Friday, 23 January 2009

The moon in music

There's a full-moon over this ancient town... Little darling let's walk, let's talk, under the moon of love... Moon river, wider than a mile... Under blue moon I saw you... Mr Moonlight, come again please...

The moon in music. It's a massive subject. From Dvorak's gentle, lilting "Song to the Moon" to Toploader's and Thin Lizzy's different takes on what "Dancing in the Moonlight" should look like (one thing's for certain, you must have frizzy hair to do it), our lunar relation has infiltrated our music. And often successfully, I should add.


I've borrowed the lyrics above from various songs - but music that means something to me. These aren't random, Googled, keyword links, they're songs that jumped around my head while staring at tonight's sparkling sky. Like with literature, folklore, hunting, fishing, smuggling, let's just say everything, the moon has a promiscuous relationship with popular music.

"The House" (Razorlight)

Jonny and his scruffy band mates attract criticism whatever they do. The first review I saw of this song read something like...
Trying to be the new Queen, arrogant Borrell and friends think they are mixing pop, rock and glam like nobody has before - but they're not, and this song in particular is screeched as Borrell confuses emotion for the limits of his voice.

I quite like it. And I was intrigued by the first line. "There's a full-moon over this ancient town". Johnny ("Borrell" seems disparaging now) wrote "The House" about his late father. He heightens pathos with an opening line that conjures the night, dead and lonely; and a steady, plodding piano chord pattern that takes us inevitably from beginning, through middle to end, from birth to death. I thought the boy had done quite well. He'd used the moon's association with fear, isolation and distance to convey his heartbreak at losing his dad.

Either that or he'd wanted to sing "There's a baboon over this ancient town" - playing on the King Kong/Fay Wray image we all recognise - but the record company weren't so keen.

Music needs the moon like Earth needs the moon. Listen out for moon references in songs you hear and feel free to add your own (your own finds; not your own lyrics as that would just be silly).


I'd like to thank the following artists as I'm sure if I'd asked them if I could use part of their lyric on my blog they would've said 'yes'. If not, shame on them. And please.

"Under the Moon of Love", Showaddywaddy
"Moon River", Mercer and Mancini
"The Killing Moon", Echo and the Bunnymen
"Mr Moonlight", Roy Lee Johnson
(as ordered above)

3 comments:

Sam said...

The first song that came to my mind was Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
The opening verse:

"It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark,
Under the moonlight, you see a sight that almost stops your heart.
You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it,
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes,
You're paralyzed..."

Then the chorus kicks in!

Also; Moonchild by Iron Maiden, mainly for this part of the song!

"Moonchild - hear the mandrake scream,
Moonchild - open the seventh seal,
Moonchild - you’ll be mine soon child,
Moonchild - take my hand tonight".

The song is based on the book "Moonchild" by Aleister Crowley.

How's that for eclectic taste, from the king of Pop to the Kings of British Heavy Metal!

rob-sp said...

Many thanks, Sam.

Amazing the appearance of the moon in music. I find I can't go two songs these days without hearing a reference.

Sam said...

After I had added my comment more and more songs kept popping into my head that mentioned the moon in some way or another!