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The Whole Of The Moon


The Waterboys

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Mike Scott sketched out the song in a New York hotel after his girlfriend asked him if it was hard to write a song. The result was a tribute to some artists he admired, including Prince and the writer C.S. Lewis.
The Waterboys were a British group formed in London in 1981 by Mike Scott (guitar/vocals) and Anthony Thistlewaite (multi-instrumentalist). They later added Karl Wallinger (guitar) Steve Wickham (fiddle) and Kevin Wilkinson (drums). This was their first UK Top 40 hit.
The year after this was released, Wallinger left the band to form World Party, who had a #27 US hit with "Ship Of Fools."
When this was re-issued in 1991 it went to #3 in the UK, becoming The Waterboys only British Top 20 hit. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for all above)
The Waterboys
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Comments (10):

I thought it was about God... just a thought
- Easnadh, New Plymouth, New Zealand
I always covered this song with the definite feeling that the sentiment behind the lyrics was one of admiring the ease with which someone (the "you" in the song) cruised through life, as oppose to the obstacles scaled by the writer:
"I pictured a rainbow, you held it in your hands..."
"I spoke about wings, you just flew"
and indeed the title:
"I saw the crescent, you saw THE WHOLE OF THE MOON" clearly paints a picture of the writer looking with admiration and envy at someone to whom things come very easily.
- Tracey-Lee, Cape Town, South Africa
The Waterboys commercially most succesful song The Whole of the Moon, was markedly unfinished when recording of This is the Sea began. It started with a scribble on the back of an envelope on a wintery New York street, in Jan. 1985 and was fully completed in May 1985 in a London studio, when the verse "unicorns and cannonballs, palaces and piers' was added .
The Waterboys was founded in 1982 by Mike Scott (Dec. 14th 1958), In fact the Waterboys is Mike Scott, picking musicians for recording and live peforming.
First recording for the Waterboys started December 1981 in London, first live performance was Febr. 19th 1984 in the Batschkapp club , Frankfurt Germany.
First long time contributer till 1986, was Anthony Thistlewaite, mainly on saxophone. After that from 1986 till today is Irishman Steve Wickham (fiddle).
Multi instrumentalist Karl Wallinger from Wales played with Mike Scott on two albums, Pagan Place (2nd, 1983) and This is the Sea (3rd, 1985) on which he contributed only on piano and keyboards.
From September 1991 untill May 2000, Mike Scott worked and recorded as a solo artists. Since June 16th the Waterboys is again his vehicle to record and perform his music.
- gertjan, Haaren, Netherlands
Actually Mike Scott is From Ayrshire
- andy, glasgow, United Kingdom
i know this song was also part of a tribute to Greenpeace...part of the Greenpeace Breakthrough 2 Album. I always thought the words were very greenpeacey...til I realized the tribute came after. makes sense though.
- nicole, Manila, Philippines
I am so curious about "Whole Of The Moon". Does anyone have a more detailed meaning of this song please?
- Melissa, Sydney, Australia
gotta say... these dudes wrote an absolute cracker called 'be my enemy' - look it up - once u get past the cr@ppy intro, it's top notch.
went to see them live in dublin a while ago tho and was bitterly disappointed, to be honest.
- joe, dublin
Hey Marlow in Perth. G'Day mate. The Whole of the Moon really was released in 1985. I think it got into the Vic/NSW charts in late 1986, then to you guys in WA 1988. These things take time eh but good things come to those that wait. Look forward to retaining that Urn next time out.
- Richard, Didcot, England
-Hi to yduR of Knoxville, TN. The Waterboys founder, frontman and inspiration, Mike Scott is actually from Edindburgh in Scotland but he's been drawn further towards Ireland and its music for many years now. Steve Wickham who plays fiddle is Irish and many of the bands constantly changing line up have been from Ireland. Check the website at
- Richard, Didcot, England
great song! im sure it wasnt in the aussie charts until 1988
- marlow, perth, Australia
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