Moon in art and culture
- By the light, of
the silvery moon,
- I want to spoon,
my honey I'll croon love's tune.
- Honey moon, keep
a-shinin' in June.
- Your silv'ry beams will bring
- We'll be cuddlin' soon,
the silvery moon.
- (Edward Madden, 1909)
the classic trivial rhyme – Moon and June. But songwriters,
musicians and artists have had a long love-affair with our natural
satellite. On these pages we take a look at the influence of the Moon
on art and culture.
popular songs are about love, which traditionally takes place at night
when the business of the day is done and maybe prying eyes are absent.
So the Moon casts its soft gleam on one's amour, allowing one to see
them in a more romantic light than the harsh glare of sunlight, maybe.
So it's not surprising that many popular songs refer to the
As well as the silvery Moon listed
above, there’s the Blue Moon, of course. A true blue
Moon is another matter, as described on another page, but the Blue Moon of the Rodgers and
Hart 1934 song refers to someone being blue, meaning sad.
Then suddenly someone appears who makes all the difference, and the
blue Moon turns gold. The song itself is a standard and has been
recorded by singers from Ella Fitzgerald to Elvis Presley, but probably
the most unforgettable version is the 1961 recording by the 'doo-wop'
band The Marcels. Another pop standard is Fly Me to
the Moon, written by Bart Howard in 1954. Popularised by Frank Sinatra
in 1954, it contains the great lines:
Fly me to the Moon,
And let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars.
purists may complain that Jupiter, a gas giant world with no
significant axial tilt, doesn't have seasons, but Mars certainly does.
recorded a whole
album of Moon tunes in 1966, as the Apollo missions were
gearing up for the first landing.
the early songs about the Moon referred to its romantic qualities, by
the 1960s going to the Moon became a reality and pop songs started to
refer to it as a place rather than a mellow night-time friend. Typical
was Jonathan King's 1965 Everyone's
Gone to the Moon which refers to
a world that has lost its way.
are hundreds of songs with the Moon in their titles, so see how many
you can think of. You can
find over 200 of them on Cheryl
Robertson's Moon pages. Here are a few, with popular
artistes, to get you started:
Carolina Moon (Connie Francis)
Becomes You (Bing Crosby)
Moon River (Andy Williams/ Danny
Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)
on, Harvest Moon (Laurel and Hardy)
Bad Moon Rising
(Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Moon lyrics will develop when there are people actually living there.
Will 22nd century pop songs refer to romantic assignations by
Earthlight, for example? And maybe by that time as we look up at the
Moon we'll see the twinkling lights of its cities on its unilluminated
portion. But will it still have the same appeal for lovers when we know
that other eyes are out there looking back at us?
The classics are much less Moon oriented than popular music. The two best-known works are both piano works: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and Debussy's Clair de Lune (also meaning Moonlight).
The first example is Beethoven's Piano Sonata No 14, which was given
its popular name by Ludwig Rellstab after Beethoven had died. However, Clair de Lune is the name which Debussy gave to the third movement of his Suite bergamasque.