Chris Moon

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Chris Moon
Birth name Christopher Graham Moon
Born 1953 (age 64–65)
Origin British
Genres Pop music
Occupation(s)
  • Music producer
  • Recording engineer
  • Songwriter
  • Film maker
  • Entrepreneur
Years active 1972–present
Associated acts Prince

Christopher Moon, better known as Chris Moon, is an American music producer, recording engineer and songwriter of British origin. He is best known for discovering Prince, helping him create his artistic name and style, and co-writing his early songs, most notably his first single "Soft and Wet".[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

At the age of 13, Chris Moon moved with his family from the United Kingdom to Hawaii. He arrived in Minneapolis in 1967.[3] When he was 17, he purchased a multi-channel reel-to-reel and a camera in Hong Kong to start a career in music and photography. Moon built his first recording studio in the basement of his house in Minneapolis and did fashion photography on location.[4] By day he worked at a downtown advertising agency.[3] He founded Moon Sound, a homemade eight-track studio in South Minneapolis, where he taped local bands and advertising jingles. His studio was popular with young black talents singing rhythm and blues.[5][6]

A high school band called Champagne recorded its demo at Moon Sound in 1976. During a lunch break, one band member, Prince Rogers Nelson, stayed behind and started playing drums, piano and bass guitar equally well in quick succession. Impressed, Moon proposed a partnership: Prince would add music to pop lyrics Moon had written. In return, he could use the studio as much as he liked.[7][8][9] Despite suggestions that Isaac Hayes might offer Champagne a recording contract, Prince accepted Moon's offer, and was given the keys to Moonsound just in time for his graduation from Central High on his 18th birthday.[10]

For a year, Prince played and sang 14 of the 20 sets of lyrics that Moon authored, and Moon taught him how to record, produce and make his own demo tapes. After six months, Prince was able to run an entire session himself. With the goal of appealing to the largest segment of the buyers of pop music – teen-aged girls – Moon introduced Prince to the double entendre, encouraging him to write songs with "implied, naughty sexuality," a practice Prince would use throughout his career. The most famous song they wrote together, "Soft and Wet", had a staccato funk and racy lyrics that were key to Prince's emerging style. The artist wanted to be called "Mr. Nelson," but Moon insisted he drop his family name so that he does not get confused with Willie Nelson.[1][11][12][13]

Prince asked Moon to manage him, but Moon declined and suggested they look for someone else. In the autumn of 1976 Prince travelled to New York City with a demo tape of four of the 14 songs he had completed at Moon Sound. One of them, "Baby", was a Prince original. The other three – "Love Is Forever", "Aces" and "Soft and Wet" – were co-written by Chris Moon.[10] Moon called New York-based record companies, promoting the young artist as "the new Stevie Wonder" and actually introducing himself as Stevie Wonder's agent to get past the secretaries. After securing interviews for Prince with several major labels, who ultimately declined to sign him, Moon then worked to secure Prince a manager to help promote the artist. He played the demo to his Minneapolis associate Husney, who then became the manager for Prince and later helped him secure his first record contract.[14][5][15]

Husney took Prince to Los Angeles, where he signed a second contract with Warner Bros. Records, recorded "Soft and Wet," his first single, and completed his debut solo album, For You. Insisting on creative independence, Prince wrote, produced, arranged, composed and played all 27 instruments on the recording, the only exception being the co-operation with Moon on "Soft and Wet."[16] For You was released in 1978. It sold between 150,000–200,000 copies, while the single "Soft and Wet" sold around 350,000.[17] Over time, Prince and Moon forged a professional alliance that eventually resulted in financial settlements.[3]

Moon went on to produce and write more music. He became an adventurer, living with tribes of head hunters on New Guinea, making a documentary film Father of the Lions for PBS in Africa, barnstorming, and searching for missing in action Second World War airmen around the world. He also did international marketing for Fortune 500 companies.[18][19] He is currently the owner of HigherFi, a US-based company claiming to be "the world's largest online dealer of luxury audio."[4]

Discography[edit]

Chris Moon's discography consists mostly of music/lyric writing and arrangements. It also includes production, technical and visual work, instruments and performance.[20]

Year Artist Song Label Role
1978 Prince Soft and Wet Warner Bros. Records writing and arrangements (as C. Moon)
1980 Various Make It Easy Twin/Tone Records instruments and performance
1981 Sue Ann Make It Through The Storm Warner Bros. Records writing and arrangements
1982 The Great Alexander Do You Dare Erect Records production, writing and arrangements (as C. Moon)
1990 MC Hammer She's Soft and Wet Capitol Records writing and arrangements
2005 N'Dambi Soft and Wet Village Again writing and arrangements (as Christopher Moon)
2013 The Lewis Connection The Lewis Connection (album) Numero Group visual
Various Purple Snow: Forecasting The Minneapolis Sound (compilation) production, technical, writing and arrangements

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Matt Thorne (23 April 2016). "The rearview mirror rehinged: how Prince's early years formed his legend". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  2. ^ Andrea Beu (21 April 2017). "Prince – Musik als Massenverführung" (in German). N-TV. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c Steve Hamelman (ed.) (2016). All by Myself: Essays on the Single-Artist Rock Album. Chartwell Books. p. 77. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "Behind The Brands With Chris Moon". HiFi Pig. 27 April 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Ronin Ro (2011). Prince: Inside the Music and the Masks. Chartwell Books. p. 14-17. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  6. ^ "The Many Phases of Moonsound". NumeroGroup. 30 July 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  7. ^ Joe Levy (4 May 2016). "Prince: Remembering the Rock Star, Funk Lord, Provocateur, Genius". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  8. ^ "Before his purple reign". Minnesota Daily. 25 April 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  9. ^ Pat Kessler (21 April 2016). "A Look Back at Prince's Life". CBS. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  10. ^ a b Jason Draper (2016). Prince:Life and Times. Chartwell Books. p. 10. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  11. ^ "Inside Prince's Risqué – and Secretive – Life". People. 21 April 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  12. ^ Mark Savage (22 April 2016). "Prince: Sixteen pivotal songs". BBC. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  13. ^ Michaelangelo Matos (22 April 2016). "The Beautiful One: Remembering Prince's Rich Life And Legacy". MTV. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  14. ^ Mick Brown (22 April 2016). "Prince interview: 'I didn't let fame rule me'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  15. ^ Ted B. Kissell (2 May 2016). "Prince's first manager reflects on the music icon's early days". UCLA Newsroom. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  16. ^ Kyle Eustice (2016). "Timeless: Remembering Prince". The Source. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  17. ^ Martin Keller (21 January 1981). "Remembering Prince: Our 'shining Prince' in 1981". City Pages. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  18. ^ Heather J. Carlson (8 December 2015). "Bryan Moon 'was at heart an explorer and adventurer'". Post Bulletin. Retrieved 2 May 2017. 
  19. ^ "Chris Moon". LinkedIn. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 
  20. ^ "Chris Moon (2)". discogs. Retrieved 29 April 2017. 

External links[edit]