rolling stones moon is up 1994Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Moon Is Up
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The sun sinks behind the clouds/ And hides his tears without a sound…

Written by: Jagger/Richards
Recorded: Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin, Ireland, Nov. 3-Dec. 10 1993; Ronnie Wood’s Sandymount Studios, Kildare, Ireland, July 9-Aug. 6 and Sept. 1994; Don Was’ Studio and A&M Studios, Los Angeles, USA, Jan. 15-Apr. 1994
Guest musicians: Darryl Jones (bass), Chuck Leavell (harmonium), Benmont Tench (accordion), Bobby Womack and Bernard Fowler (backing vocals)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From Songfacts:
On this song, Charlie Watts played drums using a trash can. Keith Richards explained: “That song had been around since Ireland, and everybody was fascinated with it. The song was suddenly there, you know, and what are we going to do with it? To me, it was all tied in with Charlie. If Charlie Watts is willing to experiment in the studio, then I’m the happiest man in the world. It so happened that as we were trying this track out in different configurations, I put an acoustic guitar through a Leslie cabinet, Ronnie was playing pedal steel through some tiny little amplifier, and Mick was singing through the harp mike. The drums were the only thing that sounded unreal, because they were real…

…So we fished around for a bit, and I said, ‘Well, what about playing on a suitcase outside?’ And before I know it, Charlie Watts is out there in the stairwell with a garbage can and brushes, and that’s the sound. After that, it was very hard to keep him out of the stairwell.” The Rolling Stones drummer added: “It’s a 4-flight stairwell, and I started off at the top, which is ‘Moon Is Up,’ and I ended up at the bottom playing ‘You Got Me Rocking and Thru and Thru…'”

Keith Richards, 1994: “Charlie Watts (was) moving his drums, which is unheard of… He would work (in) the staircase, you know. And that’s something that Charlie hasn’t done, I think, since Beggars Banquet or maybe Exile. It’s been that long since I’ve had that much input from Charlie. That was amazing. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that he’s been doing his own thing with Bernard Fowler, you know. He’s taken that jazz band around… So he came back with a whole new perspective on what it’s like when the buck stops here.”

This features Benmont Tench on accordion air whoosh. Tench is best known for his work as one of Tom Petty’s group the Heartbreakers, playing on all their albums since 1976. He has also frequently been recruited by other artists, however, especially those hailing from the LA scene. In the 1980s and 90s, he worked with John Hiatt, Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt, John Prine, Randy Newman, Jackson Browne and ex-Eagles Glenn Frey and Don Henley. He has also done work with luminaries such as Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash, U2 and Alanis Morissette.

According to Ron Wood, the title of the album comes from the granny flat that he built for his mother. Says Wood: “Immediately Keith moved in. He did this hand-drawn sign, Doc’s Office and Voodoo Lounge, and stuck it in the window.” Keith Richards explains: “I’m the doc. It’s like a ritual, a fetish… We agonized over (the title). And it was staring us in the face. Finally, it was Mick who said, What about Voodoo Lounge? Why not? Kind of like Beggars Banquet. Right number of syllables. I was really pissed with myself, though, after painting the sign and all. I’m usually the one with the cheap ideas, not Mick. His are usually real expensive.”

From the Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book:
“Moon Is Up” is a song recorded by the Rolling Stones in Ireland at the beginning of the Voodoo Lounge sessions. The moon is up, the sky is black/I’ll sail away and won’t come back/The sun goes down, the stars will rise and dance across the darkened skies: the atmosphere is supremely well established in the lyrics. But this is not the most important aspect of the track: “Moon Is Up” is of note first and foremost for its special musical color.