When was it recorded? Dec. 2, 1963
When was it first released, and on which album? Nov. 21, 1995 on “Anthology 1”
Who wrote it? Edward Madden and Percy Wenrich
Have I heard this song before? Just the original
What my research dug up:
I’m not sure how applicable the original version of “Moonlight Bay” is (and you’ll see why in a minute), but let’s discuss it anyway. Background is important, yo. [I’m aware neither of those sentences are grammatically correct, but I’m beyond caring right now.]
“Moonlight Bay,” or “On Moonlight Bay,” is a popular song written by Edward Madden (lyrics) and Percy Wenrich (music). It was first published in 1912, and Billy Murray and the American Quartet recorded the first well-known version of it in 1913.
The Beatles’ version is actually a spoof of the original song.
On Dec. 2, 1963, the Beatles appeared on “Morecambe and Wise” to perform “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “This Boy.” Now being the ignorant American I am, I had to do some research on Morecambe and Wise, and apparently I am missing out.
Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise were a British comedic duo. They worked together from 1941 until 1984 (when Morecambe died) and worked on a variety of mediums. You name it, they had a show on it. They were most successful on television though.
Quoth Wikipedia, “In a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes… ‘The Morecambe and Wise Show’ was placed 14th. In September 2006, they were voted by the general [British] public as #2 in a poll of TV’s Greatest Stars,” and both were knighted in 1976. That’s a pretty important thing for me to be missing out on.
Anyway, Morecambe and Wise got in on the act with the Beatles for “Moonlight Bay.” The parody appeared on “Anthology 1” in 1995. Here’s how it slotted into their TV performance.
Alas, poor Bongo.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been drinking, but I can’t stop laughing. That was amazing (as you can tell by the absolutely no indicators in my writing voice). Just the audio on “Anthology” is kind of underwhelming — I needed that video to make it as side-stitch-inducing as possible.