To begin with, “Moonlight Bay” is a Beatles’ cover song on their “Anthology 1” album from 1995. They sang it while appearing on the Morecambe and Wise TV show, “Two Of A Kind”.
Recorded: 2nd December, 1963
Studio: ATV Studios in Borehamwood, London
Songwriters: Edward Madden (lyrics), Percy Wenrich (music)
Track Duration: 0:50
Producer: Terry Henebery
Ringo Starr: drums
Eric Morecambe, Ernie Wise: vocals
Kenny Powell: piano
This song dates back to 1912 but many artists recorded it. For example, Glenn Miller and his Orchestra (1937), Alice Faye (from the 1940 film, Tin Pan Alley), also in the same year, The Mills Brothers. It also features in some early cartoons such as the first Daffy Duck cartoon, “Porky’s Duck Hunt” from 1937.
Doris Day also sang it in the 1951 musical film “On Moonlight Bay” and it was on her album by the same name too. Also in 1951, Bing Crosby and his son, Gary, reached number 14 in the American Billboard charts with it. Many others have recorded it too, so the song has quite a history.
The Beatles recording comes from their appearance on the 1963 TV show, “Two of a Kind” starring comedians, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. Both the presenters and the band are famous for their humour so it was always going to be a fun appearance.
Recording The Show
The Beatles appearance on ATV’s programme, “Two of a Kind” was on Saturday 18th April, 1964, at 8:25 PM (recorded on the 2nd December, 1963). On that show they sang, “This Boy“, “All My Loving” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” after which they teamed up with the hosts for two minutes of banter. Eric Morecambe deliberately calls Ringo Starr, “Bongo”.
The fun continued when The Beatles changed their trademark coats for a blazer and boater hat. Then they started to sing “Moonlight Bay” with Ernie Wise who dressed the same as The Beatles. Meanwhile, Eric Morecambe wore a moptop wig and a collarless coat and began adding his own lines to the song while prancing around:
Moonlight Bay Lyrics
We were strolling along (Morecambe – “Twist and Shout“)
On Moonlight Bay (Morecambe – “whooooo”)
We could hear the voices singing (Morecambe – “I like it, I like it” (while laughing))
You said you’d stay (Morecambe – “Keep up, Bongo”)
You have broken my heart (Morecambe – “oh, twist and shout”)
So go away (Morecambe – “Have the Beatles gone?”, Wise – “No, there here”)
With your short, fat hairy legs
On Moonlight Bay
On Moonlight Bay
Viewers had to wait until the 24th, 1965, for a repeat on “The Best Of Morecambe And Wise”. However, this version of the song now appears on The Beatles’ “Anthology 1” album from 1995.