“So if you want to write a song about the heart, and it’s ever-longing for a counterpart, write a song about the moon.” – Paul Simon, “Song About The Moon”
I’ve been away for a while. It’s been a heavy travel time here at B&V but luckily not all of it was dictated by my corporate overlords. As I travel I tend to peruse social media quite a bit. I noticed a while back there were a bunch of posts about the 50th anniversary of the United States putting a man on the moon. My father always said his jaw dropped in disbelief the first time he heard JFK say that it was his goal to put a man on the moon. Space exploration was inconceivable at the time. Way to go science! Of course, I recently discovered that someone in my wife’s family believes they faked the moon landing. There’s one in every crowd, right? This person also thinks the world is flat… and Paul McCartney is talentless. Needless to say, recent holidays have been weird. Rest assured that in those instances, the whiskey helped.
I have extraordinarily vague memories of the first moon-landing. I was a very small child. I remember my parents friends had a party at their house and their kids had a shit ton of toys. I remember being in their walk-out basement, sun streaming in the backdoor window and seeing the astronauts were on the moon. That’s gotta be a false memory. I was way too young to remember something like that but it sure seems real. Of course, there were a number of moon landings, so maybe it wasn’t that first one in 1969. It couldn’t have been. Back then my parents still partied quite a bit, as did their friends, so maybe it was one of those “extra” moon trips that I remember. As Lynyrd Skynyrd once sang, “Too many lives they’ve spent across the ocean. Too much money been spent upon the moon.” “Things Goin’ On,” indeed.
All of this moon-landing talk and the seasons changing to autumn with it’s early arrival of Halloween decorations got me thinking about the moon. All those spooky moon’s with witches’ silhouettes passing by on their broom sticks… reminds me of a girl I knew once who was the scariest thing I’d come across… but I digress. I was thinking about the moon and naturally my thoughts turned to rock and roll and all the great “moon-centric” tunes out there, but in all honesty, these things I were thinking about were merely a trigger for deeper thoughts about the moon…
I’ve always been a night owl. It was always a struggle to get me to even go to bed. I can remember those rare occasions when I was allowed to leave the house at night, to run something next door to the neighbor’s house or going to a school program… It was so different to be outside in the dark. I used to think the moon was following me. There was a thrill to walking around in the cool, night air. The Allman Brothers used to practice in a graveyard and I swear if there’d been one in my neighborhood, I’d have taken up the guitar. Shadows grow darker and larger… as does the curiosity of what’s lurking around out there? The weird thing was as a youngster I wasn’t repelled away from that darkness, I had to hold myself back from plunging into it…which sort of explains those troubled teen years, I guess. All of that exultation about running around in the night was crowned with the King of the Night… the big moon casting its gaze over everything. I remember being at sleepovers and thinking, I’m staying up all night long…only to fall asleep immediately. I’ve talked about the thrill of riding in a girlfriend’s car in college, on a night I should have been home with family, staring out of the moon-roof, er I mean, the sun-roof at the nighttime sky and feeling fucking alive! When the moon came up, my weariness from the day faded…as the Stones sang, “the sunshine bores the daylight out of me…” The word lunatic stems from the Greek word for moon…”Full Moon Fever,” indeed.
Eventually it was time to “do away with childish things.” We all grow up some time… although my wife and daughter would tell you I’m still working on it. When love and romance entered my life, the moon took on all new resonance. I was in a few long-distance relationships when I was young and I can remember staring at the moon and thinking my girlfriend was staring up at the same moon and thinking it made me feel closer to her. Like the Little River Band sang, “staring at the full moon, like a lover.” Jesus, I can’t believe I went through that, but I guess we all do. Eventually the inevitable breakups would come and suddenly the moon takes on a different meaning to us and the longing begins. The heart stares up at the moon, its lonely counterpart as Mr. Simon sang. Ironic that the moon can lead to feelings of connection and disconnection… all depends on where you’re standing, I suppose.
With all those thoughts and ramblings aside, it’s pretty obvious that the moon evokes a ton of emotions in me and I’m guessing most people are the same as I am. Because of that wide range of emotions, I’ve selected one of my most eclectic collections of tracks for a playlist ever. From happy elation to brokenhearted isolation, we’ve got it all here. The goal is for people to find a song they’ve never heard before so I went pretty deep into the album tracks for this one, folks. I hope you enjoy it. As always, if there’s a great one I forgot, go ahead and drop it in the “comments” section and I’ll add it to the Spotify playlist, BourbonAndVinyl.net Songs About the Moon.
- The Waterboys, “The Whole of the Moon” – Great little Irish band I only discovered when U2 played this track to begin their KC Show on the Joshua Tree tour a few years ago. Great starting track.
- Free, “Moonshine” – A real blues rock gem from their debut album. They’re talking about the actual light from the moon, not the booze with the same name.
- Echo & the Bunnymen, “The Killing Moon” – Haunting, jealous longing… this track sums up a lot about this list.
- Talking Heads, “Moon Rocks” – Danceable weirdness from the Heads.
- Foreigner, “Girl On the Moon” – Great ballad… I’ve really gotten back into these guys this year.
- Neville Brothers, “Yellow Moon” – Another song about jealousy and worryin’ about your woman.
- Robbie Robertson, “Sonny Got Caught In the Moonlight” – From Robertson’s debut… I think we’ve all been caught in the moonlight at one time or another.
- The Cult, “Brother Wolf Sister Moon” – An epic from the great Love album.
- R.E.M. “Man On the Moon” – Sure it’s a tribute to Andy Kauffman, but it works.
- T. Rex, “By the Light of a Magical Moon” – I’m not a huge T Rex fan, but this weird, mostly acoustic track always catches my ear.
- John Mellencamp, “Circling Around the Moon” – Great, emotionally effective deep track about struggling lovers.
- White Stripes, “White Moon” – Menacing piano ballad from Jack & Meg, which is a sentence you don’t type very often.
- Pearl Jam, “Yellow Moon” – One of the Rock Chick and my favorite ballads from PJ. God, I wish they’d record again.
- Sting, “Moon Over Bourbon Street” – Is there any place better for staring up at the moon, over a Hurricane cocktail, than New Orleans. Sting doing spooky jazz.
- The Doors, “Moonlight Drive” – Takes me back to high school, driving around at night when it’s way past curfew, but it’s just too much fun to hang!
- The Black Crowes, “Black Moon Creeping” – A funky rocker from their second album, which is my favorite.
- Tom Waits, “Drunk On the Moon” – I love early Tom Waits, especially this track. Sinatra would have nailed this track.
- Duran Duran, “New Moon On Monday” – I hated these guys in college, but now I think they’ve got some great tunes, this one amongst them.
- Norah Jones, “Shoot the Moon” – With that voice, oh yes.
- Robert Plant, “Moonlight In Samosa” – Great deep track from Plant’s solo debut. I feel like I’m in a John Le Carre novel.
- Paul McCartney & Wings, “C Moon” – An almost reggae track where McCartney turns goofing around into an actual hit single.
- Kinks, “Full Moon” – A great track I’d almost completely forgotten about until I put this together.
- Van Morrison, “Moondance” – One of his all time greatest tunes. And uh, I don’t think he’s discussing dancing.
- Neil Young, “Harvest Moon” – Beautiful, acoustic Neil from his “sequel” to Harvest, naturally recorded decades apart.
- The Rolling Stones, “Moon Is Up” – Knowing Mick, he’s talking about someone’s bum, but this is a great deep track from Voodoo Lounge.
- Chris Cornell, “Worried Moon” – The older I get the more worried the moon becomes.
- The Police, “Walking On the Moon” – Well, you knew this one would be here. After “Roxanne” probably the first Police track I remember hearing.
- Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Bad Moon Rising” – Did Creedence have a bad song?
- George Harrison, “Here Comes the Moon” – Was he ripping off “Here Comes the Sun”? Maybe, but this is a great track. George doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
- Paul McCartney, “Monkberry Moon Delight” – Speaking of the Beatles…
- Bob Dylan, “Moonlight” – A great, late career attempt at crooning from Mr. Dylan.
- Prince, “Moonbeam Levels” – An out take from the 1999 sessions, released on a Greatest Hits thing a year or so ago.
- The Beatles, “Mr. Moonlight” – Great Beatles deep track. John Lennon’s impassioned vocal makes this one special.
- The Rolling Stones, “Moonlight Mile” – The best track on this list and one of the Stones’ greatest all time tracks.
- Ozzy Osbourne, “Bark At the Moon” – We all need to do this once in a while, it’s good for the soul.
- David Bowie, “Moonage Daydream” – I had to have some Bowie on here, he seems like he belonged on the moon, looking down on us.
- Little Feat, “Spanish Moon” – I told Dr Rock I was listening to Little Feat and he laughed at me… I love this band and Lowell George especially.
- Annie Lennox, “Fingernail Moon” – Such a beautiful voice singing the saddest track on here. I wanted to capture as many emotions as I could. I’d say Annie nails the “despair” column.
- Iggy Pop, “Midnight Lady” – Don’t be afraid of Iggy.
- Pearl Jam, “In the Moonlight” – A deep track from the compilation, Lost Dogs.
- Thin Lizzy, “Dancing In the Moonlight (It’s Caught Me In the Spotlight)” – I love Thin Lizzy, even if they got a little disco-esque on this one.
- David Bowie, “Fall Dog Bombs the Moon” – I have always loved this late career track of Bowie’s from Reality.
- Lyle Lovett, “Moon On My Shoulder” – A voice as smooth as whiskey. If you’re going to sit and stare at the moon with a glass of something strong, might as well have great singers to keep you company.
- Sting, “Sister Moon” – More spooky jazz from Sting.
- Bob Seger, “Shame On The Moon” – An acoustic track from Bob that has only grown on me over the years. Hated it the first time I heard it.
- Van Morrison, “Once In A Blue Moon” – Van has had so many great, late period albums. He’s really going through a renaissance. This is a great track from What’s Wrong With This Picture.
- John Fogerty, “Blue Moon Nights” – A lovely little strummer.
- The Rolling Stones, “Child of the Moon” – Something from the psychedelic era.
- Beck, “Blue Moon” – From his acoustic masterpiece Morning Phase. Just a great tune.
- Tom Waits, “Grapefruit Moon” – Every song on Tom’s debut is a classic.
- Paul Simon, “Song About the Moon” – Sums up what all these tracks are about and serves as an instructive bit of advice on how to write a song… well, about the moon at least.
- Elton John, “Bad Side of the Moon” – I think this one made my list of Elton’s deep tracks. I love this song and think it should have been a huge hit.
- Arc Angels, “Spanish Moon” – Great little band out of Austin. Charlie Sexton, the rhythm section from Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Double Trouble and Doyle Bramhall, Jr.
- AC/DC, “What’s Next To the Moon” – Just a little AC/DC to liven up the proceedings and keep everybody on their toes.
- Traveling Wilburys, “New Blue Moon” – A song that I only wish Roy Orbison had lived to sing on.
- Peter Wolf, “Waiting On the Moon” – Great singer who is also releasing a lot of great late career albums.
- Chuck Berry, “Havana Moon” – The master… Elvis was always uncomfortable with the “King of Rock n Roll” title… he used to say, “Uh, you’re talkin’ about Chuck Berry.”
- Fleetwood Mac, “Sisters of the Moon” – Stevie in full Wiccan mode. One of the stand out tracks from Tusk.
- Warren Zevon, “They Moved the Moon” – Warren Zevon should be in the Rock Hall of Fame. Can someone make that happen already, please.
- Bruce Springsteen, “Moonlight Motel” – Bruce singing about a little Motel No-tell out on the deserted highway.
- Pink Floyd, “Eclipse” – Because “everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.”
“There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark.”
Cheers to all you lunatics out there!