While working on this series of moon songs, I came across Moon Love. Although a huge Sinatra fan, I’d not heard this song before. I’m so glad I came across the song.
The song was based on Tchaikovsky’s Souvenier d’un lieu cher for violin and piano from 1878. The song is said to start life as a theme for French horn in the second movement of Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony.
Tchaikovsky’ felt the 5th Symphony was a failure, although in just a few years it would become a huge hit.
Andre Kostelanetz, a Russian who immigrated to the United States, began to turn Tchaikovsky’s songs into Tin Pan Alley friendly renditions. He was assisted by two other songwriters, Mack David and Mack Davis.
Mack David, Mack Davis and Andre Kostelanetz came up with the idea for “Moon Love”.
The song was recorded by Glenn Miller’s orchestra, Paul Whiteman and other big names. Ray Eberle took the song to #1 in July 1939.
Sinatra first recorded Moon Love in 1939 with Harry James. He recorded the song again in 1966 for his album Moonlight Sinatra.
Sinatra version digs deep into the classical inclinations and reconnects Moon Love with Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.
Nancy Sinatra is said to consider this one of her father’s best recordings.