Elvis Presley – Blue Moon Of Kentucky

In 1954 Elvis, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black recorded this song as the B side to “That’s All Right Mama.” Presley’s recording became the best-known version of the song and is an early example of what was to become known as Rockabilly, a combination of Blues and Country together with an uptempo beat.

Bill Monroe wrote this song in 1946 and recorded the first version of the song playing mandolin and backed by his band the Blue Grass Boys. After the Presley version was released Monroe recut the song and added both styles to it.

Elvis Presley got an invite to the Grand Ole Opry soon after this and he was fearful of Monroe’s reaction to his version of the song, he sought out the older Opry star backstage and apologized to him for taking such liberties. Monroe reacted with generosity…Monroe later admitted Presley’s version of “Blue Moon of Kentucky” gave him very big songwriters royalty checks.

 

From Songfacts

Monroe, who died in 1996, was one of the most famous Bluegrass musicians of all time (the name “Bluegrass” is derived from his backing band – “The Blue Grass Boys”). Kentucky is his home state, and in this song, he is heartbroken over a girl who left him but wishes her well.

Elvis Presley recorded this as the B-side to “That’s All Right (Mama)” in 1954. It was his first single with Sun Records, recorded during his second Sun session on July 6, 1954. Over the years, Presley recorded many uptempo songs with heartbreaking lyrics – a good example is “I Gotta Know.” 

The state of Kentucky made this their official bluegrass song.

Other artists who covered this include Paul McCartney, Carl Perkins, Ray Charles and LeAnn Rimes. Al Kooper recorded it on his debut solo album I Stand Alone. This is the album with Al’s face inserted over a photo of the Statue of Liberty – and remember, there was no Photoshop in 1968! Kooper’s cover was ill-fated; right about this time was when his former Blood Sweat & Tears bandmates started saying negative things about him in the press. As he puts it in Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards, “They depicted me as some demonic egomaniac with whips and chains who kept them all in cages.” The press had never had anything to characterize Al Kooper by up until this point, so they latched onto this. The Statue-of-Liberty photo hacking didn’t help.

I had to include a funny version from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

Blue Moon of Kentucky

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.

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

6 thoughts on “Elvis Presley – Blue Moon Of Kentucky”

  1. If Elvis had retired from music to become a truck driver or a preacher or whatever after recording his sessions at Sun- he would still have been a legend- the Robert Johnson of rock and roll. Those are his greatest recordings IMO. He sure transforms “Blue Moon Of Kentucky.”

    Liked by 3 people

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