James V. Monaco was an American of Italian heritage, who started out as a self-taught pianist, working the Chicago ragtime scene in the early part of the 20th century. He later became a prominent Tin Pan Alley composer and, later still, a multiple Oscar nominee.
In the mid-’20s, he collaborated with songwriter Edgar Leslie on one of the many underrated songs of the time, “Me and the Man in the Moon.” Defined by a beautiful melody, the song evokes a sense of romanticism, enhanced by its moonlit setting. Yet, its lyrics offer a bittersweet exploration of loneliness, a recurring theme in Leslie’s oeuvre.
Not much is known about what is possibly the earliest recording of “Me and the Man in the Moon,” credited to a dance band named The Ambassadors with Frank Sylvano, a popular silk-voiced crooner who also performed with the Frank Isham Orchestra. The song is in the public domain and, as such, has appeared in film, series and various content, often uncredited.
Like this article? Get more when you subscribe.