“Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra (ft. Count Basie)

Simply put, Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” is centered on the singer being deeply in love. And the title is a metaphor which is based on how he feels about his significant other. Or “fly me to the moon” is a fancy way of saying that being with his lover (i.e. the addressee of this song) makes him feel euphoric. 

And being that this highly-creative titular phrase is used to convey this reality, the vocalist operates under this motif for the entire first verse by referencing celestial bodies in relation to his romance. But the latter parts of the song are more down-to-earth. That is he gets specific in breaking down how he feels about this lady. For instance, he enjoys holding her hand and kissing her. And his heart is ‘so filled with song’ that he even goes on to exclaim that he ‘worships and adores’ her. And in light of all of this, he very much desires for her to “be true”, as in remain faithful to their relationship. 

So eventually the song concludes with him simply exclaiming “I love you”, which is the consistent sentiment the lyrics of this song never deviate from.

Lyrics of "Fly Me to the Moon"

Facts about “Fly Me to the Moon”

This song was written by early 20th century composer Bart Howard (1915-2004). It was originally entitled “In Other Words”.

The first artist known to have recorded it is Kaye Ballard (1925-2019). She did so in 1954, the same year that Bart Howard wrote it.

Over the next few years, leading up to Frank Sinatra’s rendition, it is believed that “Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)” had been covered and recorded at least 100 times. And it is known to have been done so by the likes of Eydie Gormé, Peggy Lee, Johnny Mathis and Nancy Wilson.

Moreover music composer Joe Harnell (1924-2005) actually won a Grammy for his version of the song in 1962.     

By this time, fans of the tune began referring to it themselves as “Fly Me to the Moon”. And at the behest of Peggy Lee, Bart Howard made the moniker official in 1963.

Frank Sinatra’s (1915-1988) take on “Fly Me to the Moon”, alongside Count Basie (1904-1984), is actually the most-famous version of all.

This song came out during August of 1964 as part of Sinatra’s “It Might as Well Be Swing” album. It featured Count Basie (as well as his orchestra) throughout.

The track was arranged by legendary music producer Quincy Jones.  In fact Mr. Jones worked alongside Count Basie just the year prior on Basie’s own personal rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon”.

“Fly Me to the Moon” (in acknowledgement to Bart Howard) was honored with an induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999.

Apollo Space Program’s Unofficial Song

Sinatra’s version of “Fly Me to the Moon” has been adopted as the unofficial song of the Apollo space program, which centered on NASA’s goal to make America the first country to send astronauts to the moon. Accordingly this song has gone down is history as being amongst those which were first listened to in space.

4 Responses

  1. GT says:

    This is the best song ever and I love the music that he made and this is why I’m a comment

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s very interesting, because when the song was written (1954), the Apollo Space Program’s hadn’t started yet.

    • SMF says:

      If you read the article carefully, you’d realize that the writer never stated anywhere that the song was inspired by the Apollo Space Program. The writer said the song was eventually adopted by the said space program as their unofficial song.

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