30 of The Best Moon Songs Vol. 1

As the Earth's only natural satellite and closest celestial body, the moon inspires us to a particular degree in art, such as painting, literature and, of course, music. The moon as the main theme in pieces of music can be found in a wide musical spectrum.
There are popular classical pieces of music such as La Lune by Claude Debussy and countless pop and rock songs that take up the mysterious, romantic theme of the moon.

1. Dancing in the Moonlight - Toploader

The lyrics of the song Dancing in the Moonlight describe how people dance together at night in the moonlight, have fun and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. The cover version by the British band Toploader from 2000 was successful in the European, Australian and New Zealand official music charts. In the official lyrics video, animated skeletons, a werewolf and other Halloween characters dance together to the moonlight.

2. My Moon My Man - Feist

The lyrics of My Moon My Man by Canadian singer-songwriter Feist are about her relationship with the moon. One can conclude - but that is pure speculation - that the moon is a metaphorical comparison for a relationship with her husband. The song title already says My Moon My Man. In the lyrics, Feist uses the linguistic stylistic device oxymoron (contradiction in itself), which means: the dirtiest cleaning.

3. The Killing Moon - Echo & The Bunnymen

The 1984 song The Killing Moon by the British post-punk band Echo & The Bunnymen has a deep meaning and can by no means be deciphered by a song analysis, no matter how complex. For the band's singer Ian McCulloch, the song is "(...) about everything (...) it contains the answer to the meaning of life. (...)"[1]

4. Walking On The Moon - The Police

Originally, the song had absolutely nothing to do with the moon. The song title was initially 'Walking Round The Room' when Sting, the singer and bassist of the British band The Police, was wandering around drunk in a Munich hotel room, came up with a riff for the song and sang 'Walking round the room, ya, ya, walking round the room' to it. According to Sting, the song title 'Walking Round The Room' wasn't stupid enough for him, so he switched to the even more stupid title Walking On The Moon.[2]

5. Man On The Moon - R.E.M.

The R.E.M. song Man On The Moon is a tribute to one of the most popular American comedians, or rather performance artists, of the 1970s. But what do the moon and Elvis Presley in the lyrics have to do with Andy Kaufman? Just as there were rumors about the death of Elvis Presley that Elvis may not have died in 1977 but was still alive afterwards, there were rumors that Andy Kaufmann did not die in 1984 but lived on. Finally, the moon, or more precisely the moon landing, is a link to the deaths of Elvis and Andy Kaufman, because there were also claims by conspiracy theorists that NASA landings on the moon did not happen. Conspiracy theories claimed that the moon landings between 1969 and 1972 were faked by NASA. An Institute of Physics article states that every single argument claiming that NASA faked the moon landings has been debunked.[3]

6. Full Moon - The Black Ghosts

The song Full Moon by the English music duo The Black Ghosts is the 3rd track on the official soundtrack to the 2008 American film Twilight. The lyrics of Full Moon are thematically linked to the content of the film. In addition to the female lead Stella (played by Kirsten Stewart), the male lead Edward Cullen (played by Robert Pattionson) has a direct connection to the full moon, as he is a vampire.

7. To The Moon & Back - Savage Garden

On the alternative album cover (1998 re-release cover) of the 1996 single To the Moon and Back by the Australian pop duo Savage Garden, the two members Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones are featured in the foreground. The earth and the moon are visible in the background from a space perspective.
To the Moon and Back was one of the duo's most successful singles.

8. Harvest Moon - Neil Young

With over 100 million views, the music video for the Neil Young song Harvest Moon is the most popular on his official YouTube channel.
The music video plays in the evening until late at night and the full moon appears several times when the night sky is clear. The video shows Neil Young playing a double role in a music bar with a large dance floor in the countryside, dancing with a woman and performing with his band at the same time. Later, a flashback shows him as a young man dancing with his girlfriend in this music bar.

9. Space Oddity - David Bowie

The David Bowie song Space Oddity was released as quickly as possible on July 11, 1969, so that the release date of the single would be before the moon landing of Apollo 11.
After breaking up with his girlfriend at the time, Bowie found inspiration for the song in the Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Oddissey. David Bowie had seen the science fiction classic from 1968 three times in the cinema by this time.[4]

10. Thriller - Michael Jackson

The second and third lines of the lyrics to Michael Jackson's song Thriller from 1983 are "and something evil's lurking in the dark under the moonlight". The music video was directed by the American movie director John Landis. The music video lasts almost 14 minutes.

11. Pink Moon - Nick Drake

The Nick Drake song Pink Moon from his studio album of the same name was recorded at the end of 1971 and is the first track on the album of the same name. In 1999, the song was used for a commercial for a German automobile manufacturer's convertible.

12. Moon - Kid Francescoli

The music project Kid Francescoli consists of the American Julia Minkin from Chicago and the Frenchman Mathieu Hocine from Marseille. The video for the song Moon, which was published on YouTube in 2017, now has almost 100 million views.

13. Moon River - Henry Mancini

Moon River is a famous movie song (Breakfast at Tiffany's from 1961), composed by Henry Mancini and written by Johnny Mercer. The song was even supposed to be removed from the movie for reasons of shortening. However, Audrey Hepburn, who sang Moon River in the movie, campaigned for the song to remain, which earned Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1961.[5]

14. Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival

If you only pay attention to the melody of the 1969 Creedance Clearwater Revival song Bad Moon Rising and ignore the lyrics, you might assume the lyrics are cheerful. But according to John Fogerty, this is not the case, as can be read in the book Up Around The Bend (1998, Craig Werner): "Here you've got this song with all these hurricanes and blowing and raging ruin and all that, but it's 'I see a bad moon rising.' It's a happy-sounding tune, right?".[6]

15. Moon In Water - Underworld

If you read through the lyrics of the song Moon In Water by British band Underworld, you'll realize that the lyrics are more profound for a dance track than you might expect. The lyrics are based on the metaphor (The Moon Reflected in the Water) from the book The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War by the Japanese samurai and Zen Buddhist student Yagyu Munenori.
The metaphor is made between the reflection of the moon and looking at our body in a mirror. The moon reflected in water is an immediate phenomenon. It is a metaphor for our human mind. Just as the moon is directly reflected in the water, things, objects are directly reflected by the mind.[7]

16. New Moon On Monday - Duran Duran

In the book I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, Duran Duran band members Andy Taylor and Nick Rhodes say that the music video for the 1984 song New Moon On Monday is the band's least favorite.[8]

In the official music video for the song, which begins with a theater scene, a moon appears in a cloudy night sky at exactly 02 minutes and 54 seconds. The scene with the moon only lasts about a second.

17. Can't Fight The Moonlight - LeAnn Rimes

Dianne Warren wrote the theme song Can't Fight the Moonlight for the 2000 American movie Coyote Ugly. The song is about how, as night falls, the love of two people in love can no longer be resisted. The moonlight that metaphorically reveals their real feelings for each other will be too strong and can no longer be suppressed.

18. The RAH Band - Clouds Across The Moon

Exactly 40 years after the creation of the 1984 song Clouds Across The Moon by The Rah Band, an official AI-generated music video was published.
The lyrics describe a conversation between a woman on Earth and her partner, a flight commander on Mars. The conversation between the two is not stable and the connection eventually breaks down due to violent storms in the asteroid belt. As she watches the clouds drifting over the moon, she hopes and prays that her partner will return to her soon.

19. Frank Sinatra - Fly Me To The Moon

20. The Waterboys - The Whole of the Moon

21. Shivaree - Goodnight Moon

22. Belinda Carlisle - La Luna

23. Full Moon Baby - Hollie Cook

24. Moonlight Feels Right - Starbuck

25. Clair De Lune - Flight Facilities feat. Christine Hoberg

26. Moonlight Shadow - Mike Oldfield ft. Maggie Reilly

27. Brandy - Full Moon

28. Moonshadow - Yusuf / Cat Stevens

29. Beth Orton - Moon

30. Moonlight - Grace VanderWaal


[1] Whatley, J. (2021, January 20). The Story Behind The Song: Echo & The Bunnymen’s post-punk masterclass ‘The Killing Moon’ Far Out Magazine. https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/story-behind-echo-bunnymen-the-killing-moon/

[2] Sting.com > Discography > Walking on the Moon, 7’’. (n.d.). L'Historia Bandido by Phil Sutcliffe and Hugh Fielder. 1981. https://web.archive.org/web/20190218082118/https://www.sting.com/discography/index/album/albumId/145/tagName/Singles%20(The%20Police)

[3] How do we know that we went to the Moon? | Institute of Physics. (n.d.). How Do We Know That We Went to the Moon? | Institute of Physics. https://www.iop.org/explore-physics/moon/how-do-we-know-we-went-to-the-moon

[4] DeMain, B. (2021, June 20). The story behind the song: Space Oddity by David Bowie. Louder. https://www.loudersound.com/features/story-behind-the-song-space-oddity-david-bowie

[5] O’Brien, J. (2015, June 9). The history of Henry Mancini’s Moon River. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33058351

[6] Up around the bend : the oral history of Creedence Clearwater Revival : Werner, Craig Hansen, 1952-, pp. 144–145: Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive. (1998). Internet Archive. https://archive.org/details/uparoundbendoral00wern/mode/2up

[7] Able, V. (2021, March 16). The moon in the water, the body in the mirror. The Dewdrop. https://thedewdrop.org/2021/03/16/the-moon-in-the-water-yagyu-munenori/

[8] Winter, J. (2011, November 2). I want my MTV: Drugs and Money and cows in boardrooms | TIME.com. TIME.com. https://entertainment.time.com/2011/11/02/i-want-my-mtv-drugs-and-money-and-cows-in-boardrooms/

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