Song Lyric Sunday: The Moody Blues, “Question”

Source: Melanie

Clive from Take It Easy provided this week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt, “songs with recognizable intros.” There are a lot of samples of this, so I wanted to be sure that I chose one that I didn’t think anyone else would.

My choice is “Question” by The Moody Blues. It was released as a single in April 1970 and was one of the first singles I bought after I got my first stereo. Later, it was the lead track on the band’s 1970 album A Question of Balance. Justin Hayward wrote it and sang on it, and played the introductory riff on a 12-string acoustic guitar. Wikipedia had this to say about it:

“Question” is one of the Moody Blues’ most popular songs, and has been included in virtually all of their compilations and live albums. In addition, the song was re-recorded (along with “Isn’t Life Strange”) in the studio with the London Symphony Orchestra (who in 1978 had released an orchestral cover of the song) in 1988, for the Greatest Hits album.

Cash Box described the song as starting “with a guitar intro in the Who manner” that “[churns] up instant listener interest from the start” and then “alters midway to become a brilliantly presented ballad in the [Moody Blues’] own traditon.”

The reference to The Who is probably to “Pinball Wizard” from their 1969 “rock opera” Tommy, which starts with a similar strum pattern. When my friend Mark and I got together to jam around (him on keyboards, me on guitar), we would play both of these songs, and invariably I would break the high “E” string on my guitar (the thinnest and the one with the most tension, thus most fragile), which, unless I happened to have a spare, usually ended the jam session. I learned later that Hayward plays it in C tuning, which takes a lot of pressure off all the strings except, naturally, the high “E.”

Why do we never get an answer
When we’re knocking at the door
With a thousand million questions
About hate and death and war?

’cause when we stop and look around us
There is nothing that we need.
In a world of persecution that is burning in its greed.

Why do we never get an answer
When we’re knocking at the door?
Because the truth is hard to swallow
That’s what the war of love is for.

It’s not the way that you say it
When you do those things to me.
It’s more the way that you mean it
When you tell me what will be.

And when you stop and think about it
You won’t believe it’s true.
That all the love you’ve been giving
Has all been meant for you.

I’m looking for someone to change my life.
I’m looking for a miracle in my life.
And if you could see what it’s done to me
To lose the love I knew
Could safely lead me through.

Between the silence of the mountains
And the crashing of the sea
There lies a land I once lived in
And she’s waiting there for me.

But in the grey of the morning
My mind becomes confused
Between the dead and the sleeping
And the road that I must choose.

I’m looking for someone to change my life.
I’m looking for a miracle in my life.
And if you could see what it’s done to me
To lose the love I knew
Could safely lead me to
The land that I once knew.
To learn as we grow old
The secrets of our souls.

It’s not the way that you say it
When you do those things to me.
It’s more the way you really mean it
When you tell me what will be.

Why do we never get an answer
When we’re knocking at the door
With a thousand million questions
About hate and death and war?

When we stop and look around us
There is nothing that we need.
In a world of persecution that is burning in its greed.

Source: AZLyrics

That’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for November 20, 2022.

20 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: The Moody Blues, “Question”

  1. What can I say but love, love, love this band! I saw them twice and with the great Ray Thomas before he had to retire and then, sadly, passed away. Just love this and look at how beautiful the words are and compare it to today’s music.

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  2. You made a great choice with this song John and although I have never broken a guitar string, I can understand how that would interrupt a jamming session. I love the harmonizing on this song. Justin Hayward wrote some great songs.

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    1. Do you ever watch Rick Beato on YouTube? He has a feature called “What makes this song great?” where he will spend some time playing a song and breaking down what’s great about each piece of the recording. He points out stuff that you don’t know to listen for and how it relates to everything else going on. He’s a musician and producer and really gets into it. Fascinating stuff…

      Liked by 1 person

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