The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Glen Campbell, Lee Lessack

About The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

"The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" (sometimes titled as "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress") is a song by American songwriter Jimmy Webb. It has become a much-recorded standard, without ever having charted as a single. Webb appropriated the title from the 1966 science fiction novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein. The song is especially associated with Glen Campbell, who performed the song on his farewell tour, Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt, and Joe Cocker, who first recorded the song in 1974. The song is commonly presented in the key of G (to B♭). The song structure consists of three seven-line verses and a two-line coda. The first two verses have a rhyme scheme of AABACDC. The third verse modulates three half steps (from G to B♭), with the rhyme scheme altered to ABABCDC, and the coda repeating the DC. The time signature of the song is common time with the lines introduced between the second and third beat. In a 2009 interview with Lisa Torem for Penny Black Music, Jimmy Webb talked about the influence of Robert Heinlein and the song's title: 


 The easy, fast & fun way to learn how to sing:

See her how she flies
Golden sails across the sky
Close enough to touch
But careful if you try
Though she looks as warm as gold
The moon's a harsh mistress
The moon can be so cold

Once the sun did shine
Lord, it felt so fine
The moon a phantom rose
Through the mountains and the pines
And then the darkness fell
And the moon's a harsh mistress
It's so hard to love her well

I fell out of her eyes
I fell out of her heart
I fell down on my face
Yes, I did, and I, I tripped and I missed my star
God, I fell and I fell alone, I fell alone
And the moon's a harsh mistress
And the sky is made of stone

The moon's a harsh mistress
She's hard to call your own

 The easy, fast & fun way to learn how to sing:

Glen Campbell

Glen Travis Campbell (born April 22, 1936) is an American country music singer, guitarist, television host and occasional actor. He is best known for a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as for hosting a variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television. more »

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Written by: JIMMY WEBB

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

9 facts about this song

General Facts
1. "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" is a popular song that has been covered by numerous artists, including Charlie Haden, Glen Campbell, Jimmy Webb, Joe Cocker, Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt, Michael Feinstein, and Radka Toneff. 2. The song was originally written by Jimmy Webb, an American songwriter known for his popular hits in the late 60s and early 70s. 3. "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" is sometimes called "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress."
Charlie Haden Facts
4. Charlie Haden, a renowned double bass player, covered the song on his 1992 album Haunted Heart. Haden's version was instrumental, focusing on the bass.
Glen Campbell Facts
5. Glen Campbell was the first artist to release "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" as a single, in late 1974. 6. Despite Campbell's version being the first, it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
Jimmy Webb Facts
7. Despite writing the song, Jimmy Webb did not release his own version until his 1996 album Ten Easy Pieces. 8. Webb's version was a reimagining, featuring solo piano and a slower tempo than most covers.
Joe Cocker Facts
9. Joe Cocker covered the song on his 1996 album Organic. 10. Cocker's version was slightly more upbeat, with a full band arrangement.
Judy Collins Facts
11. Judy Collins version is the most well-known and was included on her 1975 album Judith. 12. Collins' version peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.
Linda Ronstadt Facts
13. Linda Ronstadt performed the song on her 1983 album Get Closer. Her version features an orchestral arrangement. 14. Despite having several hits in the 80s, Ronstadt's version of the song did not chart.
Michael Feinstein Facts
15. Michael Feinstein's version appears on his 2003 album Only One Life: The Songs of Jimmy Webb. 16. Known for his interpretations of Great American Songbook material, Feinstein's rendition is a piano-vocal duet with Jimmy Webb.
Radka Toneff Facts
17. Norwegian singer Radka Toneff covered the song on her 1982 album Fairytales, and it remains one of her most popular interpretations. 18. Toneff's version, featuring Steve Dobrogosz on piano, is haunting and minimalist, showcasing her distinct vocal style.

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