The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress

Steve Dobrogosz, Radka Toneff

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: 


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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

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Radka Toneff

Ellen Radka Toneff (25 June 1952 – 21 October 1982) was a Norwegian jazz singer, daughter of the Bulgarian folk singer, pilot and radio technician Toni Toneff, she was born in Oslo and grew up in Lambertseter and Kolbotn. She is still considered one of Norway's greatest jazz singers. more »

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Written by: JIMMY WEBB

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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    The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress

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