Requiem For A Lightweight
:: Moonlight Masquerade ::
Taken from Mickey Rooney Jr’s 1978 solo album, aptly titled Crazy Ideas, “Moonlight Masquerade” is a shameless rip off of Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood’s 1972 hit, “It Never Rains In Southern California.” While the production, harmonica lick, and chord progression sound just like it, the lyrics are much lighter, such as with the opening lines:
When I first saw you at the all night supermarket
And I held a watermelon in your hand
Do you remember all the promises you told me
As we ate it in the back seat of your van
In verse two he continues the food metaphor when she promises to give him all her cupcakes all she can. But to his credit, Mickey Rooney Jr. got the jump on Dan Fogelberg, who didn’t get hip to the ‘saw you at the grocery store’ angle until 1981 with the regrettable release of “Same Old Lang Syne.” Unlike the dismal winter imagery of that song, the chorus of “Moonlight Masquerade” takes on a balmy, Hawaiian tinge. The lap steel guitar part and lilting female backing vocals are suggestive of a climate suitable for having unprotected sex in a van, and more feel-good overall than dead Fogelberg’s frostbitten dick vibe.
According to his myspace page, Mickey Rooney Jr. lives in Hemet, California and still performs occasionally, while his former bass player John Blanchard is in a California State prison serving time for murder, so it’s all relative.