Meaning of Moondance by Van Morrison & The Story Behind

One of the most popular compositions of the Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison is the ballad “Moondance” from the 1970 album of the same name. The famous song was released as a single only seven and a half years later, which did not prevent it from hitting the charts and becoming an international hit. The history of the track will be discussed in the article.

Sir Van Morrison recalled that “Moondance” originated from a jazz saxophone solo:

I played that sax tune over and over as soon as I picked up my trumpet.

Rolling stone

Van Morrison doesn’t like to talk about creation stories and the meaning of songs, but in this case he was surprisingly talkative. Let’s quote the author:

For “Moondance” I wrote the melody first. I played it on soprano saxophone and I knew I had the song, so I wrote the lyrics to the music. This is how I wrote it. In fact, I don’t have the words to accurately describe the song. “Refined” is probably the word I’m trying to find. “Moondance” seems like a sophisticated song to me. She would not have seemed out of place in the performance of Frank Sinatra.

Celtic Crossroads, Hilton

The song was recorded in August 1969 at New York’s Mastertone Studio. The producer was Lewis Merenstein. Pianist Jeff Labes talks about the studio work on the track:

I remember that “Moondance” itself was a big question mark. She was jazzy and seemed to be out of the picture. The first time we recorded it, it came out really well, but Wang thought there must be a clue. Therefore, we recorded it a dozen times, and at the end we returned to the first version. He liked to sing live along with the track, because that’s what Sinatra did. He adored vocals from the first take. He was looking for magic.

The song became the title track of the album “Moondance” (1970). It was released as a single only in 1977. It is also included in the compilations “The Best of Van Morrison” (1990) and “Still on Top – The Greatest Hits” (2007).

Next, watch the video clip “Moondance” from Van Morrison.

The composition has been played by dozens of musicians over the years. Van Morrison commented on their covers:

Many people recorded “Moondance”. There are some great versions, including the Bobby McFerrin version. I also like the version of “Moondance” that Grady Tate did many years ago.

Let’s listen to the composition performed by the above-mentioned singers. First up is the music video from Bobby McFerrin.

And now let’s listen to “Moondance” by Grady Tate.

The soundtrack of the film “August Rush” includes two covers of “Moondance”. One was sung by Jonathan Rhys Meyers with harmonica accompaniment, and the other is an instrumental version by Chris Botti.

Interesting Facts

  • The beautiful flute part in “Moondance” was played by Collin Tilton.
  • George Ivan Morrison most often played this composition at concerts.
  • The song is featured in the film An American Werewolf in London (1981) and the TV series The West Wing (2002).
  • “Moondance” is on Rolling Stone and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame lists of the greatest songs.

Moondance Lyrics by Van Morrison

Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
‘Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I’m trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
And all the night’s magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush
Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love
Can I just make some more romance with you, my love
When the stars reflect in your eyes
Amazing night for love relationships
Under cover of October skies
Leaves are falling from the trees
To the sound of a gentle breeze
And I try to please the call
Your heart strings, sounding soft and gentle
And it seems that all the magic of the night whispers and subsides
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine on your blush
Will you give me one more dance under the moon, love?
Will our romance with you last, love? Well, I want to make love to you tonight
I can’t wait ’til the morning has come
And I know now the time is just right
And straight into my arms you will run
And when you come my heart will be waiting
To make sure that you’re never alone
There and then all my dreams will come true, dear
There and then I will make you my own
And every time I touch you, you just tremble inside
And I know how much you want me that you can’t hide
Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love
Can I just make some more romance with you, my love
I can’t wait for the morning to come
And I know now is the right time
And you’ll run right into my arms
And when you come my heart will be waiting
To make sure you’re never alone
Right now my dreams will come true darling
Right now you will be mine
And you tremble with every touch
And I know you can hide how much you want me
Will you give me one more dance under the moon, love?
Will our romance with you last, my love?

Song quote

“Moondance” is one of those rare songs that manages to implant itself in the collective consciousness of popular music, moving into the sacred territory of the standard, the classics.

Tom Maginnis

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