Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mr. Moonlight

Sorry to be so late today, kids. In fact, I have no time at all to write anything decent. But I've ALWAYS got time for a little "Mr. Moonlight!"

What a deliciously weird song. So weird, in fact, that most people seem to hate it. But those people are just being silly, because "Mr. Moonlight" is hilarious. John does a phenomenal vocal on the "on the nights you don't come my way" parts, going for broke with all his usual verve, as well as a touch of game-show-host exuberance. Paul's the one playing that ridiculous Hammond organ part, which sounds like the musical equivalent of glitter, or something. And for some reason George is playing bongos.

The craziness in evidence here makes it surprising that the original "Mr. Moonlight" isn't actually quite as much of a novelty song as the Beatles turned it into. In fact, it's a little bit awesome. Released in the 1962 by the phenomenally named Dr. Feelgood and the Interns (a made-up name for a blues pianist named Piano Red and his band), this was the B-side to a song called "Dr. Feelgood." I suspect no one would remember this if the Beatles hadn't covered it.

You know what's really weird? The Hollies released a "Mr. Moonlight" cover the same year as the Beatles did, 1964. The Hollies. Isn't that weird? I didn't even know this until I was searching around on YouTube for these other two videos, and some Hollies videos came up instead. They make their version all calypso-like. Consider this a free bonus.

Honestly, though, I love that the Beatles chose this completely odd little B-side for Beatles for Sale among all the other covers they could have thrown on. If nothing else, just for the inhuman wail John opens the song with, and for the high comedy on display here. Unfortunately, I have no time to say much more, but I'm in the pro-"Mr. Moonlight" club. Hope you are too. Or that at least one of these versions is one you find lovable!


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  2. Let's try again. I love the opening John vocal. Makes me think of Little Richard. Cool way to start the song, but after that there's not a lot to like. It feels "campy" to me, and I prefer sincerity, passion, et al. Compared to yesterday's song - All I've Got To Do - it is lackluster.

  3. I never knew this song was hated until like a year ago. I never minded it much. I can see their point, but I liked it OK for too long to be swayed. This album's magic, anyway.

  4. It's no "All I've Got to Do," true. But sometimes I'm okay with the Beatles just performing for me. This one works on that level for me. And is prepared them for the "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)" madness that would come later.

  5. I love this song, too. Especially the anthology version, or some excerpt I heard somewhere in which John tries and fails (hilariously) to reach the "MISTEEEEERRR Moonlight" bit.

  6. Oh, yeah! That is Anthology, I think! I forgot about that-- HILARIOUS.