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The Whole of the Moon (The Waterboys) (Scotland)
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An almost mystical song and a classic, "The Whole of the Moon" is a 1985 single taken from The Waterboys' album " This Is the Sea". 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. Subsequently it became one of The Waterboys' best-known songs and their most commercially successful.

The Waterboys are a band formed in 1983 by Mike Scott. The band's membership, past and present, has been composed mainly of musicians from Scotland, Ireland and England. Edinburgh, London, Dublin, Spiddal, New York, and Findhorn have all served as homes for the group. The band has played in a number of different styles, but their music is a mix of Celtic folk music with rock and roll. After ten years of recording and touring, they dissolved in 1993 and Scott pursued a solo career. They reformed in 2000, and continue to release albums and tour worldwide. Scott emphasises a continuity between The Waterboys and his solo work, saying that "To me there's no difference between Mike Scott and the Waterboys; they both mean the same thing. They mean myself and whoever are my current travelling musical companions.


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

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!

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

You saw the whole of the moon

Ooh, ooh, ohh

PICTURED= To picture something is to imagine it.

WANDERED= To walk around without purpose or direction.

CRESCENT=  /krezənt/ The moon when it is in the shape of a C.

THE WHOLE OF THE MOON= The complete moon, full circle O

TURNSTILES= A kind of barred gate designed to only let people pass one by one (see picture)

GROUNDED= When a plane is grounded, it is not allowed to fly, for example because of bad weather conditions.

DUMBFOUNDED= Totally amazed, speechless, shocked, astonished, confused.

YOU CUT THROUGH LIES= You could distinguish between what is true and what is false; you could find out the truth lying behind the lies.

BRIGADOON= The name of a miraculously blessed village that rises out of the mists every hundred years for only a day. Taken from the film Brigadoon.

SIGHED= /saɪd/ To sigh is to draw in and exhale audibly a deep breath as an expression of weariness, despair, relief, etc.

SWOONED= To be overwhelmed by ecstatic joy.

TORCH (BrE)= Flashlight (AmE) see picture.

PIERS= A pier is a platform extending from a shore over water and supported by piles or pillars, used to secure, protect, and provide access to ships or boats. Especially in the UK you can also find it very often used to place entertainment buildings such as cinemas, restaurants, etc. (see picture)

TENEMENT= A rundown, low-rental apartment building whose facilities and maintenance barely meet minimum standards.(see picture)

SCIMITAR= A curved Asian sword with the edge on the convex side. (see picture)

SCARVES= Since he says "scimitars" and "scarves" together, it's clearly a reference to Asian lands, so "scarves" here refers to the "headscarves" used by many Muslim women to hide their hair (see picture)

UNDERNEATH= /ʌndəni:ð/ below, under.

THE LADDER= This may be a biblical reference to "Jacob's Ladder". Jacob, later called Israel, was the father of the tribes of Israel. He had a dream where he saw a ladder going to heaven and angels going up and down it. (see picture)

SAILS= The big white pieces of cloth that make a sail boat move using the wind (see picture)

COMET= A piece of rock and ice leaving a blazing trail as it aproaches the sun (see picture)

BLAZING= Burning with a bright flame.

TRAIL= Path, way.


Lead singer Scott sketched the lyrics for this song in a New York hotel when his girlfriend asked him if it was difficult to write a song. According to him, the song is a tribute to some inspirational figures that had a big impact on his life, including English Christian writer C.S. Lewis (better known outside the UK/US as the author of "The Chronicles of Narnia") and American singer Prince.

In every line the singer is making a contrast between his own limited perspective and the much broader view of his admired figures. That contrast is summarized in the sentence:

I saw the crescent, you saw the whole of the moon

(being the crescent just a little part of the moon, as opposed to the complete moon)

© Angel Castaño 2008 Salamanca / Poole - free videos to learn real English online || InfoPrivacyTerms of useContactAbout
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