There's a moon over bourbon street tonight
I see faces as they pass beneath the pale lamplight
I've no choice but to follow that call
The bright lights the people and the moon and all
I pray everyday to be strong
For I know what I do must be wrong
Oh you'll never see my shade or hear the sound of my feet
While there's a moon over bourbon street

It was many years ago that I became what I am
I was trapped in this life like an innocent lamb
Now I can never show my face at noon
And you'll only see me walking by the light of the moon
The brim of my hat hides the eye of a beast
I've the face of a sinner but the hands of a priest
Oh you'll never see my shade or hear the sound of my feet
While there's a moon over bourbon street

She walks everyday through the streets of New Orleans
She's innocent and young from a family of means
I have stood many times outside her window at night
To struggle with my instinct in the pale moonlight
How could I be this way when I pray to god above
I must love what I destroy and destroy the thing I love
Oh you'll never see my shade or hear the sound of my feet
While there's a moon over bourbon street


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

Moon Over Bourbon Street Lyrics as written by GORDON SUMNER

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Moon Over Bourbon Street song meanings
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26 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment

    I heard that it was inspired by 'Interview With the Vampire' and I am really sure that is what sting was talking about. I didn't really get at first until I reheard this line: (The brim of my hat hides the eye of a beast I've the face of a sinner but the hands of a priest.) It really sounds like Louis. Louis thinks of himself as a monster and thats why he doesn't like to kill people. And then there was another phrase that made my brain think: (She walks everyday through the streets of New Orleans She's innocent and young from a family of means I have stood many times outside her window at night To struggle with my instinct in the pale moonlight) It completely sounds like the 'she' reference is to Claudia. All in all, it's a really cool song!

    aleera6667on May 28, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    [Sting]: “One of my favourite novels is a book called ‘Interview With A Vampire’ by Ann Rice. The hero is a vampire in the 19th century. He is attacked and becomes a vampire. Unfortunately his conscience and his morality are in tact, so he has to spend the rest of eternity sucking blood. But still he has a conscience about this. This character is very [??]. I wrote this song in New Orleans, which is Branford's hometown. I laid awake late at night in the French Quarter. You know the French Quarter? It was a full moon and I wrote this song".

    sillybunnyon August 28, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I like this song just because it tells a nice story. I've always favored narrative lyrics.

    Everyone else is right o about its meaning though. I'm not sure if its really tied to Anne Rice at all though... I just dont know how the release of the various books line up with the song's release.

    Also, if you've read the books, none of the vampires ever stalk a living girl for any length of time.

    " She walks everyday through the streets of New Orleans She's innocent and young from a family of means

    I have stood many times outside her window at night To struggle with my instinct in the pale moonlight"

    He's obviously fallen in love with a living human, but is unable to do anything about it because of his nature.

    GothicBladeon April 17, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I always thought of it as a werewolf song too. "Oh you'll never see my shade or hear the sound of my feet While there's a moon over Bourbon Street If he were a vampire, then you would see and hear him during night. If he's a werewolf, then he would change by the light of the moon. The man would not be seen nor heard during this time...but the werewolf would. Isn't that why there's a howl at the end of the song...especially on the live version on Bring on the Night.

    jdappletonon June 23, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Thanks to thedouglas for referring me to the following liner note on DotBT: "Moon Over Bourbon Street was inspired by 'Interview with a Vampire' by Anne Rice"

    Please look to this line for the were-wolf fans:

    Oh you'll never see my shade (because he is not out during the day) or hear the sound of my feet (he's flying or at least very light) While there's a moon over Bourbon Street

    You'll only see me walking by the light of the moon (obviously walking and not a were-wolf)

    The "moon" stuff is a little confusing, but it is only because Vampires would like the moon vs the sun.

    I use this song in my class with "I am Aquainted with the Night" by Robert Frost, which has a line in it "I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet" and has a very eerie sound to it if you have just listened to "Moon over Bourbon Street". Sting was an English teacher and I'd like to think he may have had this poem in mind as well, when he wrote the song, as the images are very similiar, and the poem is standard fair for English classes. Either way, you will enjoy the Frost poem, as much as the Sting lyrics, as I feel that this is where modern poetry has taken a foot hold...

    Rockhound_17on January 06, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    For Woolf (as this poem may be about a serial killer or vampire?)

    Acquainted with the Night By Robert Frost

    I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in rain --and back in rain. I have outwalked the furthest city light.

    I have looked down the saddest city lane. I have passed by the watchman on his beat And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

    I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet When far away an interrupted cry Came over houses from another street,

    But not to call me back or say good-bye; And further still at an unearthly height One luminary clock against the sky

    Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. I have been one acquainted with the night.

    Rockhound_17on January 06, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I never made the vampire connection. I always thought of it as more of a Dr. Jeckyl and Mr Hide and the loss of control and inhibitions with substance abuse. The walk down Bourbon street is an allusion to being drunk. The priestly hands was what his former life was before he became all consumed with darkness and wanders the night as drunk. Enough so that he can not show his face at day.

    He wishes to be pure and strong but has succumbed to the sickness of his mind (much like Mr. Hide self-destrucive nature to destroying everything in Dr. Jeckylls life). In the end of the song he give into his darkest lustful desires to go up to the women he has stalked so often to commit rape and murder- he must love what he destroys and destroy what he loves (because the innocence he loved will be lost when he rapes, he knows he will then be forced to destroy her afterwards)

    It's an erie and dark song, and takes something like the stalking song of "Every Breath you take" to even a darker level of moving into action on acting on impulses.

    Great song to watch live theatrically during symphoncicty

    flipflopson August 18, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I heard that this song was inspired by "Interview with the vampire"... and is sung from louis' point of view.

    j_nefariouson June 17, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    That's right. I heard this song for the first time in 1986. I was 15 then and had never heard of Anne Rice. It took me several years to figure out what Sting was talking about. But because the song intrigued me, I kept listening to it. Then when I discovered the Vampire Chronicles, it hit me like a ton of bricks! I admire Sting so much. He can fashion a song out of almost anything. No one else writes with the same intelligence and emotion as Sting. Peace

    Rogue1on July 07, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    So it is what I thought, then. A vampire-song, that is. This song always gets me in a vampire-like mood...

    Silmëon July 26, 2002   Link

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