17. ‘I See the Moon’, by The Stargazers

the-stargazers-i-see-the-moon-1953-4-78

I See the Moon, by The Stargazers (their 2nd of three #1s)

5 weeks, from 12th March to 16th April / 1 week from 23rd April to 30th April 1954 (6 weeks total)

And now for something completely different…

Imagine an East-End pub, filled with smoke and ruddy cheeks, a jovial barman rings the bell and calls for last orders over the hubbub… Last orders, and one last song. Old Mrs. Fozzywinkle sits at the piano, shouting down someone who’s just said something saucy, and then… The opening bars of ‘I See the Moon’.

Over the mountain, over the sea, back where my heart is longin’ to be… Please let the light that shines down on me, shine on the one I love… Thematically, we are treading familiar ground: it’s a tale of two separated lovers, one hoping that the other still thinks of them. We’ve heard it a few times in this countdown so far. But, beyond the lyrics, this is something else entirely.

The first thing that comes to mind is the scene in ‘Oliver!’, where Nancy leads the pub in a rousing chorus of ‘Oom Pah Pah’. This song isn’t quite as rowdy, or raucous, but it has an unhinged quality that none of the previous chart toppers have had. Even the novelty tracks that have gone before it – the likes of ‘How Much is that Doggie?’ and ‘She Wears Red Feathers’ – still felt as if they had been professionally recorded, perhaps over several takes. This song doesn’t…

The first verse is sung – horribly – in a fake German (Polish? Transylvanian??) accent, the voice cracking as it fails to reach the high notes, with voices roaring in approval in the background. The second verse takes the form of a skit – a plummy voiced announcer introduces a little lady with a tambourine, who proceeds to come in at the wrong cue not once, not twice, but three times. Once she gets going, the announcer asks her to sing quieter, then louder, presumably until everyone listening at home is guffawing helplessly at the ridiculousness of it all. It’s funny(-ish), in a pantomime kind of way. We’re back in the music halls, here. Actually, it reminds me of a ‘Comic Relief’ track – you know the kind recorded by Cliff Richard and the cast of ‘The Young Ones’, or by French and Saunders as the Spice Girls. It has that same sort of anarchic energy, and in that regard it’s quite ahead of its time. It’s a truly bizarre song.

And when you look back to The Stargazers previous #1 – the morose ‘Broken Wings’ – it sounds even more crazy. What happened? What went wrong? (Or right, depending on your tastes?) What in God’s name did they take before hitting the recording studio? At least it’s an interesting song, though I’m not sure I’ll be revisiting it once I’ve finished writing this post.

5aa73dbf26f7295aa31761462f020c03

Information on The Stargazers is hard to come by. There are at least two other bands with the same name: an Irish folk trio, and a rock ‘n’ roll revival group from the ’80s. An image search requires some discerning before you can work out which band is which. But the original Stargazers were pretty popular in their day – the NME voted them ‘Best Vocal Group’ for five years in a row. But – and this is something that’s just occurred to me – ‘pre-rock’, the competition for that title wasn’t fierce. There simply weren’t very many groups going. This was an era of solo stars.

One other little titbit of interesting info. I’ve unearthed regarding this song: the lyric I see the moon and the moon sees me was first used in a nursery rhyme from the 1780s. We are then, listening to both the 17th UK Number One hit, and the very earliest UK Number One hit. Mind-bending…

15 thoughts on “17. ‘I See the Moon’, by The Stargazers

  1. Pingback: 27. ‘The Finger of Suspicion’, by Dickie Valentine with the Stargazers – The Number Ones Blog

  2. Pingback: Recap: #1 – #30 – The Number Ones Blog

  3. Pingback: 38. ‘Hernando’s Hideaway’, by The Johnston Brothers – The Number Ones Blog

  4. Pingback: Recap: #31 – #60 – The Number Ones Blog

  5. Pingback: 67. ‘Jailhouse Rock’, by Elvis Presley – The Number Ones Blog

  6. Pingback: 75. ‘Stupid Cupid’ / ‘Carolina Moon’, by Connie Francis – The UK Number 1s Blog

  7. Pingback: 89. ‘Only Sixteen’, by Craig Douglas – The UK Number 1s Blog

  8. Pingback: Recap: #61 – #90 – The UK Number 1s Blog

  9. Pingback: 113. ‘Sailor’, by Petula Clark – The UK Number 1s Blog

  10. Pingback: Recap: #91 – #120 – The UK Number 1s Blog

  11. Pingback: Recap: #121 – #149 – The UK Number 1s Blog

  12. Pingback: Recap: #150 – #180 – The UK Number Ones Blog

  13. Pingback: Recap: #181 – #210 – The UK Number Ones Blog

  14. Pingback: Remembering Kay Starr – The UK Number Ones Blog

  15. Pingback: 280. ‘Two Little Boys’, by Rolf Harris – The UK Number Ones Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s