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All about Van Morrison's "Moondance"
"It's a marvelous night ..."
This is a fan page devoted to the song "Moondance" by Van Morrison.
Moondance is one of the greatest pop songs of all time. Seductive and sincerely romantic, with gorgeous music and great singing by Morrison. When you hear Moondance, you feel like you're right there, on a warm autumn night, falling in love.
YouTube video of "Moondance"
The previous Moondance video I had posted here was taken down by YouTube, but the person who posted this one has a caption thanking a bunch of corporations for allowing the song to be shared, so I'm hoping that means that this one is legal. We'll see how long it stays up.
And here's an instrumental version. - Curtis Ray Smith performs Moondance on guitar
Words and music by Van Morrison
Recorded at A & R Studios, New York City, in 1969.
* Van Morrison - vocals, guitar
* John Klingberg - bass guitar
* Jef Labes - piano
* Gary Mallaber - drums
* John Platania - guitar
* Jack Schroer - alto saxophone
* Collin Tilton - tenor saxophone, flute
Producers - Van Morrison and Lewis Merenstein
Released on the album Moondance in 1970, Warner Brothers Records label.
Released as a single in 1977, Warner Brothers Records label.
How was it written?
A little musical analysis of Moondance
Moondance is in the key of A-minor.
What gives the song its feel is the chord progression that opens the song and repeats through the major part of the verse. It goes back and forth between an A-minor chord and a B-minor chord. In music theory lingo, that's a 1-chord and then a 2-chord (in the key of A, the A note is scale tone number 1, and B is scale tone number 2). This pattern is played on the piano, accompanied by bass and drums.
It struck me that this very same minor-mode, 1-chord-to-2-chord pattern is also used in another iconic song, Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. But, obviously, the two songs get very different emotional effects from the same progression. Jackson uses it with a stark beat and a lot of echo to give it an eerie feeling, while Morrison's warm acoustic instrumentation and swingy 6/8 beat make it feel comfortable and sexy.
The main melody stays in the natural minor scale, with a gentle flowing line that feels like a spontaneous, natural expression. A little more musical tension builds at the end of the verses, leading into a more boisterous feeling in the chorus before returning to the main groove.
The easy melody, with its comfortable, syncopated rhythm is very adaptable to bending and improvising, which we hear in the great piano and saxophone solos. These are followed by Morrison's vocal "solo" where he plays around with the first verse and then just riffs his way through to the end of the song.
And I'm not the only one who thinks it's a classic!
Moondance is listed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of
the 500 greatest songs of all time.
Vote on "Moondance"!
How do you feel about the song Moondance by Van Morrison?
Own this song!
Mp3 download of the song.
The entire album on CD.
Vote on the "Moondance" album cover!
Does the album cover for Moondance by Van Morrison remind you of a Vincent van Gogh self-portrait?
Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
This is the Bobby McFerrin version, released in 2005
Cover versions of "Moondance"
LOTS of people have done cover versions of Moondance. There are two versions that Van Morrison mentioned he really liked, one by Bobby McFerrin and one by Grady Tate.
The Grady Tate version is not available through Amazon US, but it is at Amazon UK. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moondance/dp/B001N19SSU
Perform "Moondance" yourself!
Learn how to play "Moondance"
How to play Moondance on guitar - Abazarko lays it out very nicely
This instructional video is in two parts
How do you feel about this song? When did you first hear it? Have you ever performed it? Danced to it? Made out to it?