Moody Blues – Question

This was the opening track on the Question Of Balance album, and at one point it was going to be the title track. The song was recorded several months earlier than the other tracks on the album and its title was shortened from “Question Of Balance” to “Question.”

When I was younger I started with this album and owned everything up until Long Distance Voyager. Their early seventies output is my favorite period but I liked their entire catalog as a whole.

The song peaked at #21 in the Billboard 100 and #2 in the UK in 1970. In the UK, this became the group’s biggest hit for their classic lineup. Before John Lodge and Justin Hayward joined the group in 1966, they had a #1 UK hit with “Go Now.”

From Songfacts

Moody Blues guitarist/vocalist Justin Hayward wrote this song, which reflected the thoughts of many young people who were questioning the war in Vietnam. He told us: “We’d achieved great success in the United States and we were playing a lot of student venues and colleges, and the student audience was our audience. We were mixing with these people and seeing how different the problems were for them and the issues in being a member of the greatest nation on earth: the United States. How different they were from British people. I was just expressing my frustration around that, around the problems of anti-war and things that really concerned them, and for their own future that they may be conscripted. How that would morally be a dilemma for them and that kind of stuff. So it did really come out of that. And my own particular anger at what was happening. After a decade of peace and love, it still seemed we hadn’t made a difference in 1970. I suppose that was the theme of the song. And then the slow part of the song is really a reflection of that and not feeling defeated, but almost a quiet reflection of it, and mixing with a bit of a love song, as well.” (Here’s the full Justin Hayward interview.)

In the liner notes of the 1997 remastered CD, Justin Hayward wrote: “Sometime before we taped the album, we (documented) ‘Question,’ which was a song that I didn’t have on Friday night for a session (the next day). But, by the morning, I had it and it was recorded very quickly.” Hayward adds that it was “Recorded live, with no overdubbing or double-tracking, just a bit of echo.”

The song is a concert mainstay of The Moody Blues, which is fine with Justin Hayward, who tells us he never loses the emotion for it when he performs the tune. It’s also a song that has remained relevant. Says Hayward: “There’s no doubt that it still resonates, the lyrics reflect whichever generation you’re in. Whatever time you’re in, people are experiencing those emotions. And I find that people identify with it at any age.”

Many of the songs Justin Hayward wrote for The Moody Blues don’t have obvious titles – “The Voice,” for instance. This song is another one without a natural title where he chose a word from the lyrics to represent it.

Question

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 soul
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

Why do we never get an answer
When we’re knocking at the door?

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

26 thoughts on “Moody Blues – Question”

  1. Excellent song. I’d never really paid a lot of attention to the lyrics before – quite good in context of the background to it. though they did ok for years, I’d suggest they were one of the more under-rated Brit bands of the ’60s and ’70s

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is a deep song…sometimes you listen to a song but only the overall sound of it…this one means something.
      Personally…as I said this album started my education of them. I bought them in chronicle order after this one.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s funny… when I do look it’s an album you haven’t covered… after that it slips my mind.

        Every Good Boy Deserves Favour was printed on this thick paper… it looked great.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This song is a great example of what I’ve tried to tell my young musician nephew, to encourage him to start writing songs. Songs written by someone in their teens and 20s have a yearning that can’t really be faked later in life. After that stage, lyrics tend to be reflective on life, family, society, etc. ‘Question’ has two intertwined themes; one asking what is going on in the world; and the other a personal yearning for someone who will make him complete. That yearning disappears as songwriters mature. It seems like most of the masterpieces are written in the yearning stage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes you are right…not that mature songs are bad but the great works? Yes they come from that age.

      Even the stuff I wrote…I can see in the late 80s and 90s I was experimental…12 chords in a song and it all fit…the older I got the more simple the songs became. You become less likely to take chances…you have more to lose.

      The yearning is something you cannot recapture. I think you can get flashes of it but that is all.

      Like

      1. Yes and in 2010 or so I got Cubase…a recording program and recorded them all…so I have them anyway…I played everything myself…i want to get my musician friends together and re record them. because I’m not a good lead guitar player or a singer at all….they are more like demos.
        Hey we all need advice and you are right on the money.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. When they are re recorded I will post them somewhere…I can take criticism lol. When I was younger it would have been harder to take.

        I thought about posting the demos somewhere but people listen and think it’s a finished product…the song is finished but not the production.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s