"Man on the Rocks" was produced by Stephen Lipson together with Mike Oldfield. The album features bassist Leland Sklar, drummer John Robinson, keyboardist Matt Rollings, guitarist Michael Thompson and singer Luke Spiller together with Oldfield himself on guitar. The backing tracks were recorded during June 2013 in Studio D of Village Studios, Los Angeles with producer Steve Lipson; Oldfield participated in these sessions via Skype. Oldfield has also recorded part of the album in his home studio in the Bahamas.
The working title for the album had been Rock. The piece "Irene" is inspired by Hurricane Irene which hit the Bahamas in 2011. The final track is a cover of William McDowell's gospel piece "I Give Myself Away". Luke Spiller is the singer of another of Virgin EMI's British artists, The Struts
The album marks a return of Oldfield to a Virgin branded label since leaving Virgin Records in the 1990s, through the merger of Mercury Records UK and Virgin Records after Universal Music's purchase of EMI. Oldfield has used the title "Moonshine" once before for the final piece on 1992's Tubular Bells II.