Van Morrison – Moondance

One of Van the Man’s best songs. The jazz and bouncy feel of this song hooks you. I really started to notice the song in the movie An American Werewolf in London. 

The song was the title track to the Moondance album released in 1970.

Van didn’t release the song as a single until 1977…over seven years after it was first released. The song peaked at #92 in the Billboard 100 in 1977.

“Moondance” started as a Jazz saxophone instrumental, and Van played that original sax solo he wrote for the song. Van had said he used to play this sax number over and over, anytime h picked up his horn.

The song was listed as #226 in Rolling Stone magazine’s December 2004 feature “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

From Songfacts

Van Morrison comes up with songs many different ways, sometimes a lyric or title idea sparks a song, and other times it’s a melody. 

That Rolling Stone quote is about all you’re going to get from Van regarding the song. He is notoriously fickle when it comes to speaking about his music, as he feels that the songs should speak for themselves. The liner notes to the Moondance album were written by his girlfriend Janet Planet, and instead of a traditional explanation of the recording process or a list of thank-you’s these notes are a fable, telling the story of an artist in ancient times who has a great gift but keeps it to himself. When his wife gets sick, he cures her using his gift of song. She then asks, “But who will ease your pain, who will save you?”

The flute is a big part of this song. It was played by Collin Tilton, who replaced John Payne on the instrument for the Moondance album.

This song plays throughout the sex scene in the 1981 movie An American Werewolf in London (Director John Landis also asked Cat Stevens for the use of “Moonshadow,” but was turned down). It was also used in a 2002 episode of the TV series The West Wing.

Pianist and organist Jeff Labes recalled the recording of the track to Uncut: “I remember ‘Moondance’ itself was a big question mark. It was jazzy, and didn’t seem to belong to the pack. The first time we recorded it, it came out really well, but Van thought there must be a catch. So we did it about a dozen times, and ended up going back to the first one, He liked to sing live along with the track, because Sinatra did that. He loved having a first-take vocal. He was looking for the magic.”

Moondance

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

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

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

One more moondance with you in the moonlight
On a magic night
La, la, la, la in the moonlight
On a magic night
Can’t I just have one more dance with you my love

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

24 thoughts on “Van Morrison – Moondance”

  1. The live version was new to me and I think that I like the studio cut better. This is odd because I usually like live versions more, but I think that Van’s voice sounds better on the record. It is nice to see the group performing and I can see that Van enjoys singing this song and improvising on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He really improvises live a lot. I saw him once and was floored…nothing sounded like the record but he hit notes he never did on record…personally I’m more of a record guy but there are exceptions…I like the studio version here better also.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I never heard that version before…wow. It’s a great song regardless…I first noticed it in An American Werewolf in London. Van’s voice is great in it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always had an ear for the jazzy sound, so this hooked me the first time I heard it some 50 years ago. Great bass line, love the sax and the flute… it’s almost one of those songs where the lyrics are superfluous…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As you might know I’m a massive Van fan…but this song always left me cold. Always skipped it on the moondance CD! It is a departure is style for him, so I’m guessing other people may feel the same way…though it could just be me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not a favorite of mine and I get what you are saying. It took years for me to warm up to it. It’s the over all feel of it that I like now.

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      1. Yep again! I got off the conference call and feel asleep. I skipped the call tonight. I’m off tomorrow but still will talk to him tomorrow morning. It’s a good thing…getting modern!!!! I’ll be leaving 2003 behind.

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      2. Yea because I think he got tired of hearing me say…oh I can’t do that or this. When you run 2003 server…you are effectively in 2003.

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