The second track off of Mike Oldfield’s 1983 album “Crises”, “Moonlight Shadow” is one of his most popular and well-known songs. He collaborated with Scottish vocalist Maggie Reilly for the track and had been working with her since 1980.
The song tells the story of a woman who loses her lover to some sort of struggle or fight in the middle of the night. A lot of rumours arose that the song was actually about the death of John Lennon, but the lyrics and events that occur in the song do not match up with the events of Lennon’s death. In an 1995 interview, Oldfield was asked if the track was a reference to Lennon’s murder. “Not really… well, perhaps, when I look back on it, maybe it was. I actually arrived in New York that awful evening when he was shot… It was originally inspired by a film I loved – Houdini… but a lot of other things must have crept in there without me realising it.” The song, despite it’s dark story, is a fairly upbeat and positive sounding song.
The music video was uploaded to Mike Oldfield’s VEVO YouTube channel on the 25th May 2012, and has over 45 million views. It shows video clips of the events happening in the song, such as a gun shot, and a woman running trying to find out what happened, as well as Maggie Reilly singing the track with Mike Oldfield and a drummer and a bassist in a fire lit room. There is also a very strong emphasis on an owl, and the music video ends with an owl closing its eyes.
Release Date: 6th May 1983
Songwriter/s: Mike Oldfield
Producer/s: Mike Oldfield, Simon Phillips
Chart Rankings: Upon its release, it reached #1 across many European countries, such as Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Norway… Not forgetting it reaching #6 in Australia and #3 in New Zealand.