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Topic: Moonlight Shadow - A Hundred and Five?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
IanFiander Offline




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Posted: July 31 2001, 10:33

Please can someone help.

What is the meaning of the line "Caught in the middle of a hundred and five" in the last verse of Moonlight Shadow?

I can't really make the words out from listening to the track but I thought it was something like "Caught in the middle of a hundred eyes" or "a hundred fires". All the versions of the lyrics that I have found on the internet say "a hundred and five". Are these definitely the right words? They seem very odd to me.

Regards,

Ian
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TimHighfield Offline




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Posted: July 31 2001, 10:55

G'day,

I'm probably not the best person to be answering, but anyway:

From http://tubular.net/articles/95_06.html :
Quote

From an interview by Gareth Randall in 1995:
What do "static 18" and "automatic 18" from the lyrics of 'Five Miles Out' refer to, and what does "caught in the middle of a hundred and five" mean in 'Moonlight Shadow'?

[Mike Oldfield] "If you look at the cover of 'Five Miles Out', the plane is a Beech 18. If your radio is breaking up, the control tower would tell you "Lost in static" and then give the call-sign, so it was "Lost in static, 18". It was just one of the lyrics I scribbled down one evening in the pub! When I was writing that song I just scribbled down anything I could think of to do with aeroplanes, and then assembled them into lyrics."

[Mike Oldfield] "As for Moonlight Shadow - well, it was a hundred and five people, just signifying a large amount of people, and presumably it was a hundred and five rather than a hundred and four or whatever because "five" rhymed with the next line!"


I could go on for a while with something rather bland and silly only slightly connected to this, but I won't.

Hope it helped, (well, it was just a quick reference back to an article I remembered)

-Tim-
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IanFiander Offline




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Posted: July 31 2001, 11:45

Thank you very much Tim. I must have got close to finding that - I'd read the quote about static 18 somewhere else, and also a reference to the song being about Houdini, but not the 105 explanation.

I'm not a great Mike Oldfield fan, but always liked Shadow and recently bought the Elements compilation so I could listen to it. I'm a bit disappointed that the lyric really is 105 - when listened to it sounds great, but it's actually pretty meaningless and only works as a sort of riddle. Even the explanation for it seems a bit weak as there's no significance in the number. Still, it remains a great song.

Thanks again,

Ian
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Korgscrew Offline




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Posted: July 31 2001, 13:58

Not the only odd lyric in there of course - I'm sure Tim would love to point out some of the others for you (and perhaps stray into something rather bland and silly)...

To look at the song in any depth, none of it really means very much. All the images suggest that it tells a kind of story, but if you try and work out what that story is, you start to wonder if there actually is one...There's certainly not that kind of story-like progression that you get in some of, say, Mark Knopfler's songs, like 'Telegraph Road' for instance (if you don't know this song, perhaps Tim would care to lead a singalong).

It seems (according to one account at least) that Mike had a song with no lyrics and had to get something down quickly before Maggie Reilly arrived, so he got out the good ol' rhyming dictionary, sat down for an hour or two and wrote something. I believe he was trying to convey more of an abstract idea or feeling than any real story, which might be why some bits seem a little odd if looked at on their own (a little like if you look at a large ocean liner like the Queen Mary...no, sorry, that's something else).
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Hillbilly Offline




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Posted: July 31 2001, 15:35

The interview at http://tubular.net/articles/95_06.html was interesting but I was surprised that Mike talked about his VR project already back in 1995. He's been working on it for that long?

The most curious thing he said though, has to be this:

"But I must say that I'm giving folk music a rest and I'm getting on with this virtual reality business."

Hmm... "give folk music a rest"?!? We all know what his next album sounded like! tongue
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IanFiander Offline




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Posted: Aug. 01 2001, 04:34

I appreciate that Shadow isn't a narrative but it presents a poetical, descriptive image (carried away by a moonlight shadow...lost in a riddle that saturday night...the night was heavy but the air was alive etc) and can be understood and interpreted as such. I don't expect every song to tell a story from start to finish ("A long time ago came a man on a track..." all the way to "from all of these signs saying sorry but we're closed..."). I can appreciate atmospheric lyrics, and in most cases those in Shadow are effective in conveying a mood. The mysterious nature of the lyrics combined with the rousing tune gives the song its appeal.

But I feel that "Caught in the middle of a hundred and five" just doesn't mean anything. 105 what? "A hundred eyes" would work better, because one could clearly interpret that as meaning "a large crowd". There is no context for the 105, so one cannot know that it means people without being told. The use of the exact number detracts from the poetical effect of the lyric. It is too specific, and as the specific number itself has no relevance either in normal usage (contrast for example 66 [i.e. route], 3 [Holy Trinity], 666 [Satan], 13 [unlucky], 111 [Nelson]) or the context of the song (Pennsylvania 65000) it doesn't work.

I'm not looking for an argument. I suppose it's just that this is an example of a lyric that I am better off not knowing as it seems to take something away from the overall effect of the song.

Ian
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Posted: May 28 2002, 13:27

I thought hundred and five was a motorway.
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Pagan
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Posted: Aug. 17 2002, 13:29

oh dear...

The only song I really know from Mike Oldfield is that one. I'm 20 Years old, form Germany (so i'm not a native speaker in english) but even for me the meaning of 105 is absolutely clear (as explained by mike oldfield in the quote above, as well):

105 means he was caught in the middle of a crowd. Because of this mass of people "she couldn't find how to push through" and he was finally shot by one of these 105.

"105" only because 5 rhymes to the next line.

just think!
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Kelli
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Posted: Feb. 07 2003, 17:07

Pagan, that is how I saw it too! He was shot in the middle of a crowd, and this poor girl couldn't get to him in time....it's really a sad song.  And caught in a riddle (at first I thought it was rhythm) on saturday night would be, I am guessing, who the hell shot him? What exactly happened? I always thought the song was very straight forward yet also incredibly poetic  :D
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Inkanta Offline




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Posted: Feb. 10 2003, 14:02

The song has always made complete sense to me. ;)

I've generally thought of "caught in the middle of 105" as 105 people, but there was a time when I thought maybe it was degrees F. Haha!

RE: "far away on the other side.... and she couldn't find how to push through" -- she was on the other side of reality, the world, or a dream--having an experience that some people do when a close friend or relative dies. In other words, she saw him in vision or dream and knew that something horrible had happened, but she couldn't psychically connect or completely understand because her "view" was blocked--by 105.

My thoughts about this are shaped by having experienced something similar, I'll admit.  :/


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"No such thing as destiny; only choices exist." From:  Moongarden's "Solaris."
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Inkanta Offline




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Posted: Feb. 10 2003, 14:05

Well, actually, her view wouldn't have been blocked by 105 if he were in the middle, huh?  :laugh:

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"No such thing as destiny; only choices exist." From:  Moongarden's "Solaris."
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MO fan Offline




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Posted: Feb. 12 2003, 14:04

Quote (Inkanta @ Feb. 10 2003, 14:05)
105

Obviously 'caught in the middle of one hundred and five' is 105 minus 1 (to allow for the rhyme being five instead of four, as stated in the message above), this gives us 104 divided by 2 as its half way, which equals 52.

Now allowing for a musical 'oldfield corection factor' which runs through all of mikes work = 0.8, you must know that!

(for those of us not so mathematicaly proficient, you will remember that your teacher allways put this factor in to get the right answer, confusing the hell out of us).

this gives a majic answer of 41.6, rounding this up to no decimal places gives 42. and there you have it.

This works out exactly to the 'Hitch hikers guide to the galaxys' final answer to 'life the universe and everything' which is 42.

So Mikes work as we so rightly know brings us a step closer to understanding the secret to 'life the universe and everything'

Cheers MO fan :)

Small Print Disclaimer:..... The above can be taken with a pinch of salt if you like.
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Ugo Offline




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Posted: Feb. 13 2003, 17:44

105 refers to a crowd. Check out the lyrics to the extended version of the song, available on the lyrics section of this site.

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Ugo C. - a devoted Amarokian
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PICTURES IN THE DARK
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Posted: Nov. 10 2003, 15:10

Hi there,
"Moonlight Shadow" is my absolutely favourite song (not only among Mike's songs, it is also my favourite song on Earth). I've often wondered what 105 means. At first I thought it was "105 people", but I read a translation in a Spanish site and I started to think it was a motorway, as someone said.
Since I first heard the song, I've been trying to understand the lyrics. The curious thing is that before watching the video I knew what it was going to be like, lol. I think the lyrics do tell a story, and it's reflected in the video... But, well, this is a simple opinion :)
By the way, can anyone explain me the end of the video? I mean the scene when Mike and the girl with curly hair disappear.
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:ym: Offline




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Posted: Nov. 28 2004, 11:02

Quote (IanFiander @ Aug. 01 2001, 04:34)
I appreciate that Shadow isn't a narrative but it presents a poetical, descriptive image (carried away by a moonlight shadow...lost in a riddle that saturday night...the night was heavy but the air was alive etc) and can be understood and interpreted as such.  I don't expect every song to tell a story from start to finish ("A long time ago came a man on a track..." all the way to "from all of these signs saying sorry but we're closed..."). I can appreciate atmospheric lyrics, and in most cases those in Shadow are effective in conveying a mood.  The mysterious nature of the lyrics combined with the rousing tune gives the song its appeal.

But I feel that "Caught in the middle of a hundred and five" just doesn't mean anything.  105 what?  "A hundred eyes" would work better, because one could clearly interpret that as meaning "a large crowd".  There is no context for the 105, so one cannot know that it means people without being told.  The use of the exact number detracts from the poetical effect of the lyric.  It is too specific, and as the specific number itself has no relevance either in normal usage (contrast for example 66 [i.e. route], 3 [Holy Trinity], 666 [Satan], 13 [unlucky], 111 [Nelson]) or the context of the song (Pennsylvania 65000) it doesn't work.

I'm not looking for an argument.  I suppose it's just that this is an example of a lyric that I am better off not knowing as it seems to take something away from the overall effect of the song.  

Ian

even if 105 has no meaning, it may become an Oldfield-symbol. ;)
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Colin
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Posted: Feb. 14 2005, 07:26

It's sort of heartening -- but at the same time a little humbling -- to know that there are other people in the world who are as intrigued as me by the lyrics in 'Moonlight Shadow'.  This has always been a very special song to me for all sorts of reasons -- some of which I don't think I can effectively put into words.  However, on the question of the meaning of the lyrics, I don't care what Mike Oldfield says about them.  To me, they say something special -- they don't need to be interpreted in a narrative sense; the music and the words interplay and give a meaning to me that goes beyond either form alone.  I won't bore you with what that meaning is, but I will say that I don't think Oldfield's intentions at the time of writing has much to do with the end product.  I am a novelist, and I have experienced the phenomenon of characters and stories evolving quite independently of my intentions or conscious thoughts.  Donovan Leitch once said that there were songs everywhere -- just floating in the air -- and that all he or anyone else had to do was reach up and grab them.  Perhaps we are not as responsible as we think for the things we sometimes write.  Moonlight Shadow says something to me, and it doesn't matter what the author says about the 'hundred and five' or anything else.  He was just the conduit for getting the music out into the world -- the meaning is ours.
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raven4x4x Offline




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Posted: Feb. 14 2005, 08:10

That is true. The artist probably has some meaning in mind when he/she writes the lyrics (unless they're just making things up) but the meaning the listener takes from them is often completely different. Even in songs where the narrative structure is a lot more obvious than in Moonlight Shadow, such as a story song, the story can mean any number of different things to different people.

What does the song mean to me? Well, I don't really know...


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TEP Offline




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Posted: July 13 2005, 03:49

Just to confuse matters even more...  ;)

I think it has been stated (by Mike?) somewhere that the lyrics were inspired by the murder of John Lennon - "She" being Yoko Ono.
If I remember correctly, Mike had some lyrics that he was unhappy with, and hearing of the murder of Lennon, he started from scratch and wrote the lyrics we know and love today.
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Inkanta Offline




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Posted: July 13 2005, 20:13

Here is the discussion on it. Look for Korgscrew's 7 March 2005 post (the last entry at this point in time), which references Gareth Randall's interview....

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"No such thing as destiny; only choices exist." From:  Moongarden's "Solaris."
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Ray Offline




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Posted: Mar. 20 2006, 17:14

You have to remember that Moonlight Shadow is just a rehash (a good one!;) of Portsmouth.   A very clever one.  Wily old chap our Mikey!!

Ray  :cool:  ;)


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Looking out over the harbour in Peel.......
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