Fly Me to the Moon was introduced in 1954 by Felicia Sanders at the nightclub Blue Angel in New York. Shortly after, the song was first recorded by Kaye Ballard, released as B-side to Lazy Afternoon.
Originally titled In Other Words, Howard composed the song as a publisher’s request for a catchy and simple song, however, he refused to change the title to Take Me to the Moon. Howard once claimed that it took him “20 years to find out how to write a song in 20 minutes”.
Despite numerous recordings during the fifties by notable singers such as Johnny Mathis, Chris Connor, Nancy Wilson, Eydie Gormé and Peggy Lee, the popularity of the song increased rather slowly until late 1962 when Joe Harnell’s instrumental bossa nova version started climbing high on the Billboard charts and won a Grammy award the next year. Then, the song became a standard and Howard changed the song’s title officially to Fly Me to the Moon following Peggy Lee’s suggestion to choose this more memorable line from the refrain.
In 1964, Frank Sinatra recorded his famous rendition with Count Basie and his orchestra, arranged by Quincy Jones, which is widely considered as one of the definite versions of Fly Me to the Moon. In 1969, Sinatra’s recording was included in a collection of songs played during Apollo 10’s lunar mission while during Apollo 11’s mission, it became the first music ever to be heard on the moon when Buzz Aldrin played it on a portable cassette player when walking the moon.
In Brazil, the song was apparently first recorded by Carmen Costa in 1963, titled Em Outras Palavras with adapted lyrics by Don Madrid. The English lyrics were first recorded by Conjunto 3-D featuring bass player Carlos Monjardim aka Cacho on vocals and guest Dom Um Romão on drums.
Other notable versions are by Raul de Souza, Luiz Loy, Wilson das Neves, not to forget Sônia Rosa’s fine rendition recorded with Sadao Watanabe’s quartet after her move to Japan.
In 1970, Luiz Carlos Magno recorded Fly Me to the Moon with newly adapted lyrics by Rossini Pinto titled Leva-me Contigo.
Selected recordings of Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words):
1. Carmen Costa from the album Embaixatriz do Samba (1963, Copacabana CLP 11332)
2. Moacyr Silva from the album Sax Sensacional No. 5 (1964, Copacabana CLP 11392)
3. Conjunto 3-D from the album Tema 3-D (1964, RCA Victor BBL 1287)
4. Gaó from the album Gaó, Seu Piano e Orquestra (1964, Odeon MOFB 3391)
5. Raul de Souza from the album À Vontade Mesmo (1965, RCA Victor BBL 1307)
6. Luiz Loy from the album Luiz Loy Quinteto (1966, RGE XRLP 5301)
7. Orquestra Som-Bateau from the album Top Hits No. 2 (1966, Polydor LPNG 44.003)
8. Virgilio Expósito from the album Expósito 67 (1967, RCA Victor BBL 1400)
9. Wilson das Neves from the album Som Quente é os das Neves (1969, Polydor LPNG 44.036)
10. Os Sambacanas from the album Sucessos da Juventude em Tempo de Samba (1969, Som Maior SMLP 1582)
11. Luiz Carlos Magno from the album Amor de Estudante (1970, Epic/CBS 44062)
Selected medleys including Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words):
1. Orquestra Los Danseros from the album Los Danseros en Bolero (1964, Equipe EQ 801), reissued as Amor, Sonho e Bolero credited as Orquestra Don Camacho (1968, Spot 33001) and The Sound of the Night credited as The Midnight Orchestra (1968, Equipe EQC 852)
2. Zito Righi aka Bob Fleming from the album Bob Fleming Interpreta Boleros Vol. 3 (1965, Masterpiece Master 11039)
3. Primo Quinteto from the album Um Homem e uma Mulher (1970, Equipe EQC-833)
Selected recordings of Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words) originally not issued in Brazil:
1. Laurindo Almeida & The Bossa Nova All Stars from the album Ole! Bossa Nova! (1963, Capitol [USA] ST-1862)
2. Astrud Gilberto from the album The Shadow of Your Smile (1965, Verve Records [USA] V6-8629)
3. Rosana Tapajós and Breno Sauer Quarteto from the album Rozana (1966, Discos RVV [MEX] RVV 1107)
4. Sivuca from the album Bossa Nova (1968, Reprise Records [USA] 12.825)
5. Astrud Gilberto from the album Canta in Italiano (1968, Verve Records [ITA] SVL 52.015)
6. Sônia Rosa with Sadao Watanabe Quartet from the album Sensitive Sound of Sônia Rosa (1970, Express [JAP] VSCD-606)
Comparative recordings of Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words):
1. Kaye Ballard from the single Lazy Afternoon b/w In Other Words (1954, Decca [USA] 9-29114)
2. Joe Harnell from the single Fly Me to the Moon b/w Harlem Nocturne (1962, Kapp Records [USA] K-497X) and the album Fly Me to the Moon and the Bossa Nova Pops (1963, Kapp Records [USA] KL-1318)
3. Frank Sinatra and Count Basie from the album It Might as Well Be Spring (1964, Reprise [USA] FS-1012)
FLY ME TO THE MOON (IN OTHER WORDS)
Fly me to the moon • Let me play among the stars • Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars • In other words, hold my hand • In other words, baby, kiss me
Fill my heart with song • And let me sing forever more • You are all I long for • All I worship and adore • In other words, please be true • In other words, I love you
Fill my heart with song • Let me sing forever more • You are all I long for • All I worship and adore • In other words, please be true • In other words • In other words, I love you