Leave Me on the Moon
By: Beck Hansen
Written by: Beck Hansen

  1. Leave Me on the Moon (2:17)
    Available on Root Damage and 1 other release.
    Russell Simins: Drums
    Beck Hansen: Guitar, Vocals
  3. Leave Me on the Moon (early version) (2:34)
    Available on Golden Leftovers and 1 other release.
Leave Me on the Moon (early version) [Version (b)]:

Leave me on the moon
I must be coming back too soon
Pieces of pieces lay in a pile
Somebody's walking on my hands

Leave me on the moon
And everybody knows it's true
Everything's good as long as it stays still
Coins jingle in my brain

And you been watching me through your jewelry
Sending rings around my head
Now that I am near you, I slowly disappear you
Then your fingernails are much too long

Meet me on the moon
And you can stay there too
Seems like everyone's just floating away
Got to tie myself down
Got to tie myself right down!
The Song:

The early demo of the song that was an outtake from Golden Feelings (as well as Fresh Meat and Old Slabs) is a slow, warped recording. It sounds like a demo. The song at this point is basically the same as the "final" version, but Beck just hasn't quite figured out the right tempo and performance.

And then, the version of the song given to Kill the Moonlight is a perfectly executed country song. The slight sloppiness feels intentional, and works like a charm. It has such an old-timey feel to it too; this could have been the track he offered up to Johnny Cash instead of "Rowboat."

This soundtrack was released in 1997, but Beck's song was recorded well before that. As it says in the liner notes of the Kill the Moonlight soundtrack:
At the time Beck made up the songs for this soundtrack, he was writing about ten songs a week and making a shitload of 4-track tapes. Most of the stuff was weird thrasher folk songs with surreal lyrics...He had a beat-up acoustic guitar with a rope for a strap which he'd bring to shows, jump up on stage, and play a couple of songs while the bands were setting up.

Beck's voice is the highlight of the song, right from the beginning. His nuanced and bored drawl underscore the fun of the lyrics, like playing off "jewelry" with "sending rings around my head" or a line like "pieces of pieces lay in a pile." The uncredited pedal steel adds another authentic touch (presumably it's by Leo LeBlanc).

Played live 6 times:
Earliest known live version: March 31, 1996
Latest known live version: December 16, 1997

Beck did play "Leave Me On The Moon" at a few acoustic/country-ish shows in 1996-1997. I wonder if he ever played it earlier? Country wasn't something he did on stage so much on early tours, so maybe not.

Appropriately, "Leave Me On The Moon" was played at the premiere for the Kill the Moonlight movie. Beck and his band played a short acoustic, country set on June 13 1997. This was one of his first post-Odelay "country" shows, and he would do a number more after that (Farm Aid, El Rey country show) which also included the song.

The version on December 17 1997 is one of the best. A short brief harmonica solo is nice, but the upbeat, snappier folk performance is nice. Especially after the relatively somber tunes he'd been playing to that point in the show—"Lampshade," "Sing It Again," and the like. This was a solo version, without a band.

Beck seems to have left the song behind now. I'm not sure it's been played since 1997, even though acoustic sets (and shows and tours!) have become fairly regular.