Did you see the full moon last night? Getintothis’ Chris Burgess did and picked Top 10 tracks about that rock in the sky.
The Moon. Chances are you’ve seen it at some point in your life. It’s the big round thing you see in the sky.
No, not the sun, the other one, the night time one.
Some lucky people have been there, walking on its surface and bouncing around like idiots in its low gravity.
The moon has been a major influence in music since the dawn of humankind, and has inspired some truly fantastic songs across the ages and around the world. From Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and Debussy’s Claire De Lune to The Marcels’ Blue Moon and Santana’s Flor d’Luna, the satellite evokes mixed images of romance, otherworldliness, evil and mystery.
Miles Davis dreamt about it. Sinatra wanted to fly there. CCR saw a bad one rising. King Harvest, Toploader and Van Morrison all danced under its glow. The Police (along with Michael Jackson) went walking on it. Symarip stomped all over it and Frank Zappa went as far as to name his daughter after the place.
Ozzy Osbourne barked at it, which is kinda weird.
Then comes the colours – Beck (along with many others) saw a blue one. Roo Panes had a silver one. Nick Drake’s moon was pink, The Neville Brothers’ was yellow, Erykah Badu’s was orange and Haroula Rose had a rare lavender moon. Where The White Stripes saw a white moon, Wilco saw a black moon, while The Hives’ moon was blood red.
Many albums were also named after it, including Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool, The Rolling Stones’ Havana Moon and Air’s Moon Safari to name a handful. Many bands have also drawn inspiration from the moon for their names, including Half Moon Run, Moon Boots, Moon Duo and Walk The Moon.
There are many other Top Ten lists you could make from such an illustrious list, but this is ours:
10. First Aid Kit: Little Moon
Well I remember those few nights, when the sky it stared right back at us.
From the Swedish folk duo’s 2008 debut album Drunken Trees, this charming tale of sleeping in the mountains and watching the skies at night evokes the majesty, mystery and simplicity of the moon. We all see it, we all know it, but it means different things to us at different times.
9. Echo and the Bunnymen: Killing Moon
The killing moon, will come too soon.
Perhaps the most cinematic song on the list, the Bunnymen’s 1984 classic references blue moons and starlit skies, with Ian McCulloch’s masterful vocals shining through a luscious arrangement of balalaika-inspired guitar and understated strings. The embodiment of the devilish moonlight.
8. Neil Young: Harvest Moon
But there’s a full moon rising, let’s go dancing in the light.
Written by Young as a tribute to his wife, Harvest Moon is a celebration of faithfulness in relationships, evocative of the many romantic connotations of the moon. The 2012 track lollops by beautifully and melodiously. A perfect ode to growing old together.
7. Dead Kennedys: Moon over Marin
Oh, shimmering moonlight sheen upon the waves and water clogged with oil
Set in a near future Marin County, San Fransisco, one of the wealthier areas of California, Moon Over Marin imagines environmental decline and the “I’m alright, Jack” attitudes that inevitably come hand in hand with it. Guitarist East Bay Ray delivers a superb surf-inflected performance that ranks as one of his best. A sad song in the best sense of the word, and years ahead of its time.
6. Lee “Scratch” Perry: Dreadlocks in Moonlight
Dreadlocks in moonlight, baldhead at sunrise
One of Perry’s masterpieces, 1977’s Dreadlocks in Moonlight is a reactionary song of defiance against the Jamaican police and the pressure they were exerting on Rastafarians at the time – cutting their dreadlocks off in acts against their faith.
It’s a song that draws battle lines and sticks a middle finger up at authority, backed with one of the greatest basslines ever recorded.
5. King Crimson: Moonchild
Sailing on the wind in a milk white gown
The infamous English mystic Aleister Crowley has influenced many a song over the years (perhaps most notably Black Sabbath’s Mr Crowley). This King Crimson song was based on Crowley’s 1917 novel Moonchild – the tale of a baby with magical powers strong enough to destroy the world. The song is as spooky as the novel, detailing her night time activities drifting in the echoes of the hours.
4. King Tuff: Black Moon Spell
Like someone put a curse on you
The title track of King Tuff’s 2014 album, Black Moon Spell is a riot of growling hooks and occult filled lyrics. It’s glam rock in the witching hour, building to a climactic guitar riff crescendo – its repeated chorus entrancing you into a daze.
3. Kid Cudi: Man on the Moon (The Anthem)
I’m up, up on the moon
Rapping over the swirling Aquarium, performed by Nosaj Thing, Ohio rapper Kid Cudi’s lyrics are just as delicate and introspective. It’s an uplifting track, detailing Cudi’s attempts to remain unfazed by criticism. Do what you want in life and don’t let anyone tell you it’s wrong.
2. Television: Marquee Moon
There I stand ‘neath the marquee moon, just waiting
A punk rock masterpiece, Marquee Moon is over ten minutes long, yet never outstays its welcome. The New York band’s most famous song dances and shifts throughout, guitar and bass lines interchanging and rhythms altering with clinical precision.
It’s a uniquely breathtaking tour de force that rewards repeat listening.
1. The Waterboys: The Whole of the Moon
I saw the crescent…
From the 1985 album This Is The Sea, this is the most commercially successful track The Waterboys have released. An ode to someone who excels at whatever they do, The Whole of the Moon is nothing short of a masterpiece – a rousing and anthemic tune, astronomical in both scope and sound.
The subject of the song has been debated widely over the years, from CS Lewis to Prince. In the end it doesn’t really matter who Mike Scott is singing about, the luscious arrangement and instrumentation carry you away.