Van Morrison


Song Review by

It took some time. Van Morrison's title track to his third solo album would not become a charted single until 1977, but this sturdy number certainly stands the test of time. "Moondance" is one of those rare songs that manages to implant itself on the collective consciousness of popular music, passing into the hallowed territory of a standard, a classic. It's breezy jazz, overtly romantic lyrics, and smoldering cool hybrid seem so intrinsic as to blur musical genres and bridge generational gaps to the point where almost any self-respecting wedding band would be remiss in not having a crack at it. Van Morrison combines a sauntering jazz-folk groove with unguardedly romantic phrasing -- brilliantly accented by the swinging cadence of his trademark marble-mouthed delivery: "Well, it's a marvelous night for a moondance/With the stars up above in your eyes/A fantabulous night to make romance/'Neeth the cover of October skies/And all the leaves in 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." Perhaps the song's biggest hook is the playful, sophisticated air of the horn section, blowing breezy-cool lines to match Morrison's autumnal imagery as the track rises up in the bridge to meet the chorus, Morrison letting his voice loosen for the first time as he calls, "And all the night's magic seems to whisper and hush/And all the soft moonlight seems to shine, in you blush." The walking bass line, accenting piano, and acoustic guitars give way to a more rollicking chorus alternating quick turnaround scales with a gentle syncopation as Morrison asks with heavily accented, soulful lines, "Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love/Can I just make some more romance with a-you, my love." After tasteful piano and sax solos, the track becomes loose as the jam starts to jive harder, the various instrumental accents getting a little more adventurous, Morrison following suit with a chopped vocal delivery. By the last chorus, Morrison has descended into full-blown scatting, belting stuttered lines as he improvises on the song's final lines before bringing the proceedings to a close.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Moondance 1970
No Image 1975
Various Artists
Warner Bros.
No Image 1986 Northlake
No Image 1989 Polygram
The Best of Van Morrison [Mercury] 1990 Pol
Classic Rock: Rock Renaissance, Vol. 2 1990
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:37
Vanthology: A Tribute to Van Morrison 2003 Evidence 4:52
The Piano Sessions 2004
Various Artists
Live at Montreux 1980 and 1974 2006 Eagle Vision
Live at Austin City Limits 2006 Exile Records
At the Movies: Soundtrack Hits 2007 EMI Music Distribution / Manhattan Records 3:43
Still on Top: The Greatest Hits 2007 Polydor / Universal / Universal Strategic Marketing 4:31
No Image 2007
Various Artists
WEA 4:37
Astral Weeks/Moondance/His Band and the Street Choir 2008 Rhino 4:36
Classic Rock [EMI] 2008
Various Artists
EMI 4:31
No Image 2008
Various Artists
WEA 4:37
The Old Grey Whistle Test 2010
Various Artists
Rhino / Wea UK 4:34
Live on Air 2012 Blueline / IMV / IMV Blueline / XXL Media 5:21
The  Ultimate Hits: The Best 2012 Blueline / IMV / IMV Blueline / Laser Media 4:33
La Collection RTL Georges Lang, Vol. 3 2014
Various Artists
Warner Music 4:34
100 Hits: Super 70s Karaoke 2014
Various Artists
100 Hits
The Essential Van Morrison 2015 Sony Music 4:34
When Cool Was King 2015
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 4:34
It's Too Late to Stop Now...Vols. II, III, IV and DVD 2016 Legacy / Sony Music 5:20
American Highway
Various Artists
Rhino / WMTV 4:36
Best of British
Various Artists
No Image
No Image Rhino / Warner Bros. 4:34
No Image
Various Artists
Warner Music France 4:34
The Jazz Album [Decca]
Various Artists
Decca 4:32
Whata' Wonderful 70's
Various Artists
Warner Music 4:37
blue highlight denotes editor's pick