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Moonlight Shadow by Mike Oldfield

Album: CrisesReleased: 1983Charted:
  • This is widely regarded to be a tribute to John Lennon, who was murdered prior to Mike Oldfield writing the song.
  • Oldfield has said that this was inspired by the Tony Curtis movie Houdini.
  • Maggie Reilly sang lead on this track. She has appeared on several of Oldfield's albums.
  • The meaning of the line "Caught in the middle of a hundred and five" caused confusion for many years. Oldfield was finally asked about its meaning in an interview for his website in 1995: "Well, it was a hundred and five people, just signifying a large amount of people, and presumably it was a hundred and five rather than a hundred and four or whatever because "five" rhymed with the next line!".

    A look at the extended version of the song supports this, with the line "The crowd gathered just to leave him" creating the image of a crowd of (105) people around the man's dead body. It didn't make much sense before Mike's explanation, though, as why would 105 people be out on the banks of a river at "4 a.m. in the morning"?

    Also, the video of the song shows the scene of the incident as totally desolate and lit only by the moonlight. The only crowd of people in the video (which by no means reaches 105) are in the weird mansion house the widow runs in to, presumably in search for help. But the version of the track used for the video is the short radio edit, minus the verse describing the "crowd." So then the line "Caught in the middle of a hundred and five" was a real mystery. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Marcus Smith-Willson - Birmingham, England
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Comments: 23

4 a. m in The morning?

Anyway! Great song!

Big fan of songfacts!!!!
Mauricio - Mexico
Good song. If you like a song, you need not try to understand the meaning. What about all those 1960's songs, probably written by people on pot or LSD, that made absolutely no sense! This song was performed by various artists... the one I liked the best was by a mulata singer called Helen DeMacque, also known as "Pepsi." There is also a karaoke version... a fairly easy song to sing. All these versions available on Youtube.Jan Worth - Costa Rica
Well, it is sad from the beginning. "...carried away on a moonlight shadow..." has death written all over it. I never "liked" the song, but it is very catchy. Were the lyrics more "garbled", as is often the case with American pop music, I would certainly find this song pleasant. Sorry to be down on it because so many love it; but death is a downer!Marc - Udmurtiya
Mike Oldfield with Maggie Rilley, a real top song.Teresa - Mechelen, Belgium
The song relates to the film "Houdini" as cited by Mike Oldfield in an interview.....It has been suggested that the lyrics of the song are a reference to the murder of John Lennon despite the fact that the events in the song do not correspond with those of Lennon's murder.[6][7] Lennon was shot four times just before 11pm, whereas in the song the time is 4am and the number of shots is six. When asked if Moonlight Shadow is a reference to John Lennon's murder in a 1995 interview, Oldfield responded:

Not really... well, perhaps, when I look back on it, maybe it was. I actually arrived in New York that awful evening when he was shot and I was staying at the Virgin Records house in Perry Street, which was just a few blocks down the road from the Dakota Building where it happened, so it probably sank into my subconscious. It was originally inspired by a film I loved - 'Houdini', starring Tony Curtis, which was about attempts to contact Houdini after he'd died, through spiritualism... it was originally a song influenced by that, but a lot of other things must have crept in there without me realizing it.
—Mike Oldfield, "Gareth Randall Interviews Mike Oldfield". http://tubular.net/articles/95_06.shtml.
Wikipedia "Moonlight Shadow"
Bob - La Roche-posay, France
About the line "Caught in the middle of a hundred and five"; as we are talking of a killing why not thinking of a Kalashnikov AK-105 assault rifle?Battista - Cornale, Italy
I am pretty sure you are wrong on Maggie Reilly singing it. Roger "Chappo" Chapman.Iztok - Kranj, Other - Europe
I have a version sung by Tracy Huang, superstar from Taiwan. I was captivated by it at the first time I heard it and love it ever.Christie - Beijing, China
This song was featured in Dance Dance Revolution 5th Mix covered by E-Rotic. It was the first time I heard this song and liked it ever since.Juan - La Mirada, Ca
If you watch the video there's a woman reading a crystal ball - it appears she's seeing the story in moonlight and shadows from long ago via the crystal - the mansion with people standing quietly holding candles is also strange - I love this song because it is a bit of a mystry.
Ruth - Brisbane, Australia
At a New Years Eve private party at a friends house a few years ago I noticed a girl dancing to this song. She wasn´t a beauty at all, but she danced every line of the song, even the echoes in the voice. Never again I saw anybody dance in such a beautiful natural way. Whoever she was, she deserves to be mentioned here on this page.Curd - Mannheim, Germany
Wouldn't a toned down Celine Dion be able to redeem herself if she covered a tune like this? Keep it basic; just stick to the melody. It's a great tune for a whitey.Edwin - Vancouver, Bc
This song is just... Very confusing even though for once the artist actually tells you what it is about.Mitchell - Adelaide, Australia
in 1979 mike oldfield recorded a version of the theme tune for bbc tv's blue peter childrens programmeJeff - Liverpool, England
How does this song relate to the film "Houdini" ? Which are the lyrics that relate to the movie ?Cecile - Rennes, France

"The crowd gathered just beneath him."


"The crowd gathered just to leave him."
A - Fdsafds, Australia
this song is really good the guitar at the end is amazinElie - London
Lovely song, get cold shivers everytime I hear it. The video is very mysterious, and fits the song perfect!
Another great song by the great Oldfield.
T. Michels - Venlo, Netherlands
top tune,i downloaded this version the other day.its by a group called renaissance (the singer is called annie haslam)not sure which version i prefer though,they are both good!

gray from oldham
Gray - Manchester, England
The biggest of 12 UK hits for the man best known for his full-scale works... Other hits included "On Horseback", "In Dulci Jubilo" and "Portsmouth"Dave - Cardiff, Wales
This is my favorite song of all time... It's sad that Mike Oldfield, though a huge influence, isn't that big to the point that people actually know his music.

I have all 5 versions of this song, too ^_^ I so happy.
Cliff - Keller, Tx
i love this song first heard it in italy, years later i bought the cd.!Jon-michael - Augusta, Georgia, Ga
This song was used for the intro to "Dave Angel - Eco Warrior" on the TV series 'The Fast Show'Luke - Manchester, England
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