This Songwriter Lived 50 Years On the Income He Made From One Song

People today tend to attribute songs to the singers who make the songs famous. Unfortunately, great songwriters often take a place in the shadows. Such was the case with songwriter Bart Howard. One day in 1953, he sat down to write a new song with all the conventional imagery of love songs and had it finished in about 20 minutes. He named the song "In Other Words," but the first line of the chorus was "fly me to the moon." The publisher loved everything about the song except that first word of the chorus. “Fly,” he objected, is not a verb that takes a direct object. It’s not grammatical. He suggested replacing the word with “take” — "take me to the moon." Howard, however, insisted on leaving the line as he had written it and also opted to change the name of the song to "Fly Me To the Moon." In 1964, Frank Sinatra recorded the song, and it quickly soared to the top of the charts. The first moon landing took place a few years later on July 21, 1969, and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took along a cassette tape with four popular songs to play there, including "Fly Me To the Moon." Lest you think that Bart Howard got completely left out, the song made him so wealthy that he was able to live on the income from it for the rest of his life — a whopping 50 years from the day he wrote it until the day he died. That’s not a bad return on his investment.