The Waterboys – The Whole Of The Moon

The Waterboys - The Whole Of The Moon

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The Waterboys - The Whole Of The Moon


"The Whole of the Moon" is a song by the Waterboys which was released as a single from their album This Is the Sea in 1985. It is a classic of the band's repertoire and has been consistently played at live shows ever since its release. Written and produced by Mike Scott, the subject of the song has inspired some speculation.

The single was not a big success when initially released in 1985, only making the lower ends of the chart, although it reached number 12 on the Australian chart. Subsequently it became one of The Waterboys' best-known songs and their most commercially successful. It is arguably the band's signature song and was the Ivor Novello Award winner "Best Song Musically and Lyrically" in 1991.


The subject of the lyrics has inspired speculation, some of which has been rebutted by the writer. The song began as a "scribble on the back of an envelope on a wintry New York street", after Scott's girlfriend asked him if it was difficult to write a song.

Like The Waterboys' first single "A Girl Called Johnny", the song is a tribute to an inspirational figure or figures. In each line, the singer describes his own perspective and immediately contrasts it with that of the song's subject, summarizing the difference with the line "I saw the crescent / You saw the whole of the moon".

Allmusic instead suggests that its subject is a number of people who inspired Scott, including writer C. S. Lewis and the musician Prince. Scott himself says that he "couldn't have written" the song without having read Mark Helprin's novel Winter's Tale, but goes on to state that the song is not about Helprin.

The official Waterboys website's Frequently Asked Questions clarifies that Scott has said that the song's subject is "a composite of many people", including C. S. Lewis, but explicitly states that it is not about Prince. Musician Nikki Sudden, with whom Scott had collaborated before forming The Waterboys, has claimed that the song was written about himself.


The band members at the time were Mike Scott, Anthony ThistlethwaiteKarl Wallinger, and Roddy Lorimer. Drummer Kevin Wilkinson had left the band by the time "The Whole of the Moon" was recorded and drums were played by session player, Chris Whitten. Demoed but not finished at the beginning of the recording sessions, the song was eventually completed in May 1985.

1991 alternate sleeve

A feature of "The Whole of the Moon" is the trumpet work on the recording, courtesy of the classically trained Lorimer. Lorimer spent three days with Scott working on the song's arrangement and

"Went home with a tape of the song and thought about a more classical approach. After a while sitting at the piano I came up with the idea of antiphonal trumpets.

A piccolo trumpet on the left answered a piccolo on the right and then the same again, growing by adding a Bâ™­ trumpet below each side of the stereo picture. Mike loved it, except the slightly jazzy chords I had used on the run down at the very end, which he simplified. I used the same classical approach later in the song, mixing two classical-type trumpets behind a later verse."

Lorimer also contributes falsetto background vocals to the song, while Thistlethwaite, another brass section member, performs a saxophone solo near the end. Wallinger provided synthesizer, synth bass and backing vocals.


This Is the Sea is the third The Waterboys album, and the last of their "Big Music" albums. Considered by critics to be the finest album of their early rock-oriented sound, described as "epic" and "a defining moment", it was the first Waterboys album to enter the United Kingdom charts, peaking at number 37.

Steve Wickham makes his Waterboys recording debut playing violin on 'The Pan Within' and subsequently joined the band, appearing on the video of "The Whole of the Moon". This Is the Sea is the last album with contributions from Karl Wallinger, who left the group to form his own band, World Party.

Mike Scott, the album's principal songwriter and leader of The Waterboys, describes This Is the Sea as "the record on which I achieved all my youthful musical ambitions", "the final, fully realised expression of the early Waterboys sound", influenced by The Velvet UndergroundVan Morrison's Astral Weeks, and Steve Reich.

Regarding the end of the groups sound being tied to "The Big Music" after completing the album, Scott stated, "I finished with that kind of music to achieve whatever it was I was trying to achieve with that album. That overdubbed big sounding music, I didn't need to do it anymore."

The album was recorded between March and July 1985, and released that October (see 1985 in music). A remastered and expanded version was released in 2004This Is the Sea contains the best-selling Waterboys single, the song "The Whole of the Moon". The album cover is a photograph taken by Lynn Goldsmith.


The Waterboys are a British-Irish folk rock band formed in Edinburgh in 1983 by Scottish musician Mike Scott. The band's membership, past and present, has been composed mainly of musicians from Scotland, Ireland and England. Mike Scott has remained as the only constant member throughout the band's career.

They have explored a number of different styles, but their music is mainly a mix of folk music with rock and roll. They dissolved in 1993 when Scott departed to pursue a solo career.

The Waterboys sono un gruppo musicale rock scozzese fondato nel 1983 da Mike Scott (Edimburgo, 14 dicembre 1959). Il nome del gruppo proviene da un verso di The Kids, canzone contenuta nell'album Berlin di Lou Reed.

Il gruppo ha attraversato vari stili musicali grazie anche al contributo dei vari artisti che hanno collaborato con Mike nei vari anni. Si è così passati dal rock dei primi anni al folk irlandese di Fisherman's Blues per poi tornare al folk rock più intimo degli ultimi tempi. Il gruppo si scioglie nel 1993 per poi riformarsi nel 2000.



I pictured a rainbow
You held it in your hands
I had flashes
But you saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

Hmm, you were there in the turnstiles, with the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars and you know how it feels to reach too high

Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

I was grounded
While you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truth
You cut through lies
I saw the rain dirty valley
You saw Brigadoon
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon

I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered, I guessed and I tried
You just knew
I sighed
But you swooned, I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

with a torch in your pocket and the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder and you know how it feels to get too high

Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon, hey yeah!

Unicorns and cannonballs, palaces and piers
Trumpets, towers and tenements
Wide oceans full of tears
Flags, rags ferryboats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars, yes, you climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like a comet
Blazing your trail too high

Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon


Ho immaginato un arcobaleno
L'hai tenuto tra le mani
Ho avuto lampi
Ma hai visto il piano
Ho vagato per il mondo per anni
Mentre sei appena stato nella tua stanza
Ho visto la mezzaluna
Hai visto l'intera luna
Tutta la luna

Hmm, eri lì nei tornelli, con il vento alle calcagna
Ti sei allungato per le stelle e sai come ci si sente a raggiungere troppo in alto

Troppo lontano
Troppo presto
Hai visto l'intera luna

Sono stato messo a terra
Mentre riempivi i cieli
Ero sbalordito dalla verità
Attraversi bugie
Ho visto la sporca valle della pioggia
Hai visto Brigadoon
Ho visto la mezzaluna
Hai visto l'intera luna

Ho parlato di ali
Hai appena volato
Mi chiedevo, ho indovinato e ci ho provato
Lo sapevi e basta
Ma sei svenuta, ho visto la mezzaluna
Hai visto l'intera luna
Tutta la luna

con una torcia in tasca e il vento alle calcagna
Sei salito sulla scala e sai come ci si sente a salire troppo in alto

Troppo lontano
Troppo presto
Hai visto l'intera luna
Tutta la luna, ehi sì!

Unicorni e palle di cannone, palazzi e moli
Trombe, torri e case popolari
Ampi oceani pieni di lacrime
Bandiere, stracci traghetti
Scimitarre e sciarpe
Ogni sogno e visione preziosi
Sotto le stelle, sì, sei salito sulla scala
Con il vento tra le vele
Sei venuto come una cometa
Bruciando la tua pista troppo in alto

Troppo lontano
Troppo presto
Hai visto l'intera luna

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alcuni estratti sono presi da Wikipedia - alcuni testi sono presi da testicanzoni di MTV

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