Vaudeville star wrote enduring hit "Shine On Harvest Moon"
His "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was SHOF Towering Song in 2008
In 1908, Jack Norworth wrote the lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” while riding a New York City subway train. He had spotted a sign that said "Ballgame Today at the Polo Grounds" and baseball-related lyrics started popping into his head. He took the lyrics to composer Albert Von Tilzer and the product was to become the well known baseball song. Ironically, neither Norworth or Tilzer had ever been to a baseball game at the time the song was written, but it became the second most widely sung song in America (second only to the National Anthem) and a #1 hit in 1908 for Billy Murray and Haydn Quartet.
Norworth was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 5, 1879. In his early career, Norworth first appeared on stage in vaudeville acts as a blackface comedian and later appeared in Broadway musicals including The Great White Way, Ziegfeld Follies of 1909, The Jolly Bachelors, Little Miss Fix-It, Roly-Poly and Odds and Ends.
Touring throughout the US, Norworth was most notably known as an actor and singer, performing mainly with his wife Nora Bayes. However, he also wrote several songs intended for vaudeville shows such as Little Miss Fix-It, The Jolly Bachelors, and Ziegfeld Follies.
Highlights from the Jack Norworth catalog include “Shine on Harvest Moon”, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (written by Albert Von Tilzer), “Good Evening, Caroline”, “Smarty”, “Honey Boy”, “Over on the Jersey Side”, “Meet Me In Apple Blossom Time”, “Come Along, My Mandy”, “O How He Could Sing an Irish Song”, “Dear Dolly”, “Kitty” and “Since My Mother Was a Girl”.
Jack Norworth died in Laguna Beach, California on September 1, 1959.