Bart Howard Wrote "Fly Me to the Moon" for His Gay Partner — a Fan Shows How Their Love Transcends Death

Composer Bart Howard is best remembered for his jazz hit Fly Me to the Moon, written for his gay lover. A TikToker shows their love transcends death.

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Sep. 19 2023, Published 1:26 p.m. ET

It's a love song that transcends the ages. It works as a slow-moving ballad from Tony Bennett, a swinging jazz number by Frank Sinatra, a smooth lo-fi beat by Hikaru Utada, a bossa nova credits song in Neon Genesis Evangelion, and even a sexy and stylish high-octane battle theme in the Bayonetta game series.

Of course, I'm talking about "Fly Me to the Moon."

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Since it was originally composed, "Fly Me to the Moon" remains one of the most definitive and memorable jazz hits in all of music history. The song has been covered for decades and has been featured in several shows and movies, and was even closely associated with the United States moon landing in 1964.

However, it might surprise you to know that Bart Howard's popular song was written as a tribute to his gay lover. And as one person on TikTok pointed out, their love is as immortal as the song itself.

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Bart Howard's "Fly Me to the Moon" was originally written for his romantic partner.

"Fly Me to the Moon" was originally composed by Bart Howard in 1954. Though he composed many other songs since its original release, he was reportedly able to live off the song for decades up until his death.

In a 1988 interview with The New York Times, Bart revealed that he'd been struggling to write songs and break into the music industry for two decades before eventually coming up with the song that would change his life.

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"It took me 20 years to find out how to write a song in 20 minutes," he would joke to the publication.

The song was originally performed by singer Kaye Ballard. It has since been covered by several notable jazz musicians.

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But while you've probably heard the song at least a couple of times in your life, you might be surprised to know that Bart originally wrote the song for his gay lover, Thomas "Bud" Fowler. A TikToker named Samantha (@infratran) even pointed out that the two of them remain together even in death.

A TikToker found Bart Howard's and Bud Fowler's resting place in her hometown.

Not much is known about Thomas "Bud" Fowler, save for that he was born in September of 1919. What we do know, though, is that he and Bart cared deeply for each other, especially given that Bart wrote one of the most transcendent love songs in all of jazz history for him.

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To that end, Samantha on TikTok took it upon herself to pay the two of them tribute. In her short TikTok, she explained that Bart and Bud were "lifelong companions and effectively husbands."

Upon discovering that Bart was buried in "the middle of nowhere, Texas," Samantha — as a Texas local — decided to track down his grave.

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She spent a half-hour wandering a cemetery in search of Bart's headstone.

"I figured he'd be buried by himself," Samantha explained in her TikTok.

What she found, however, was something far more bittersweet and romantic.

Samantha came to discover that Bart and Bud's remains were buried in the same grave together. Bart passed away in February of 2004 and Bud followed sometime after in July of 2007. On their shared tombstone, it reads "Companions."

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Having grown up obsessed with this song and all of its iterations, I became known among my family as a "Fly Me to the Moon" fangirl. It's always been a favorite of mine and I take just about any opportunity at family gatherings to sing it for everyone. Just when I thought I couldn't love it any more than I already do, knowing that this immortal love song is essentially a gay love letter written between two men speaks to my queer heart on so many levels.

Against all odds, "Fly Me to the Moon" isn't just a quintessential love song for the ages that speaks to everyone. It's a testament to the ever-lasting love between two men who are now forever playing among the stars and seeing what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars.

In other words, this song rules.

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