Moonlight Shadow
by Groove Coverage and by Blackmore's Night

Writer - Michael Oldfield (but erroneously credited to Lowe/Oldfield/Tennant)
First released - 1983 (but the error appears to have begun in 2002)

The song "Moonlight Shadow" first appeared on the 1983 album Crises by the multi-instrumentalist composer Mike Oldfield (he of earlier Tubular Bells fame), with vocals provided by guest artist Maggie Reilly. There it bore its original (and correct) songwriting credit of simply "Michael Oldfield."

But it's what happened with a pair of later covers that earns it a spot here. First came the German duo Groove Coverage, whose 2002 album Covergirl included their rendition. Although its songwriter was correctly credited there simply as Michael Oldfield, certain subsequent remix releases appear to have carried the songwriting credit "Christopher Lowe - Michael Oldfield - Neil Tennant." This has led to speculation that one or more of these remixes may have incorporated samples of a Pet Shop Boys track. But no evidence or definite explanation has yet come to light to lend credence to this speculation. And the Pet Shop Boys' own publishing company has no information about it, apparently never having granted such permission or having received any notice or royalties. (In other words, Chris and Neil didn't earn any money from it.)

It happened again in 2015, when the album All Our Yesterdays by Blackmore's Night, featuring ex-Deep Purple/Rainbow guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and singer Candice Night, included their own cover of "Moonlight Shadow." And right in the album's liner notes the song's composition is once again credited to "Neil Tennant, Michael Gordon Oldfield, Christopher Lowe." Even the Boys' publishing company, Cage Music Limited, is noted. But there's no unamibiguous evidence of a PSB sample in the recording, and no explanation is offered.

To make the proverbial long story short, it would appear that it's simply a crediting error, somehow first occurring in 2002 and then, in an honest mistake, reproduced in 2015. At least that's what the Pet Shop Boys' publishers firmly believe. And until I hear otherwise from an authoritative source, that's what I believe, too.

And, by the way, this song is not to be confused with Cat Stevens's "Moonshadow." At least one person online has suggested that Stevens actually deserves the credit for writing "Moonlight Shadow," and any claims otherwise are ripoffs. Yes, it brings to mind the infamous "It's a Sin"/"Wild World" imbroglio. Am I wrong or is the absolute worst thing about the internet the breadth of voice it grants to the blitheringly ignorant?

List cross-references