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Blue Moon of Kentucky

Elvis Presley Lyrics Words & Music by Bill Monroe Elvis Presley Lyrics

Bill Monroe's bluegrass waltz, 'Blue Moon of Kentucky', got the Sun Studio treatment by Elvis and his band.

If you listen to the original version of 'Blue Moon of Kentucky', recorded by Bill Monroe in 1947, you might notice it's pretty different from Elvis' version.

Monroe, known as the Father of Bluegrass, wrote and recorded the original version of 'Blue Moon', and it's a sad song about heartbreak.

Elvis' version is sad, too, but it has a much faster tempo, so the bluegrass tune is turned into a toe-tapping rockabilly song. Elvis recorded the track with Bill Black and Scotty Moore on July 6, 1954, as a flip side for 'That's All Right'. The guys were trying to find a perfect song to accompany 'That's All Right', when Bill started playing around with the song in the studio. Elvis and Scotty liked what he was doing and joined in, and Sam Phillips pressed the record button. The guys recorded both slow and fast versions, but it's the up-tempo version that's on the flip side to 'That's All Right'.

Many artists have covered 'Blue Moon of Kentucky', including Paul McCartney, Patsy Cline, Alan Jackson and Ralph Stanley.

Blue moon, blue moon, blue moon,
keep shining bright.
Blue moon, keep on shining bright,
You're gonna bring me back my baby tonight,
Blue moon, keep shining bright.

I said blue moon of Kentucky
keep on shining,
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue.
I said blue moon of Kentucky
keep on shining,
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue.

Well, it was on one moonlight night,
Stars shining bright,
Wish blown high
Love said good-bye.

Blue moon of Kentucky
Keep on shining.
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue.

Well, I said blue moon of Kentucky
Just keep on shining.
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue.
I said blue moon of Kentucky
keep on shining.
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue.

Well, it was on one moonlight night,
Stars shining bright,
Wish blown high
Love said good-bye.

Blue moon of Kentucky
Keep on shining.
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue.

Recorded: 1954/07, first released on single

July 9, 1954 Sun Studio - Memphis, Tennessee

While the exact date of the session that produced the B-side for Elvis' first record is not known, the urgent need for a second side is re emphasized by the sensation that 'That's All Right' being played on Dewey's show has created. Some sources date it as July 6, some July 9 which makes more sense.

Blue Moon of Kentucky F2WB 8041-NA

July 11, Jerry Schilling joins five older boys in a touch football game at the invitation of Red West.

Jerry Schilling: 'The first time I heard Elvis was in the second week of July 1954. That Sunday, July 11, 1954, I go over to my local playground in North Memphis — a very poor neighborhood. There were five older boys in and out of high school trying to get up a football game. That's how unpopular Elvis Presley was at that point. Elvis was just starting out, and nobody knew who he was yet'.

Jerry Schilling : 'Red West , a friend of my older brother's, knew I played grade school football. He said, 'Jerry, do you want to play with us?' Little kids love to play with the big guys, so, of course, I said, 'Sure'. We get in the huddle, and I swear to God I saw the other guy and said [To myself], 'That's the boy from Hume High that sang that song I just heard on the radio'. His name was never mentioned'.

Jerry Schilling : We can never forget that rock and roll was born out of segregation. It was dangerous for us to go down to Beale Street to buy our records. Our parents would have grounded us forever if they found out. It was a totally segregated society. Beale Street was black. Main Street was white. In the middle of all of that, Dewey Phillips played a record called 'That's All Right Mama' by a boy from Humes High School. He had to say Humes High School, because the audience would then know that he was white. Dewey played predominately black music. When 'That's All Right Mama' came on the radio, it was so exciting.

It rolled it into something to be a part of. Interview with Jerry Schilling

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