- “Shine on, Harvest Moon” is a popular early-1900s song credited to the married vaudeville team Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth. It was one of a series of Moon-related Tin Pan Alley songs of the era. The song was debuted by Bayes and Norworth in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1908 to great acclaim. It became a pop standard and continues to be performed and recorded even in the 21st century.
During the vaudeville era, songs were often sold outright, and the purchaser would be credited as the songwriter. John Kenrick‘s Who’s Who In Musicals credits the song’s actual writers as Edward Madden and Gus Edwards. However, David Ewen’s All the Years of American Popular Music credits Dave Stamper, who contributed songs to 21 editions of the Ziegfeld Follies and was Bayes’ pianist from 1903 to 1908. Vaudeville comic Eddie Cantor also credited Stamper in his 1934 book Ziegfeld – The Great Glorifier.
The earliest commercially successful recordings were made in 1909 by Harry Macdonough and Elise Stevenson (Victor 16259), Ada Jones and Billy Murray (Edison 10134), Frank Stanley and Henry Burr (Indestructable 1075), and Bob Roberts (Columbia 668).
To hear the original 1908 recording from Edison Recordings click the link below.
Uploaded on Jan 1, 2009
- The night was mighty dark so you could hardly see,
- For the moon refused to shine.
- Couple sitting underneath a willow tree,
- For love they did pine.
- Little maid was kinda ‘fraid of darkness
- So she said, “I guess I’ll go.”
- Boy began to sigh, looked up at the sky,
- And told the moon his little tale of woe
- Oh, Shine on, shine on, harvest moon
- Up in the sky;
- I ain’t had no lovin’
- Since April, January, June or July.
- Snow time, ain’t no time to stay
- Outdoors and spoon;
- So shine on, shine on, harvest moon,
- For me and my gal.
Note: The months in the chorus have been sung in different orders.
The Ada Jones and Billy Murray recording linked on this article has it as April, January, Ju-u-une or July. 
- I can’t see why a boy should sigh when by his side
- Is the girl he loves so true,
- All he has to say is: “Won’t you be my bride,
- For I love you?
- I can’t see why I’m telling you this secret,
- When I know that you can guess.”
- Harvest moon will smile,
- Shine on all the while,
- If the little girl should answer “yes.”