It’s time again for Friday on My Mind, the weekly collaboration between KEXP and King 5 News. Yesterday marked the lunar phase of a New Moon, so today we’re talking about Top Songs About the Moon.
The moon’s position changes on the celestial sphere every day. A New Moon is a lunar phase of the moon. A lunar phase is the change in appearance of the moon from full to a thin crescent shape. You following this so far? It’s the occurrence of Sun and Moon being aligned on the same side of Earth while the moon is full. The side of the moon that is visible from Earth is then not illuminated by the Sun. This makes it so that the moon invisible to the naked eye. THEREFORE during a New Moon, the Moon is rising and setting with the sun, therefore the moon cannot be seen. I can’t imagine what people did before we had this simple explanation. They probably thought the moon was angry at them for something bad that they had done and now the moon had gone away so that they had time to think about their misdeeds for a while. That or they were too busy trying not to be eaten by wild animals or other moon-fearing humans to think much of it.
The moon has been the inspiration for numerous songs. I would guess more than the sun, the ocean, or the stars. In fact, this is the order of song themes:
2. Break ups
I don’t have the science in front of me, but this is pretty close to the facts.
SO, top songs about the moon-
Echo & the Bunnymen – “The Killing Moon”
This song, written in 1983 and on the album Ocean Rain is one of the most played at KEXP. Ian McCulloch insisted on recorded this one in Paris because he was sure that he would give a better vocal performance while there, BUT the band got busy, ran out of time, and the recording of his vocals didn’t happen in France. It turns out his vocals were just fine back home in Liverpool. It was an awesome request from Ian though. He has also claimed that “it’s the greatest song ever written”. The 80’s were the best. This song found new life when it was featured in the films “Donnie Darko” and “Grosse Pointe Blank”.
Ozzy Ozzbourne – “Bark At the Moon”
The opening song and title track to the 1983 album Bark at the Moon. This video was really just one of Ozzy’s home movies that they converted to a video. A day in the life of Ozzy. Just Ozzy, werewolves, extreme close-ups of guitar solos, and a drummer with the best mustache EVER. And obviously a budget of $0 to film, or at least you have to assume this by the stellar effects and make-up. Did I mention how AWESOME the 80’s were?
Frank Sinatra – “Fly Me to the Moon”
NOW we’re bringing some class to the discussion. Not that Ozzy isn’t classy. “Fly Me to the Moon” is a jazz standard written back in 1954. While many renditions of the song have been recorded by such artists as Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, and Dinah Washington to name a few, the most popular version was recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1964. Performed the Chairman of the Board countless times, the video for this not only proves that the theme of the moon is timeless, this footage also reminds us that Frank Sinatra was the biggest bad-ass THERE EVER WAS. By the way, it was his recording that the Apollo 10 astronauts played as they took their lunar-orbital mission AND Buzz Aldrin played it on the moon during Apollo 11’s landing. BECAUSE FRANK SINATRA MADE THEM.
The Police – “Walking on the Moon”
Just a quick reminder that at a one point in time, The Police were the greatest band on Earth and Sting hasn’t aged in 30 years. So the story goes that in 1979 Sting got drunk with German avant-garde composer Eberhard Schoener- because that’s what you do if you’re Sting in 1979. After he returned to his hotel, the riff for “Walking on the Moon” came to him as he started trying to walk off his drunkenness. He began muttering to himself “walking round the room, walking round the room”. I’m guessing to avoid the spins. I’ve been there. The next morning he got the song down on paper changing the wording to refer to “moon” instead of room”. See kids, drinking works!
Duran Duran- “New Moon on Monday”
“New Moon on Monday” was the second single off of the 1983 Duran Duran album Seven and the Ragged Tiger. The video for the song was filmed in Burgundy, France. The band claims that this video was their least favorite. Have they not seen “Wild Boys”? Did I mention how awesome the 80’s were?
In his biography from 2008, Andy Taylor said, “…this is the band’s least favourite video. Everybody hates it, particularly the dreadful scene at the end where we all dance together. Even today, I cringe and leave the room if anyone plays [it].” He recalled that they were miserable since their Christmas holiday had been cut short to shoot the video, and spent most of the day on the dark and cold set drinking, to the point that he was “half cut” by the time the last scenes were shot. “It’s one of the few times I’ve seen Nick dance”. Fantastic.