The Moon, it conjures all sorts of ideas. From folklore to folk wisdom, every culture knows or believes in the Moon’s influences in everything from tides to moods. Even those beliefs that may not have scientific basis are real in the minds of the believers, and may be something just not yet proved. Many languages and cultures consider objects to be either masculine or feminine and much of the world considers the Sun ,(yep, ours has a proper name; some other stars are “suns” to other planets), as feminine and the Moon to be masculine, however, the Germans transpose those gender assignments and, if there be any sense to the labels, I tend to agree more with the latter.
The Moon,(yes, I am capitalizing it because it is not a moon, but the Moon, Earth’s satellite; and yes, I will type Earth, not earth, as I’m talking about our planet, not soil), has its image enriching our minds from the time we are small. Our relatives tell us tales and sing us songs about it when we are still too young to understand it all, yet we absorb a great deal. We, in English-speaking countries, hear the whimsy of the Cow that jumped over it and her friends, that it laughed and sang while Wynken and Blynken and Nod fished for stars and in the most romantic nursery rhyme, the Owl looked up to it while he sang to the Pussy-Cat.
The romance department is where we usually place the Moon. Lt. Uhura was once in a romantic mood during ‘down time’ on the Enterprise in the original Star Trek series. She asked Mr.Spock what Vulcans do under the full moon, only to be informed by him that “Vulcan has no moon”, to which she sighed that she was not surprised .
Very often we combine romance and the Moon in music.
Classics like Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”, Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto #2”, (which was turned into “Full Moon and Empty Arms”) and Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” put most people straight into a romantic or soulful mood; (if you do not know these by name I can guarantee that you will know them to hear them), as will many others known to our generation. Many of our parents, (and we), listened to everything from the rather sappy “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” to the upbeat “Fly Me to the Moon” via Frank Sinatra. We, or they,(depending on your age), slow-danced to The Capris’ “There’s a Moon Out Tonight, “(which was obviously not recorded on Vulcan), and bopped to the Marcels’ version of “Blue Moon”, or sang along with every County singer’s version of “Blue Moon of Kentucky“, (including Elvis’).
I defy anyone to sit completely still when King Harvest’s “Dancing in the Moonlight” plays.
My sister was a huge fan of Gale Storm and her show, “Oh, Susanna” and had me watch it with her when we were kids.I don’t know how it would hold up now but Gale was also a singer and often sang near the end of that sitcom. Her biggest hit was “Dark Moon” and may have been the first pop song I ever memorized. I had not heard it for decades but when I heard it again, I sang along with it, word for word. And heartbreak is a big lunar theme. Carlo Buti had a huge international hit with “Luna Rosa“. He was considered a true superstar of the 1930’s and 40’s. His sales-records were only broken in the last decade or so, surpassing even the likes of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra,( who recorded an English version of the song).
The Moon has also been used in the most rousing revolutionary ballad ever, “The Rising of the Moon”, to possibly the most subtle anti-war song, “Tomorrow night you’ll find me sleeping underneath the moon at Yellow River”…I could go on and on.
When Andy Williams had his fantastically popular variety show, (which was very funny, by the way), he would, of course, sing on it. Once, a crowd of people gathered around him.”Andy’s going to sing! Andy’s going to sing!”, they cried as they called more in. When he broke out in “Moon River”, they groaned and walked away. An elderly couple stayed behind. As the woman shook her head sadly, the man approached Andy and said, “Your mother and I love you, Son, but enough is enough” and they walked away.
And I think my mother would say the same to me over this post. Enough!
Do you have any lunar thoughts, musical or otherwise?