Harvest Moon Will Smile, Shine On All the While

This weekend those of us in the northern hemisphere will be able to check out the Harvest Moon on September 29-30, 2012. The Harvest Moon is the full moon that falls closest to the autumnal equinox and gained its name because in the days before electricity, the moon aided farmers harvesting when the sun was not up. What mainly distinguishes the Harvest Moon from other moons is that this time of year there is less time between successive moonrises than usual. For more information on the Harvest Moon and its special appearance, check out the EarthSky website. If you prefer the 45-second video version, check out this video:

The Harvest Moon is also responsible for inspiring a classic Tin Pan Alley song from the early 1900s. There is some dispute about the song’s authors, but “Shine On, Harvest Moon” was originally credited to the couple of Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth, who were married at the time they wrote the song but later divorced. Both Bayes and Norworth had other successes, including that Norworth wrote the lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” but during their lives they were probably most famous for “Shine On, Harvest Moon.”

The song has been performed by a number of artists on TV and in film, including an appearance in the 1944 film Shine On, Harvest Moon, as well as on an episode of The Mickey Mouse Club by a young Britney Spears. Johnny Cash sang it with Emmylou Harris on TV too. My favorite performance, though, is by Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, who always lit up the screen during one of their musical performances. Check out Laurel & Hardy singing “Shine On, Harvest Moon” below from the film The Flying Deuces (1939).

Here is wishing you a good weekend as the Harvest Moon shines down on you.

Will you check out the Harvest Moon this weekend? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • Laurel and Hardy on Film In the 1950s
  • Johnny Cash’s Concerts at San Quentin
  • Best Gospel Songs by Pop Stars (Part 5): Cash & Byrds
  • Merle Haggard, The Impressionist
  • Johnny Cash Imitating Elvis
  • “Ranch Party” With Johnny Cash & Patsy Cline