Song Story: Fly Me to the Moon

Close your eyes and it’s not hard to hear Frank Sinatra singing, Fly Me to the Moon.

Fly Me to the Moon was originally titled In Other Words.

The song was written by Bart Howard in 1954.  Later that year, Kaye Ballard made the first recording of the song.

Howard, who had been pursuing music for over 20 years,  wrote the song at a publisher’s request for a simple song.  He wrote the song with the style of his idol, Cole Porter, in mind.

One publisher tried to make him change the lyrics “fly me to the moon” to “take me to the moon”.  However, Howard refused to do so.

In 1960, Peggy Lee recorded the song, which increased in popularity.  During this time the song became better known as “Fly Me to the Moon”.

In 1964, Frank Sinatra recorded his popular version, which became associated with the Apollo missions to the Moon. He first released the song on his 1964 album, It Might As Well Be Swing.

Bart Howard estimated that by the time Frank Sinatra covered the song in 1964, more than 100 other versions had been recorded.  Over 300 versions are now estimated to be recorded.

At the suggestion of a Broadway veteran, Tony Bennett began performing the song unamplified and without a microphone.  “Singing it loud and clear”.

The song was used in an episode of I Dream of Jeannie, the series WKRP in Cincinnati, performed on Sesame Street and on several film soundtracks, including Wall Street, Space Cowboys, Once Around and Bridget Jones’s Diary.

In 1999, the Songwriters Hall of Fame recorded the importance of the song and inducted it as a “Towering Song”.  This is an award described as  “…presented each year to the creators of an individual song that has influenced our culture in a unique way over many years.”