and Leon Redbone used January, February, June or July.

Oliver Hardy, in his rendition from The Flying Deuces, used January, April, June or July.

Second verse

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."

(repeat chorus)

Film and television connections

The song has had a long history with Hollywood movies. In 1932, Dave Fleischer directed an animated 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." In the 1952 I Love Lucy episode The Benefit, the song is referenced and the chorus is sung. 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, but sang "Shine on Harvest Earth". The song was also sung in the pilot episode of the Cartoon Network miniseries Over the Garden Wall. The Backyardigans episode "The Key to the Nile" featured a song called "Please and Thank You" to the tune of this song.

Other recordings



  1. ^ Ewen, David (1977). All the Years of American Popular Music. Prentice Hall. p. 189. ISBN 0-13-022442-1.
  2. ^ Cantor, Eddie; David Freedman (1934). Ziegfeld, The Great Glorifier. A.H. King. p. 78.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Herder, Ronald (1998). 500 best-loved song lyrics. Courier Dover Publications. p. 315. ISBN 978-0-486-29725-5. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  5. ^ "The Online Discographical Project". 78discography.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  6. ^ "The Online Discographical Project". 78discography.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  7. ^ Decca Records in the 27500 to 27999 series
  8. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  9. ^ "allmusic.com". allmusic.com. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  10. ^ "discogs.com". discogs.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.