Moonlight Shadow

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"Moonlight Shadow"
Moonlight Shadow (Mike Oldfield).jpg
Single by Mike Oldfield
from the album Crises
B-side"Rite of Man"
Released6 May 1983 (1983-05-06)
RecordedDenham, England, February – April 1983[1]
GenrePop rock[2]
Length
  • 3:37 (Album version)
  • 5:17 (12-inch version)
LabelVirgin
Songwriter(s)Mike Oldfield
Producer(s)
Mike Oldfield singles chronology
"Mistake"
(1982)
"Moonlight Shadow"
(1983)
"Shadow on the Wall"
(1983)
Audio sample
Moonlight Shadow
1993 reissue artwork
Reissued in promotion for Elements
Reissued in promotion for Elements
Mike Oldfield singles chronology
"The Bell"
(1993)
""Moonlight Shadow" (reissue)"
(1993)
""In Dulci Jubilo" (reissue)"
(1993)

"Moonlight Shadow" is a song written and performed by English multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield, released as a single in May 1983 by Virgin Records, and included in the album Crises of the same year.[4] The vocals were performed by Scottish vocalist Maggie Reilly, who had collaborated with Mike Oldfield since 1980. It is Oldfield's most successful single, reaching number one on a number of charts around Europe.

Release[edit]

The single peaked at number 4 in the British charts, making it Oldfield's second-highest ranked single after "Portsmouth", which reached number 3 in 1976. "Moonlight Shadow" was successful throughout Europe; it reached number 1 in many countries, including Italy, Austria, Switzerland for four weeks and Norway for six weeks. It spent four weeks at number 2 in West Germany, hit number 6 in Australia, and peaked at number 3 in New Zealand and France. It was re-released as a maxi-CD single in 1993 to promote Oldfield's Elements box set, charting at number 52.

A 12-inch single (later reissued on a 3" CD single) featured an extended version of the song with an extra verse, and the single B-side was "Rite of Man", which was a rare instance of Oldfield singing lead vocal. The extended mix also appears on his compilation album The Platinum Collection.

In 1991, the song was re-released in France, and in 1993 it was featured on promos for Elements in France and Spain. The 1993 reissue included "Bones" and "In the Pool" as B-sides, which had previously been released as B-sides with "To France". Furthermore, the name of the song was used for the 2013 Universal Music compilation album of Oldfield's music, Moonlight Shadow: The Collection.

Live performances[edit]

Maggie Reilly sang "Moonlight Shadow" live when she toured with Oldfield in the 1980s. However, since then, other singers have performed the song live with Oldfield, including Anita Hegerland during the late 1980s, Pepsi Demacque at the Tubular Bells III premiere and at the Live Then & Now 1999 tour, Miriam Stockley at the Millennium concert and Nokia Night of the Proms in Germany, and Rosa Cedrón at Nokia Night of the Proms in Spain.

Artwork[edit]

The original cover art is an enlargement of the lower right corner of the Crises album cover by UK artist Terry Ilott. This shows a man with his foot on a ledge with the sea and sky in the background. The moon, the tower and its shadow from the album cover cannot be seen on the single cover.

The artwork for the 1993 reissue followed the style of the Elements artwork in most countries.

Production[edit]

An early version of the song was entitled "Midnight Passion" with vocals by British singer Hazel O'Connor.[5] Along with Maggie Reilly, a girlfriend of one of the roadies when Oldfield was on tour, Oldfield used a rhyming dictionary and recorded many of the lyrics word by word.[6]

According to bassist Phil Spalding the initial tracks recorded simultaneously for "Moonlight Shadow" were acoustic guitar (Oldfield), bass (Spalding), drums (Phillips) and electric guitar (Tim Renwick) in early February 1983 at Oldfield's studio in Denham, Buckinghamshire.[1] Renwick's guitar track was apparently not used in the final track.[1] The remaining tracks including the vocals and Oldfield on electric guitar were later overdubs.[1]

According to Oldfield, Virgin Records were immediately happy with the song and wanted more pieces similar to it.[citation needed] Reilly also sang on "Foreign Affair" on Crises. An unplugged mix of the song appears on the 2013 Mercury Records reissue of the Crises album.

Oldfield later sampled the drums from "Moonlight Shadow" for the song "Man in the Rain" on his 1998 album, Tubular Bells III.[7]

Lyrical content[edit]

It has been suggested that the lyrics of the song are a reference to the murder of John Lennon despite the fact that the events in the song do not correspond with those of Lennon's murder.[8][9] Lennon was shot four times just before 11 pm, whereas in the song the time is 4 am and the number of shots is six. Also, the night Lennon was shot (8 December 1980) was a new moon, so there was no moonlight,[10] and in the song, it is Saturday night while Lennon was killed on a Monday night. When asked if "Moonlight Shadow" is a reference to John Lennon's murder in a 1995 interview, Oldfield responded:

Not really... well, perhaps, when I look back on it, maybe it was. I actually arrived in New York that awful evening when he was shot and I was staying at the Virgin Records house in Perry Street, which was just a few blocks down the road from the Dakota Building where it happened, so it probably sank into my subconscious. It was originally inspired by a film I loved – Houdini, starring Tony Curtis, which was about attempts to contact Houdini after he'd died, through spiritualism... it was originally a song influenced by that, but a lot of other things must have crept in there without me realising it.

— Mike Oldfield[11]

Video[edit]

There are two versions of the video: the full-length original, and a shorter one which omits a verse. The reason for the shorter version was for the requirements of some TV broadcasters, and the way both versions are edited suggests that Oldfield's touring guitarist "Ant" (Anthony Glynne) performs the second, overdriven half of the guitar solo, which is not the case. Also in the video is Oldfield's touring drummer, Pierre Moerlen, miming the part played by Simon Phillips on the recording. The music video was directed by Keith McMillan and shot on location at Hatfield House and Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, England (the band are seen performing in Brocket Hall's ballroom and the girl runs in through the door and up the staircase in Brocket's hallway).[12][13]

Track listing[edit]

7-inch vinyl[edit]

  1. "Moonlight Shadow" (7" mix) – 3:37
  2. "Rite of Man" – 2:21

12-inch vinyl[edit]

  1. "Moonlight Shadow" (Extended version) – 5:18
  2. "Rite of Man" – 2:21

German vinyl[edit]

  1. "Moonlight Shadow" – 3:37
  2. "Moonlight Shadow" (Extended version) – 5:18
  3. "Rite of Man" – 2:21
  4. "To France" – 4:43
  5. "Jungle Gardenia" – 2:45 (Mike Oldfield)
  6. "Taurus 3" – 2:25

1988 CD[edit]

  1. "Moonlight Shadow" (Extended version) – 5:18
  2. "Rite of Man" – 2:21
  3. "To France" – 4:44
  4. "Jungle Gardenia" – 2:44

1993 CD[edit]

  1. "Moonlight Shadow" – 3:35
  2. "Moonlight Shadow" (Extended version) – 5:18
  3. "In the Pool"* – 3:40
  4. "Bones"* – 3:19

(*: original B-sides for the 1984 "To France" single)

Chart positions[edit]

The song performed particularly well in European charts, reaching number one in countries such as Norway, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland and Austria.

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[42] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[43] Silver 250,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Personnel[edit]

Appearances and influence in other media[edit]

"Moonlight Shadow" appeared on the soundtrack of the Italian comedy Vacanze di Natale (1983).[44] It is also the theme song for Dave Angel, Eco-Warrior, a character in the BBC TV comedy series The Fast Show.[45]

Groove Coverage version[edit]

"Moonlight Shadow"
Groove Coverage - Moonlight Shadow.jpg
Single by Groove Coverage
from the album Covergirl
Released2002
Length2:52
Label
Songwriter(s)Mike Oldfield
Groove Coverage singles chronology
"Are U Ready"
(2002)
"Moonlight Shadow"
(2002)
"God Is a Girl"
(2002)

In 2002, a cover by Groove Coverage peaked at No. 3 in the German Top 10 (simultaneously, a similar version of Oldfield's "To France" by Novaspace was in the German Top 30). "Moonlight Shadow" appeared on Groove Coverage's debut album, Covergirl. The vocals are by Melanie Munch, who is known by her stage name Mell. Aside from the single remixes, the album also contains a piano version, featuring piano by Verena Rehm.

Track listings[edit]

CD single[edit]

  1. "Moonlight Shadow" (Radio version) – 2:52
  2. "Moonlight Shadow" (Original radio edit) – 2:54
  3. "Moonlight Shadow" (Extended version) – 6:56
  4. "Moonlight Shadow" (Rocco remix) – 6:58
  5. "Moonlight Shadow" (Warp Brothers remix) – 7:37
  6. "Moonlight Shadow" (Video) – 2:53

Maxi single[edit]

  1. "Moonlight Shadow" (Radio version) – 2:52
  2. "Moonlight Shadow" (Original radio edit) – 2:59
  3. "Moonlight Shadow" (Extended version) – 6:58
  4. "Moonlight Shadow" (Rocco remix) – 6:58
  5. "Beat Just Goes" – 3:53

Remix single[edit]

A-side

  1. "Moonlight Shadow" (Extended version)

B-side

  1. "Moonlight Shadow" (Club version)
  2. "Beat Just Goes" (Club mix)

US maxi single[edit]

  1. "Moonlight Shadow" (Josh Harris Radio Edit) – 3:46
  2. "Moonlight Shadow" (Josh Harris Club Mix) – 7:21
  3. "Moonlight Shadow" (Josh Harris Dub) – 6:39
  4. "Moonlight Shadow" (French Club Mix) – 6:36
  5. "Moonlight Shadow" (French Short Cut) – 3:05
  6. "Moonlight Shadow" (Plastic Men UK Mix) – 6:16
  7. "Moonlight Shadow" (Warp Brothers Remix) – 7:36
  8. "Moonlight Shadow" (North Starz Remix) – 6:57
  9. "Moonlight Shadow" (Alternate Radio Version) – 2:51
  10. "Moonlight Shadow" (Original Mix) – 2:53
  11. "Moonlight Shadow" (Extended Mix) – 6:54
  12. "Moonlight Shadow" (Rocco Remix) – 6:56
  13. "Moonlight Shadow" (A cappella) – 1:50
  14. "Moonlight Shadow" (Pure & Direct Version) – 4:17

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2002–2003) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[46] 39
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[47] 5
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[48] 50
Germany (Official German Charts)[49] 3
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[50] 68
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[51] 52
UK Singles (OCC)[52] 100

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2002) Position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[53] 31
Germany (Official German Charts)[54] 19

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Mike Oldfield – Crises". Phil Spalding. July 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  2. ^ Guaitamacchi, Ezio (2011). 1000 canzoni che ci hanno cambiato la vita (in Italian). Rizzoli Libri. ISBN 978-88-58-61742-7.
  3. ^ "Singles". Amadian. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  4. ^ "Information about the single". Tubular-World.com. Archived from the original on 29 August 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
  5. ^ "Oldfield albums part 2". Archived from the original on 15 February 2008.. Toucan Solutions.
  6. ^ "Archiv Sendung vom 02.04.2008, kulturplatz, Mike Oldfield video interview" (in German). SF 1. 2 April 2008. Archived from the original on 14 April 2008.
  7. ^ "Rare Tracks Part 1". Ommadawn.net. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
  8. ^ "Is Moonlight Shadow about the murder of John Lennon?". Experts123.com. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  9. ^ "FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)". Tubular.net. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  10. ^ "Moon Phases December 1980". Calendar-12.com. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  11. ^ Randall, Gareth (1 June 1995). "Gareth Randall Interviews Mike Oldfield". Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  12. ^ The Wind Chimes (VHS rear cover credits). Mike Oldfield. Virgin Vision. 1988. VVD 353.CS1 maint: others (link)
  13. ^ Powell, Mark (2013). Crises (liner notes book). Mike Oldfield. Mercury Records. 37 4044-8.
  14. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Mike Oldfield – Moonlight Shadow" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  16. ^ "Ultratop.be – Mike Oldfield – Moonlight Shadow" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  17. ^ "MusicSeek.info – UK, Eurochart, Billboard & Cashbox No.1 Hits". Archived from the original on 14 June 2006.. MusicSeek.info.
  18. ^ "Accès direct aux Artistes (O)". InfoDisc (in French). Select "Mike Oldfield" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Search "10 July 1983" then click "find it". Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  20. ^ "SINGOLI – I NUMERI UNO (1959-2006) (parte 3: 1980–1990)" (in Italian). It-charts.150m.com. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  21. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Mike Oldfield - Moonlight Shadow" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  22. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Mike Oldfield – Moonlight Shadow" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  23. ^ "Charts.nz – Mike Oldfield – Moonlight Shadow". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  24. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Mike Oldfield – Moonlight Shadow". VG-lista. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  25. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (O)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  26. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 978-84-8048-639-2.
  27. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Mike Oldfield – Moonlight Shadow". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  28. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Mike Oldfield – Moonlight Shadow". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  29. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  30. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Mike Oldfield – Moonlight Shadow". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  31. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  32. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1983". Kent Music Report. Retrieved 5 August 2020 – via Imgur.
  33. ^ "Jahreshitparade 1983" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  34. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1983" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  35. ^ "TOP – 1983" (in French). Top-france.fr. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  36. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1983" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  37. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1983" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  38. ^ "End of Year Charts 1983". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  39. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1983" (in German). Hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  40. ^ Scaping, Peter, ed. (1984). "Top 100 singles: 1983". BPI Year Book 1984. British Phonographic Industry. pp. 42–43. ISBN 0-906154-04-9.
  41. ^ "Jahrescharts – 1983" (in German). Officialcharts.de. GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  42. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  43. ^ "British single certifications – Mike Oldfield – Moonlight Shadow". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  44. ^ "Vacanze di Natale". Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  45. ^ "Dave Angel – Eco Warrior". BBC Online. 21 January 2003. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  46. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Groove Coverage – Moonlight Shadow". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  47. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Groove Coverage – Moonlight Shadow" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  48. ^ "Ultratop.be – Groove Coverage – Moonlight Shadow" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  49. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Groove Coverage – Moonlight Shadow". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  50. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Groove Coverage – Moonlight Shadow" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  51. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Groove Coverage – Moonlight Shadow". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  52. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  53. ^ "Jahreshitparade 2002". Austriancharts.at. (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  54. ^ "Jahrescharts – 2002". Offiziellecharts.de (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Archived from the original on 9 May 2015.

External links[edit]