Wild Night

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"Wild Night"
Single by Van Morrison
from the album Tupelo Honey
B-side "When That Evening Sun Goes Down" (alternative take)
Released October 1971
Recorded Spring 1971 in Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco
Genre R&B, Rock
Length 3:33
Label Warner Bros.
Songwriter(s) Van Morrison
Producer(s) Van Morrison
Ted Templeman
Van Morrison singles chronology
"Call Me Up in Dreamland"
"Wild Night"
"Tupelo Honey"

"Call Me Up in Dreamland"
"Wild Night"
"Tupelo Honey"

"Wild Night" is a song written by Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and is the opening track on his fifth studio album Tupelo Honey. It was released as a single in 1971 and reached number twenty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[1]

Morrison has continued to perform it in concerts throughout his career and it has been covered by many artists and bands. A cover version recorded by John Mellencamp and Meshell Ndegeocello in 1994 peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the summer of that year, and topped the U.S. adult contemporary chart at that time as well.

Recording and composition[edit]

"Wild Night" was first recorded during a session with Lewis Merenstein as producer at Warners Publishing Studio in New York City in autumn 1968. The version released on Tupelo Honey was recorded in spring 1971 at Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco with Ted Templeman as producer.[2]


Tom Maginnis in Allmusic describes it as: "an effusive three and a half minutes of Stax-inspired R&B, buoyed by a sweet guitar lick from Ronnie Montrose of such quality that would make Steve Cropper proud."[3]

Reviewing Tupelo Honey in Uncut magazine, David Cavanagh wrote of "Wild Night": "Recorded live in the studio (as all Morrison's albums are), it sounds intricately layered, highly sophisticated by 2007's standards, like speeded-up Steely Dan meets Allen Toussaint. It's fluid but meticulous; ultra-rehearsed but effortless. It promises a party to come."[4]

"Wild Night" as originally recorded by Morrison was rated at #747 on Dave Marsh's 1989 book, The Heart of Rock and Soul, The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever.[5]

Other releases[edit]

"Wild Night" has remained a popular tune performed by Morrison at many of his concerts from 1970 to 2009.[6] It featured as one of the closing songs during his appearance as the first day headline act at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in September 2006. It was included in the Limited Edition Album, Live at Austin City Limits Festival recorded from the performance. The song was used on the soundtrack of the movie Twenty Four Seven and as such is one of the nineteen movie hits featured on Morrison's 2007 compilation album, Van Morrison at the Movies - Soundtrack Hits. The original as remastered in 2007 is one of the hits included on the compilation album, Still on Top - The Greatest Hits. "Wild Night" was included on the 2003 (10 CD) set Ultimate Seventies Collection by Time-Life.[7]

A live performance is also one of the songs performed on Morrison's 1980 concert disc on the Live At Montreux 1980/1974 DVD released in 2006.


Cover versions[edit]

"Wild Night"
Single by John Mellencamp and Meshell Ndegeocello
from the album Dance Naked
A-side "Wild Night"
Released June 1994 (U.S.)
22 August 1994 (UK)
Genre Rock
Length 3:27
Label Mercury Records
Songwriter(s) Van Morrison
Producer(s) John Mellencamp, Mike Manchic
John Mellencamp singles chronology
"Wild Night"
"Dance Naked"

"Wild Night"
"Dance Naked"

"Wild Night" was recorded by John Mellencamp and Meshell Ndegeocello and released as a single in 1994. This version of the song reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the summer of 1994 and remained in the Top 40 for 33 weeks. It also topped the U.S. adult contemporary chart for eight weeks.[9] It sold 500,000 copies domestically.[10] The song was included on Mellencamp's 1994 album, Dance Naked[11] and an "acoustic" remix was released as a promotional single for radio.

Martha Reeves covered the song on her first solo album Martha Reeves.[12] When she released it as a single in 1974, it reached number seventy-four on the R&B charts.[13] Reeves' version of the song was featured in the 1991 film Thelma & Louise.[14]

Other cover versions were recorded by Polly Brown,[15] Richie Havens,[16] Johnny Rivers,[17] and The Amazing Rhythm Aces on the 1980 album How the Hell Do You Spell Rhythum?.

Starsailor have covered this song in concert[18] and in 2008, Elvis Costello covered "Wild Night" at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.[19]

In 2014, Martina McBride included a cover of "Wild Night" on her album Everlasting.[20]


Van Morrison[edit]

Chart (1971) Peak
Billboard Hot 100[21] 28
Dutch Singles Chart[22] 24

Martha Reeves[edit]

Chart (1974) Peak
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 74

John Mellencamp[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1994) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 3
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 17
Billboard Adult Contemporary 1
US Billboard Mainstream Top 40 2
UK Singles Chart 34

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1994) Position
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[23] 6
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[24] 15


  1. ^ "Song artist 420 - Van Morrison". tsort.info. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
  2. ^ Heylin. Can You Feel the Silence?. pp. 518-520.
  3. ^ "Wild Night: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-10-09.
  4. ^ Cavanagh, David. "Van Morrison Tupelo Honey review". Uncut. Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  5. ^ "Dave Marsh the 1001 greatest Singles Ever". rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
  6. ^ "Wild Night Performances". ivan.vanomatic.de. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  7. ^ "Ultimate Seventies". deaddisc.com. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
  8. ^ "Rick Shlosser - About". rickshlosser.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  9. ^ "Billboard singles - Dance Naked". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  10. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1994". Billboard. BPI Communications. 107 (3): 57. 21 January 1995. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  11. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Dance Naked". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  12. ^ "Martha Reeves". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  13. ^ "Billboard singles - Martha Reeves". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  14. ^ Mansfield, Brian. "Thelma & Louise". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  15. ^ "allmusic (((Bewitched! the Polly Brown Story> Overview )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  16. ^ "Artist:Ritchie Havens". secondhandsongs.com. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  17. ^ "Johnny Rivers All-Time Greatest Hits". starpulse.com. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
  18. ^ "Good Souls; the starsailor archive". goodsouls.org.uk. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  19. ^ "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2008". sanfranmag.com. Archived from the original on 9 October 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  20. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2014-04-07). "Everlasting - Martina McBride : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  21. ^ "Allmusic: Van Morrison bllboard singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-10-09.
  22. ^ "Dutch singles history:Van Morrison". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
  23. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1994". RPM. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  24. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1994". Retrieved 2010-08-27.


  • Heylin, Clinton (2003). Can You Feel the Silence? Van Morrison: A New Biography, Chicago Review Press, ISBN 1-55652-542-7
  • The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition, 1996

External links[edit]