Heatwaves, Starbuck and ‘Moonlight Feels Right’

Having a heatwave over the summer used to be seen as a good thing, but of course nowadays it’s happening so regularly it’s seen as a rather worrying trend. Up here in the North of Scotland we’ve not yet had the really high temperatures that makes sleep impossible, but there are of course all sorts of other downsides. If you are a fair-skinned person like myself you know full well that sunbathing is a big no-no, but we never learn do we, and over the years I’ve had a fair few bad cases of sunburn. The damage caused comes home to roost however and I’m off to the skin clinic next week to be checked out.

If you are British, and of my demographic, the summer we always hark back to is The Long Hot Summer of 1976. There have been summers just as hot since but they didn’t happen when I was aged 16, just about the best age to enjoy a heatwave with friends. Once the sunburnt skin had peeled off we did start to turn a nice shade of golden brown, with the help of some cooking oil, or if you could afford it, some Ambre Solaire. As for SPFs, they didn’t exist yet. Dressed in our Brutus jeans, wedge sandals and skimpy cheesecloth shirts we thought we looked the bees knees.

But what were we listening to back in the summer of 1976? Well I’ve written such a post before (link here), so most of the really memorable pop hits by the likes of Elton & Kiki, The Real Thing and Candi Staton have already been covered. Time therefore to revisit another song, one I heard on the radio the other day, and one that seems to have lodged itself in my head as an earworm.

As it turns out Moonlight Feels Right by Starbuck was never a hit in the UK, so although I know the song well it must be from hearing it on the radio over the years. It was however a big hit in the US, Canada and Australia, so wonder why it didn’t strike a cord over here. To me it just screams 1976 America (as we called it back then), and reminds me of another song from across the pond I also like from that era. Yes, one of the very first songs I ever wrote about around here was I’d Really Love To See You Tonight by England Dan & John Ford Coley. In Scotland, even during a heatwave, it is never warm after dark, so back in 1976 I just loved the idea of those “warm winds blowin’ the stars around”. Likewise, in Moonlight…, we are painted a picture of warm summer evenings by the coast, with the moon and stars shining brightly in the night sky. With foreign travel off the cards for most of us at the moment, I will have to content myself with song lyrics for the time being.

I’ll take you on a trip beside the ocean
And drop the top at Chesapeake Bay
Ain’t nothin’ like the sky to dose a potion
The moon’ll send you on your way

We’ll lay back and observe the constellations
And watch the moon smilin’ bright
I’ll play the radio on southern stations
‘Cause southern belles are hell at night

Moonlight Feels Right by Starbuck:


After hearing the song on the radio this week I realised I had never taken the time to pick up on the artist’s name, so had to google it. Inevitably when I found out it was a band called Starbuck I just pictured a coffee cup, such is the ubiquitous nature of that name nowadays – Back in 1974 when Starbuck formed, the large coffee chain had been trading in Seattle for just three years, purely as a wholesaler of beans. It’s now their 50th anniversary year and how things have changed.

Moonlight… was promoted as the first rock song ever to feature a marimba and if you fast forward to 1:50 on the video clip you will see a jumpsuited Bo Wagner performing his instrumental solo. As mentioned before in my post about the England Dan & John Ford Coley song, back in 1976 we had often no idea what the artist behind the song looked liked. Without being cruel, I think for 16-year-old girls, it was good that some songs remained a radio staple only.

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – After writing 23 full moon related posts, I don’t know how I missed including this song, but as luck would have it July’s Buck Moon should appear in our skies tonight. For those of you whose sleep patterns are affected by the heatwave, you might be lucky enough to witness it. A tiny upside.

As for me, on top of the skin clinic visit I have a screening appointment (much delayed due to the pandemic), a dental visit (also much delayed) and as a result of my recent fractured ankle, a bone density scan, all in the next 10 days. Like buses, they all come at once but sadly goes with the whole process of getting older. Until I get the all-clear I am going to keep my time in the sun to a minimum which makes life difficult when you live with a dedicated sunseeker. To all my fellow fair-skinned followers out there, as Sergeant Phil in Hill Street Blues used to say, ‘Let’s be careful out there’.

Until next time…

Moonlight Feels Right Lyrics
(Song by Bruce Blackman)

The wind blew some luck in my direction
I caught it in my hands today
I finally made a tricky French connection
You winked and gave me your O.K.
I’ll take you on a trip beside the ocean
And drop the top at Chesapeake Bay
Ain’t nothing like the sky to dose a potion
The moon’ll send you on your way

Moonlight feels right
Moonlight feels right

We’ll lay back and observe the constellations
And watch the moon smilin’ bright
I’ll play the radio on southern stations
‘Cause southern belles are hell at night
You say you came to Baltimore from Ole Miss
Class of seven-four, gold ring
The eastern moon looks ready for a wet kiss
To make the tide rise again

Moonlight feels right
Moonlight feels right

We’ll see the sun come up on Sunday morning
And watch it fade the moon away
I guess you know I’m giving you a warning
‘Cause me and moon are itching to play
I’ll take you on a trip beside the ocean
And drop the top at Chesapeake Bay
Ain’t nothin’ like the sky to dose a potion
The moon’ll send you on your way

Moonlight feels right
Moonlight feels right

Moonlight feels right
Moonlight feels right

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. 50 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 that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

21 thoughts on “Heatwaves, Starbuck and ‘Moonlight Feels Right’”

  1. Hope everything goes well at the skin clinic. As a baldy ginger I try to stay out of the sunshine. I always loved “Moonlight Feels Right” and could never understand why it wasn’t a hit over here. They also did a fun song called “Lash LaRue” – about a real life Western film star. And speaking of England Dan & John Ford Coley, check out their cover of Todd Rundgren’s “Love Is The Answer” – beautiful song.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks – Every few years I am forced into being reminded the sun is not necessarily my friend. The damage all done when I was a kid I suspect.

      I remember you mentioning Love Is The Answer before so I shared it when I wrote about England Dan’s brother Jim Seals of Seals and Crofts. Whenever I hear these sort of songs I am transported back to the 1970s and to all that soft rock coming out of America at the time. (Is it just me or do you also find it hard to called it the US nowadays? I know its the preferred term nowadays but I’m stuck in the past when it was always called either America or the USA.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bit cooler today and I’m relishing that.

    Not heard that song in years, but it’s right up my alley. Battlestar Galactica didn’t debut till two years later, so they didn’t get the name from Dirk Benedict.

    James Gunn should use that track on the next GOTG soundtrack.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear as I know how hot it’s been with you.

      You are right about it being just the thing for a GOTG soundtrack. Funnily enough the other song I was thinking of writing about today was by our old friend Rupert Holmes (but not the Pina Colada one). Maybe next time.

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  3. Your comment about Rupert Holmes caught my eye. What a talented musician, writer and performer plus loads of summer memories associated with his ’70s and 80s work. Love the ‘tongue in cheek’ he brought to his music (‘Him’, ‘Answering Machine’) and the lyrical deception of ‘Escape’. Thanks for getting the memories going. We’re having a 60 SPF day here. Time for cocktails (pina colada?) and shade!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes, Escape (The Pina Colada Song) – It was one of the first songs I wrote about around here and then I revisited it again when it popped up on the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy. Maybe I’ve been misinterpreting the lyrics but I always took exception to the twist in Escape. I just didn’t think that’s how it would play out and ended up having a spat with another blogger about them! Link here:

      Music from Guardians of the Galaxy #2 – Rupert Holmes and that Piña Colada Song!

      You’ve mentioned the other song of his that I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, so maybe soon. Watch this space.

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    1. Being home based, I’ve been in shorts and sandals since June – And there lies the problem, I really shouldn’t. Have been keeping out of the sun in this latest heatwave though as just too hot for me. As you say we Scots aren’t built for this weather.

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  4. Hope all went well at the skin clinic – very true what you say and us fair bairns have to be extra careful! Unbelievable now to think that we pretty much used to fry ourselves in oil in our youth, no wonder we got sunburnt.
    Oh yes, “Brutus jeans, wedge sandals and skimpy cheesecloth shirts” – did we really all dress the same? Sounds like we did! I had some wedges which were covered in a kind of hessian material, very sort of rustic looking. And in the Summer of ’76 just as I turned 13 remember wearing a skimpy yellow cheesecloth shirt to my very first disco, unaware of just how brightly the flashing ultraviolet light would show up my little white bra beneath…! Still, it probably did the same to our teeth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The skin clinic is later this week as is the dentist and the bone density scan!! I really got a shock when the letter came in saying that because I’d fractured my ankle I would have to have one. I had a bit of a rant recently about how women of a certain age have been let down by the medical profession, and had I not been given so many scare stories about a drug that helps avoid things like osteoporosis, I might not be in this position. Cross fingers all will be well.

      We always got sunburnt and I certainly don’t remember there being any high factor suntan lotion. There was calamine lotion for after we’d burnt but that was about it. I did treat myself to some Ambre Solaire oil ahead of my first foreign holiday but I’m pretty sure it didn’t have any SPFs. It was rather a brown oil that seemed to colour your skin tan whatever.

      I’m pretty sure we’ve discussed the outfits before but you are right, we all wore the same. A new fashion came along and it was adopted by everyone. In 1976 Brutus jeans were what girls were buying (and there was the advert with the song by David Dundas). The sandals all had hessian covered wedges and the shirts were cheesecloth. I had a striped one with the tyers that meant your midrift was bare – Had to wear a jacket (in the heatwave) so my parents didn’t see it as I left the house.

      Your outfit sounds bang on for 1976 and you are right, in those days the discos used light that showed our underwear through our clothes and I think it was probably lint, but dark clothes always looked as if they were covered in dandruff! Happy days.

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      1. Just to wish you the very best with all the appointments (sorry I misunderstood the timings) . I hadn’t even thought about the bone density issue – aargh. I took the same route as you for the same reasons, from the sound of things, and will have to watch out for osteoporosis too. Oh, what fun it is getting older! Hope it all goes well.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks C – The joys of getting older, although as the lady at the post office said the other day when I complained about my new passport photo showing me another 10 years older, not everyone gets the luxury of a renewed passport. A sobering thought.

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  5. I was down in London for the worst of the heat at the beginning of the week and it was crushing. I’m just useless at anything above about 21/22°. There’s a nice cool breeze today though (temperature currently 19° – lovely!). Of course we’re now heading into a stormy couple of days, so that’s not ideal either. What a very British comment this is – moaning about the weather from every angle!
    I hope your various appointments go well Alyson.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you on the temperatures – 21/22 degrees is my limit I think but I do like wearing summery clothes so a difficult one. Really need to stick to long sleeves and trousers when it gets hotter but not always easy. No storms for us yet but probably on their way. Yes, we’re discussing the weather, how very British!

      Re the appointments, thanks.

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  6. Hi Alyson, Phew! Wot a Scorcher! It’ll soon cool down, don’t worry.
    I’m not struggling to come up with blog content; I’m just happy taking a short break. Big difference:) x

    Who said skimpy cheesecloth shirts btw? I’m all of a dither!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, cooler weather on its way I think, but not yet up here.

      Taking a planned break works well. I’ve had a whole month off twice in the last 5 and a half years and it was great. When you start up again you are full of renewed enthusiasm. Looking forward to seeing you back again with all the topics you mentioned in your last post.

      The cheesecloth shirts were for males too and they were very tight if I remember correctly – A lot of straining on the buttons down the front. Maybe you were more of a band T-shirt kind of guy.

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  7. Just discovered your blog. I’ve always loved Moonlight Feels Right – such a feel good record and the best marimba solo ever. Picked up the album cheaply some time in the 1980s, similarly picked up the England Dan * John Ford Coley album. Still listen to that one occasionally although Starbuck were rightly one hit wonders, not that it was a hit over here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by – Yes, I have a great fondness for these soft rock songs from the mid-70s. Just reminds me of my teenage years I think but find it hard to believe it wasn’t a hit over here as it’s now a radio staple. Didn’t know it was the first marimba solo in a rock song though. Always something new to find out!

      Like

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