The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Album: The Best of Glen Campbell (1974)


  • The song's writer Jimmy Webb took the title from a 1966 science fiction novel of the same name by Robert A Heinlein.
  • Uncut magazine asked Webb how this song fits into his canon. The songwriter replied: "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress was a song that became a standard without ever becoming a hit and was symbiotic of that decade of my life, my struggle, my failure, my angst, my pride and even scorn... and ultimately my crash - literally, as it turns out. I flew my Schweizer 2-32 flat into the side of Mt. Baden Powell with my buddy Henry Diltz in the rear cockpit snapping photos. How could I keep pounding my head into this wall? Every time I thought it would kill me! I remember crying tears because Gus Dudgeon wouldn't agree to produce a record for me. Gus who? And yet there is 'The Moon' recorded by Judy Collins, Joe Cocker, Joan Baez, Linda Ronstadt, Shawn Colvin, Pat Metheny, Glen Campbell. A list of people who got it. I began to rationalize my albums as expensive demos. Why not?"

Comments: 2

  • Patti from UkLoved this song in an instant. Beautiful and emotive lyrics lend themselves to Mr Campbell's rendition of a tune that needed composing and performing by him. A song to love forever...
  • Staley from Dallas, TxJimmy Webb may have gotten the title from a Heinlein novel, but Heinlein got it from Walt Whitman. This is another of Webb's most beautiful melodies, though the lyrics are a little on the opaque, overly poetic side.
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