Cat Stevens, “Moonshadow” and Freaky Lunar Phenomena

I seem to have become interested in the full moon cycle at a pretty unique time, celestially speaking. Since first noticing that amazing supermoon at the start of November there have already been two more supermoons and this month, because of how the first full moon fell, we are to have another one 29 and a half days later right at the end of the month. Unlike the rest it won’t have a name given to it by the Native Americans because it will be a “blue moon” – Something that doesn’t happen very often. Just to complicate things further it won’t actually look blue but red (called a “blood moon”) as the earth will line up with the sun creating a lunar eclipse. Last but not least, it will again be a supermoon where it comes as close to the earth as is possible making it look 14% bigger and 30% brighter (although perhaps the lunar eclipse will override the brightness somewhat this time). Whatever, definitely something to look out for on Wednesday the 31st January, this Super Blue Blood Moon.

The Blood Moon

I have already worked out which songs about moons I am planning to use for this series, and of course it was a no-brainer that Rodgers and Hart’s Blue Moon would feature whenever that phenomenon appeared in our skies. Now that I’ve discovered this next full moon is going to be shadowed by the earth however, there are definitely more appropriate picks. The one I’m going to choose is Moonshadow by Cat Stevens.

Moonshadow by Cat Stevens:

Ok, so technically Wednesday night’s phenomenon is a case of the earth shadowing the moon as opposed to the other way round, but a great excuse to feature something by Mr Stevens. Most people know that Cat Stevens changed his name to Yusuf Islam in the late ’70s and gave up music altogether for a while. Fortunately for us he returned to it in 2006 and now simply goes by the stage name Yusuf. This song, Moonshadow, was a hit for him in 1971 when he was at the height of his popularity. Of all his old songs, he considers it his favourite.

I hadn’t realised until recently that Cat/Yusuf was actually from London, and more precisely the West End as his parents were the owners of a restaurant in the theatre district. Possibly because he had a Greek father and Swedish mother, and also because of his global success then conversion to Islam, I have always just thought of him as a citizen of the world and find it hard to conjure up images of the young Steven Demetre Georgiou waiting tables in the Shaftsbury Avenue of the “Swinging Sixties”.

The lyrics of the song were once explained by Yusuf in an interview – He had been on holiday in Spain and when standing at the edge of the water on a beautiful night with the moon glowing, he looked down and saw his shadow. As a kid from the West End of London, what with the bright lights and streetlamps, he had never seen the moon on its own in the dark before. He thought that was so cool and it inspired him to write about finding hope in any situation – To be present and joyful, to see life as it is right now, and not to compare it to others’ lives, or to other times in your life. If we are always wrapped up in whirlpools of worry and concern about what could be, or what has been, we are missing the richness of life as it is.

So, “What’s It All About?” – As someone who is prone to getting caught up in a whirlpool of worry and concern about the future, it seems I need to take heed of these lyrics and try to be much more “present and joyful”. Apologies for my rant last time (that post now heavily edited) as no doubt everything will sort itself out in due course – Just sometimes therapeutic to use our blogs as a place to vent. In the meantime, lets hope there will be no cloud cover on the 31st January so that we can all witness the phenomenon that will be, the Super Blue Blood Moon.

Until next time….

Moonshadow Lyrics
(Song by Cat Stevens)

Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow,
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow.

And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land,
Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if I won’t have to work no more.

And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry,
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if I won’t have to cry no more.

Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow,
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow.

And if I ever lose my legs, I won’t moan, and I won’t beg,
Yes if I ever lose my legs, Oh if I won’t have to walk no more.

And if I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south,
Yes if I ever lose my mouth, Oh if I won’t have to talk…

Did it take long to find me? I asked the faithful light.
Did it take long to find me? And are you gonna stay the night?

Moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow.

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days. I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 57 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team, Bacharach and David. The opening line to that song was, "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

16 thoughts on “Cat Stevens, “Moonshadow” and Freaky Lunar Phenomena”

  1. “If we are always wrapped up in whirlpools of worry and concern about what could be, or what has been, we are missing the richness of life as it is.”

    So true, and another great choice… although my first thought was Mike Oldfield’s Moonlight Shadow…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I like those words of wisdom from Cat/Yusuf – Am really going to try and take them on board as my current worries are very much of the First World variety. I worry about all sorts of things and they never come to pass but in doing so am not appreciating what I have right now. A timely song choice.

      Moonlight Shadow will appear later on in this series btw, I just felt that Moonshadow was more appropriate for this lunar eclipse I hope to see later in the week, as long as we have clear skies. Only happens once every 150 years apparently, all of these phenomena coming together at the same time so fingers crossed!


  2. I forget the year, but around the time he was catching on in the States, he was playing at a club in Greenwich Village. I wanted to go, but the show was sold out. Soon after, he graduated to much larger venues.

    I always liked Moonshadow. Really fine song.

    See you, Alyson —

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love how you drop in these snippets about “perhaps going to see him play in Greenwich Village” – The stuff of folklore for someone like me who has always lived in the North of Scotland. The blogosphere is a wonderful thing for bringing a diverse group of people together!

      Thanks for dropping by Neil.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks to you I’m learning a lot about the moon, and I love it, so thanks! I adore moonshadows too. There’s something about the position of the moon in relation to our kitchen and garden which provides the most spectacular (well, to me anyway) shadows when it’s full and I love the way that once your eyes adjust to the light it almost starts to look like daytime…
    And of course a classic song which I feel as if I’ve known all my life – just one of those.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved the series I did last year on the pagan calendar, or “Wheel of the Year”, and am loving this Moon series as much. So much that I didn’t know before, and really should have. I don’t know if you can see it tonight in your skies but quite a clear moon here so cross fingers we will see this Blood Moon on Wednesday night!

      I have actually taken inspiration from this song and given myself a good talking to – As Cat/Yusuf implied, we have so much to feel joyful about right here, right now, so why get caught up in whirlpools of worry about something that might never happen.


  4. “find it hard to conjure up images of the young Steven Demetre Georgiou”

    He was around in the sixties, even as a singer, but more a conventional pop singer. I believe that he had some severe illness and then decided to make good music. And good it was.

    His conversion to Islam was because he survived a storm or something and prayed that if he lived he would become religious or whatever. Wacky enough, but I don’t know why it was Islam and not some other religion or some other god.


    1. Yes I noticed that but in the mid sixties he would only have been about 16/17 so would no doubt have been roped in to help out in the family restaurant (the offspring always are whatever else is going on in their lives!) whilst singing in coffee bars/pubs and making records.

      He contracted TB in ’69 and after that his perspective changed and the songs changed in style – Ended up being his most successful period however until he gave it all up in ’77.


    1. Thanks for dropping by Jane – Yes I really enjoyed revisiting this Cat Stevens track and it reminded me of just how much great inspiring music he has been responsible for. Has been helpful to me this week.

      Hope your partner’s trip to Everest goes well and interesting to hear he has a couple of CS tracks on his training soundtrack – After the event he should contact Cat/Yusuf to let him know!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Just had a quick look over at Rol’s place and I could be wrong, but it appears that he’s not compiled a Top 10 Moon songs yet – I’m surprised! Even discounting the songs that you will feature in this series, there are still an awful lot of contenders.
    Sadly I was otherwise engaged when the Super Blue Blood Moon was at its peak so I missed out. I’ll be a sprightly 208 year-old by the time the next one rolls around!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know what I hadn’t thought to look – He would have no doubt let me know by now if he had and anyway, the word moon crops up just so often in songs that for him, it would probably be impossible to whittle it down to 10. Even I am having difficulty and I’m having to change the planned running order as I go.

      It turns out that after all the excitement about the Super Blue Blood Moon, no-one in the Western hemisphere would have seen it as just visible in the Far East. Oh well, only another 150 years to wait!


    2. I always struggle with Top Tens when there are too many choices. Much easier to find ten songs about Toasters than narrow down the hundreds of excellent Moon Songs. (Last week’s Square Songs was supposed to be followed by Circles… Until I realised I had a shortlist of about 50!) Alyson has used many of my favourites already though.

      Liked by 1 person

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