Moonlight In Samosa

Album: Pictures At Eleven (1982)

Songfacts®:

  • "Moonlight In Samosa" is the second track on Robert Plant's debut solo album, Pictures at Eleven. It's also the B-side of "Burning Down One Side," which was the best-selling single on the collection.

    It's a love song that feels almost as though it's being played in a dream, and that may indeed be what it's about. The lyrics describe Plant repeatedly passing by an old lover who doesn't seem to notice him in return. For the most part, the song is written as though detailing real events, but a couple lines cast that in doubt and bring us the dream hypothesis:

    Day after day I turn it over in my mind
    Dream after dream it's hard to tell you how I find


    Whether talking about waking life or a dream, the song has a mystical feel that features Plant's signature man-siren voice at its most ethereal.
  • This is the kind of unabashedly romantic song Led Zeppelin sought to avoid. Jimmy Page and John Bonham, for instance, strongly disliked "All My Love." They only gave in to it because it was about Plant's recently deceased son.

    In carving out his own solo career, Plant sought to manifest his own artistic vision and break away from Zeppelin. Despite his legendary carousing, he was always known as a romantic at heart.
  • The song's sound was also influenced by Robbie Blunt, who co-wrote and played guitar on all the songs on the album.

    Phil Collins was another influence on the song in that he drummed on it (as he did for most of the album) and in that he convinced Plant to move forward with publishing this album. Many of the managers and executive types around Plant wanted him to essentially try to replicate Zeppelin, but Plant wanted something more unique to him. He may have given in to the pressures and canned this album entirely (which is what his management wanted) if not for Collins, who was still riding the monstrous success of Face Value, his debut solo album. Collins was a confidante throughout the whole affair and helped Plant stick to his guns.
  • One of the strangest aspects of the song is the title. We can't find any place on Earth named Samosa, and the only use of the word refers to the food, which is a pastry stuffed full of vegetables, legumes, meats, or combinations of all three. In America it's usually found on menus of Indian restaurants, but it originally came from Central Asia and the Middle East.

    Nearly all of the songs on Pictures at Eleven have funky titles that don't seem to have any significance, but this one is particularly odd. Perhaps it refers to the literal image of moonlight within samosa, which itself is pretty weird.

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