Cat Stevens – Moonshadow

I bought Teaser and the Firecat because I enjoyed Steven’s album Tea For The Tillerman so much. I wasn’t disappointed…this was the first song I connected with on the album.

The song peaked at #30 in the Billboard 100 in 1971. The album peaked at #2 the same year.

Cat Stevens on the song: ” “I was on a holiday in Spain. I was a kid from the West End (of London) – bright lights, et cetera. I never got to see the moon on its own in the dark, there were always streetlamps. So there I was on the edge of the water on a beautiful night with the moon glowing, and suddenly I looked down and saw my shadow. I thought that was so cool, I’d never seen it before.”

He wrote part of the story of an animated short film that featured this very song. It was shown at the Fantastic Animation Festival in 1977. It begins with a still of the two characters from the “Teaser and the Firecat” album cover who then come to life.

 

From Songfacts

Stevens wrote this about finding hope in any situation. Be present and joyful. See life as it is, right now, and don’t compare it to others’ lives, or other times in your life. Every moment in life is rich and unique; whether we are aware of it or not, we are always leaping and hopping on a moonshadow – the inescapable present moment. If we are wrapped up in our whirlpools of worry and concern about what could be, or what has been, we are missing the richness of life as it is.

In the bridge of the song, Stevens seems to be speaking of faith, indicating clearly that, although he is experiencing this ecstasy in the present, despite all the losses and suffering of existence, it is the light that has found him, and not the other way around. He is surrendering to a power greater than himself – the “faithful light.” 

Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, considers this his favorite of his old songs. It’s one of the songs that convinced him to release a Greatest Hits record of his work as Cat Stevens. He felt its uplifting message could help people.

Director John Landis wanted to use this song in his 1981 horror comedy An American Werewolf in London. The film featured a number of songs with “moon” in the title (“Moon Dance”, “Blue Moon”, etc.) but Stevens, who had recently converted to Islam, refused permission because he did not like the subject matter of the film. 

Stevens has in recent years called this song the “Optimist’s anthem.” 

This song was used for a “Teaser And The Firecat” animation. The cover of the album came to life as the boy and cat ride on the moon while this song plays. It can be found on the Cat Stevens – Majikat (Earth Tour 1976) DVD. 

Artists to record this song include LaBelle, Roger Whittaker and Mandy Moore.

Moonshadow

Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land
Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if I won’t have to work no more

And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if I won’t have to cry no more

Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

And if I ever lose my legs, I won’t moan, and I won’t beg
Yes if I ever lose my legs, Oh if I won’t have to walk no more

And if I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south
Yes if I ever lose my mouth, Oh if I won’t have to talk

Did it take long to find me? I asked the faithful light
Did it take long to find me? And are you gonna stay the night

Moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow