Moody Blues – Nights In White Satin

I have played this song in a club with a 4 piece band and it actually very well received. You don’t have to have the full orchestra for it to sound good…it’s that good of song. Our bass player actually recited the poem to applause. Even after peeling off the layers of music, the song stood.

Justin Hayward wrote this song after he joined the band after Denny Laine had left. It is said that he got the idea for the song after someone gave him a set of white satin sheets, and wrote it in his bed-sit at Bayswater.

The poem at the end was recorded separately. It is called Late Lament and was written by their drummer, Graeme Edge. The poem was read by keyboard player Mike Pinder. Edge wrote another poem that appeared early on the album called Morning Glory.

This song ushered in a new sound for this band who were formally more of a blues band. “Nights in White Satin” was originally released in 1967, charting at #19 in the UK, but topping out at #103 in America, where six-minute songs were a tough sell. In 1972, after songs like “Hey Jude ” and “Layla” paved the way for long, dramatic tunes (and The Moody Blues became more popular), the song was re-released in the US and became a hit, peaking at #2 in the Billboard 100 and #1 in Canada.

Justin Hayward: “I wrote our most famous song, ‘Nights in White Satin’ when I was 19. It was a series of random thoughts and was quite autobiographical. It was a very emotional time as I was at the end of one big love affair and the start of another. A lot of that came out in the song.”

From Songfacts

The Moody Blues recorded the album with The London Festival Orchestra, which never actually existed – it was the name given to the musicians put together to make the Days of Future Passed album. The orchestral parts were performed separately and edited between and around the Moody Blues parts, so the orchestra did not actually accompany the group. The original idea was for the group and orchestra to record a rock version of Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” which their record company would use to demonstrate enhanced stereo sound technology.

Before joining The Moody Blues, a teenaged Justin Hayward signed a deal with Lonnie Donegan’s publishing company, which ended up giving Donegan the lion’s share of the royalties for this and other songs Hayward wrote at the time. Donegan was star in the ’50s, famous for his skiffle sound that influenced The Beatles and The Who. In the ’60s, he became more involved in the business side of the industry and formed his publishing company Tyler Music.

Days of Future Passed is a concept album based around different times of day. For example, “Dawn Is A Feeling” and “Tuesday Afternoon.” This song was last on the album because it represents nighttime.

Justin Hayward was inspired by Moody Blues keyboard player Mike Pinder’s composition “Dawn Is A Feeling.” Since Pinder had done “The Morning” for the concept album, Hayward tried to do “The Night.”

Fans have come up with many interpretations of this song, which is just fine with Justin Hayward, who fells that the receiver gives life to the transmission. “It’s the listeners who bring the magic and the interpretations to these songs,” he said in his 2016 Songfacts interview.

This song introduced a new sound for the band. When they formed, they were more of a blues band, and had a hit in 1965 with a cover of Bessie Banks’ “Go Now.” With the songs on Days of Future Passed, they distinguished themselves with original songs in a more psychedelic/orchestral sound.

In the UK, the song made two more chart appearances, going to #9 in 1972 and #14 in 1979.

The Dickies 1979 Punk version reached #39; the Moody Blues used to use The Dickies version sometimes when doing a sound check.

The week of December 2, 1972, this song plunged from #17 to completely out of the Hot 100, setting a record for the biggest drop out of that chart in a single week. Drastic chart disappearances became more common in the ’10s, and the Glee Cast version of “Toxic” made the fall from the #16 spot in 2010.

Talking about the experiences that inspired the lyrics to this song, Justin Hayward said: “About an audience in Glastonbury, a flat in Bayswater and the ecstasy of an hour of love.”

Among the many artists to record this song are Procol Harum, Eric Burdon, Percy Faith, Nancy Sinatra and Il Divo. When we spoke with Justin Hayward in 2013, he told us that the best cover he heard of this song was by the soul singer Bettye LaVette. “She covered ‘Nights,’ and somebody sent it to me as an MP3, a link,” he explained. “I was sitting in bed with my laptop waking up to my emails, and I clicked on this link and I burst into tears. My wife came in and she said, ‘What the hell’s the matter with you?’ And I said, ‘You’ve got to listen to this.’ She didn’t cry. But I heard the lyric for the first time. There have been hundreds, maybe thousands of covers of ‘Nights in White Satin,’ but that was the first time I heard it for real.”

The Moody Blues enjoyed a long and illustrious career that took them well into the 2010’s, and included thousands of performances, most of which featured this song. How does Justin Hayward handle the repetition? “I never lose the emotion of songs like that,” he told us. “I’m lucky enough not to have lost the emotion or the motivation, because it’s a wonderful thing to be able to share. And the audience provides the emotion around that. Because you do it in sound check and it’s fine, but when there’s an audience there, it completely transforms the experience.”

Nights In White Satin

Nights in white satin
Never reaching the end
Letters I’ve written
Never meaning to send

Beauty I’d always missed
With these eyes before
Just what the truth is
I can’t say any more

‘Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you

Gazing at people, some hand in hand
Just what I’m going through they can’t understand
Some try to tell me, thoughts they cannot defend
Just what you want to be, you will be in the end

And I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you

Nights in white satin
Never reaching the end
Letters I’ve written
Never meaning to send

Beauty I’ve always missed
With these eyes before
Just what the truth is
I can’t say any more

‘Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you
‘Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you

Moody Blues – Your Wildest Dreams

It’s easy to relate to this song… most have someone who they felt got away and you still think about them and wonder if they think about you.

It has a great hook and it gets you right away. The Moody Blues have been described as a progressive rock band but I have never thought of them that way. Maybe because I don’t particularly like progressive rock bands. I’ve always thought the Moodies were a great pop/rock band who plays for the song like Story In Your Eyes, Question, and others. This song is more of a pop song than some of their early ones but a catchy one.

It was written by Justin Hayward and peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100, #1 in the Adult Contemporary Charts, and #2 in the Mainstream Rock Charts in1986.

Justin Hayward: “I found with ‘Wildest Dreams’ that it was a common experience for a lot of people,” he said. “I thought I was writing a frivolous sort of song. I thought ‘Wildest Dreams’ would be a throwaway thing that people wouldn’t really take much notice of lyrically. But I found out that it was a common experience and desire by a lot of people. So that was very revealing.”

From Songfacts

The Moody Blues were one of the first bands to use a Mellotron, which was a keyboard instrument that played sounds by triggering tape loops. Mike Pinder, a founding member of the band, was their Mellotron virtuoso. After Pinder’s departure in 1979, Justin Hayward began experimenting with synthesizers and became particularly fond of the Yamaha DX7, which is apparent on this track.

Tony Visconti, famous for his work with David Bowie, produced The Other Side Of Life album and encouraged the band to use some unusual instruments. “Most of ‘Wildest Dreams’ – 90% of it – is Tony Visconti, my DX7, and a guitar synth,” Justin Hayward tells us. “The piece at the beginning that sounds like a sort of Theremin, a (humming) ‘oooo ooo,’ that’s a guitar synth. All of that is. So it was just another way of exploring musical avenues. Tony Visconti was very much into that and the first person who really turned the band on to programming in a serious way. And he was very, very good at it, so I enjoyed every moment of that.”

Justin Hayward wrote the song “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” which appeared on the next Moody Blues album, Sur la Mer, as a sequel to this song, with the singer longing to find the girl.

For “Somewhere,” he went back to his Yamaha DX7 synthesizer and used the same keyboard and bass sounds, keeping the same tempo. This gave the songs a similar musical feel to connect them musically, and then he wrote the lyrics to continue the story.

Your Wildest Dreams

Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Reflected in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

Once the world was new
Our bodies felt the morning dew
That greets the brand new day
We couldn’t tear ourselves away
I wonder if you care
I wonder if you still remember
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays
And when the words are touched with sorrow
When the music plays
I hear the sound I had to follow
Once upon a time

Once beneath the stars
The universe was ours
Love was all we knew
And all I knew was you
I wonder if you know
I wonder if you think about it
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

And when the music plays
And when the words are touched with sorrow
When the music plays
And when the music plays
I hear the sound I had to follow
Once upon a time

Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Mirrored in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams (ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
In your wildest dreams (ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
In your wildest dreams (ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
In your wildest dreams (ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

The Moody Blues – Gemini Dream

I remember in Jr High school in 1981 I bought Long Distant Voyager by the Moody Blues. The album received a lot of airplay and peaked at #1 in the Billboard album charts. It had two top twenty hits with The Voice and Gemini Dream. Gemini Dream peaked at #12 in the Billboard 100.

The Moody Blues knew how to adapt. They started off as an R&B band, moved into experimental orchestral rock, dipped into rock, and in the 80s produced some high charting pop songs. I always liked their early seventies output the best but this was a great comeback for them entering the 80s. This album introduced them to another generation of fans.

This is a combination of two songs, the first being bass player John Lodge’s song about going on the road again and the second being guitarist Justin Hayward’s song about love being shared or twin “Gemini” dreams.

Gemini Dream

Long time no see
Short time for you and me
So fine, so good
We’re on the road
Like you knew we would

First night, so long
A state of mind
What can go wrong
We’re here, the time is right
To rock ‘n’ roll
Right through the night

Make it work out
Make it work
Make it work out
Make it work out
For each other tonight

Stage fright, candle light
You can’t let go
Tonight’s the night
Came back for you
Glad to see
That you came too

There’s a place a Gemini dream
There’s no escaping from the love we have seen
So come with me, turn night today
You gonna wake up
You know you gonna wake up in a Gemini dream

Turned round to see
Where we’ve been
And what we believe
In life, love
Take a chance
See it through
You’ll be glad
That you came too

There’s a place a Gemini dream
There’s no escaping from the love we have seen
So come with me, turn night to day
You gonna wake up
You know you gonna wake up in a Gemini dream

Long time no see
The lights go up
For you and me
We’re here
The time is right
To rock ‘n’ roll
Right through the night

Living it
Believing it
Wanting it
Make it work out
Make it work
Make it work out
Make it work out
For each other tonight

Long time no see
Short time for you and me
So fine so far so good
We’re on the road
Like you knew we would

 

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?

Moody Blues – The Voice

I remember in Jr High school in 1981 I bought Long Distant Voyager by the Moody Blues. The album received heavy play and peaked at #1 in the Billboard album charts. The album had two top twenty hits with The Voice and Gemini Dream. The Voice peaked at #15 in the Billboard 100.

With no clear title in the lyrics, Justin Hayward had no idea what to name this song. When the group’s engineer, Greg Jackman, asked him what to call it, Hayward replied, “I’ll think of that after.”

Jackman thought he said, “Fat Arthur,” and wrote that on the tape. That was the song’s name right up to the mastering process when Jackman pushed for a more sensible title before they turned it over to the label. Hayward went through the lyrics and picked out “The Voice,” which is what stuck.

Mike Pinder left after the previous album Octave and was replaced by Patrick Moraz.

From Songfacts

This was one of the songs that propelled The Moody Blues to a comeback in the early 1980s, and of their newer songs, it appealed the most strongly to fans of their original work. Written by Justin Hayward, the lyrics have the same philosophical tone of their songs in the late 1960s, and the song is alternately urgent and hopeful about the future. It seems to be telling listeners that they face major choices on how their world will turn out, and that there is great hope in it, but only if they make it happen of their own initiative. 

After the Moody Blues came to San Francisco and played their psychedelia-tinged songs in 1967, they’ve been perceived in some circles as a Flower Power band. They are certainly very introspective, but their music changed with the times, thanks in part to a shift in songwriting for Justin Hayward. By the ’80s, he no longer needed to be in just the right mood to write a song (like he was on one Tuesday Afternoon), but could compose in his music room on a regular schedule. Hayward cites this discipline for the band’s continued success in the ’80s.

Hayward did something different on this track, recording two guitars to a click track and then bringing that tape to the band to give them the tempo and feel of the song. This is the method he used on many songs throughout the decade.

The Voice

Won’t you take me back to school?
I need to learn the golden rule.
Won’t you lay it on the line?
I need to hear it just one more time.

Oh, won’t you tell me again?
Oh, can you feel it?
Oh, won’t you tell me again tonight?

Each and every heart it seems,
Is bounded by a world of dreams.
Each and every rising sun,
Is greeted by a lonely one.

Oh, won’t you tell me again?
Oh, can you feel it?
Oh, won’t you tell me again tonight?

Cause out on the ocean of life my love.
There a so many storms we must rise above.
Can you hear the spirit calling, as it’s carried across the waves?
You’re already falling it’s calling you back to face the music.
And the song that is coming through.
You’re already falling the one that it’s calling is you.

My a promise take a vow.
And trust your feelings it easy now.
Understand The Voice within.
And feel a change already beginning.

Oh, won’t you tell me again?
Oh, can you feel it?
Oh, won’t you tell me again tonight? Tonight?

Oh, won’t you tell me again?
Oh, can you feel it?
Oh, won’t you tell me again tonight?

And how many words have I got to say?
And how many times will it be this way?
With your arms around the future and your back up against the past.
You’re already falling it’s calling you on to face the music.
And the song that is coming through.
You’re already falling the one that it’s calling is you.

Each and every heart it seems,
Is bounded by a world of dreams.
Each and every rising sun,
Is greeted by, a lonely, lonely one.

Won’t you tell me again?
Oh, can you feel it?
Oh, won’t you tell me again tonight?

Moody Blues – Ride My See-Saw

Love the tone of the guitar in this one. The song peaked at #61 in the Billboard 100 and #42 in the UK in 1968. The song is off of the album In Search of the Lost Chord.

John Lodge quote on writing Ride My See-Saw

“The song is really about growing up. It’s about what you learn at school and everything else…it’s pretty cool. But when you grow up and go into the real world, you can’t take that with you. You need to see what’s happening in the real world, and whatever you learned in life up until that time, it will give you a nice grounding so you can find your way in life. It’s really important that you’re aware of the world and what’s actually happening in it, and to try to relate to that. “Ride My See-Saw” is the fact that you’re going up and down—you learn a bit and you lose a bit. That’s what this song is about.”

From Songfacts.

“Ride My See-Saw” was written by John Lodge, bass player for The Moody Blues. It was one of two singles from their In Search of the Lost Chord album. The B-side of the single was “A Simple Game” in the UK “Voices In The Sky” in the US.

“Ride My See-Saw” has become one of the band’s most popular live tunes. It is the song regularly reserved for the finale performance in stage shows, with a lengthy keyboard and drum duet before the rest of the band comes out onstage for the encore.

This song was one of the first single releases to be recorded on 8-track multi-track tape.

In Search of the Lost Chord is a concept album around a broad theme of quest and discovery. This song found the Moodies exploring knowledge in a changing world.

Ride My See-Saw

Ride, ride my see-saw,
Take this place
On this trip
Just for me.

Ride, take a free ride,
Take my place
Have my seat
It’s for free.

I worked like a slave for years,
Sweat so hard just to end my fears.
Not to end my life a poor man,
But by now, I know I should have run.

Run, run my last race,
Take my place
Have this number
Of mine.

Run, run like a fire,
Don’t you run in
In the lanes
Run for time.

Left school with a first class pass,
Started work but as second class.
School taught one and one is two.
But right now, that answer just ain’t true.

Ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah

My world is spinning around,
Everything is lost that I found.
People run, come ride with me,
Let’s find another place that’s free.

Ride, ride my see-saw,
Take this place
On this trip
Just for me.

Ride, take a free ride,
Take my place
Have my seat
It’s for free.

Ride, my see-saw.
Ride, ride, ride, my see-saw.
Ride, my see-saw…

Moody Blues – Story in Your Eyes

Great melody in this song. The Moody Blues are described sometimes as a progressive band but unlike many progressive bands, they kept a good pop/rock sensibility. I bought the album Every Good Boy Deserves Favour when I heard this song. The song peaked at #23 in the Billboard 100 in 1971.

 

From Songfacts.

This song was a bonus track to the album, yet it turned out to be by far its most successful song. Its music and lyrics are among the intense songs from this group. The song seems to be about a man worrying about both his marriage/relationship and the world around him.

The name of the album, “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,” is taken from a mnemonic device used to aid in learning to read music. It corresponds to the notes on the lines in the treble clef, from bottom to top: E, G, B, D, F. There is also a stage play by Tom Stoppard of the same name, which was first performed in 1977.

Story in Your Eyes

I’ve been thinking about our fortune
And I’ve decided that we’re really not to blame
For the love that’s deep inside us now, is still the same
And the sound we make together
Is the music to the story in your eyes
It’s been shining down upon you now, I realize

Listen to the tide slowly turning
Wash all our heartaches away
We are part of the fire that is burning
And from the ashes we can build another day
But I’m frightened for your children
And the life that we are living is in vain
And the sunshine we’ve been waiting for
Will turn to rain

When the final line is over
And it’s certain that the curtain’s gonna fall
I can hide inside your sweet sweet love
Forever more

Listen to the tide slowly turning
Wash all our heartaches away
We are part of the fire that is burning
And from the ashes we can build another day
But I’m frightened for your children
And the life that we are living is in vain
And the sunshine we’ve been waiting for
Will turn to rain

 

New Musical Express Winners 1965 Concert

I have the video of this show. First, the lineup to this event included

  • The Moody Blues
  • Freddie and the Dreamers
  • Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames
  • The Seekers
  • Herman’s Hermits
  • The Ivy League
  • Sounds Incorporated
  • Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Cilla Black
  • Donovan
  • Them
  • The Searchers
  • Dusty Springfield
  • The Animals
  • The Beatles
  • The Kinks

Think about the talent on that stage. To see the Stones, Animals, Van Morrison with Them, The Kinks and The Beatles all in the same day on the same stage. This would be a dream concert. Jimmy Saville hosted the event. It’s hard to watch the guy knowing what we know now about him.

It’s great to see The Rolling Stones with Brian Jones but you can tell the Beatles were THE Band of the day and were clearly the most anticipated.

You see a young Van Morrison fluff a line in “Here Comes The Night” but his voice comes through loud and clear. It’s a wonder you have a sound at all. In between songs you see roadies roll out amps and drums for the next band. They did quite well and it was never a long break between bands.

The sound quality is not the greatest but it’s good enough to watch considering the hectic way they had everyone perform.

The next year the Who, Rolling Stones, and the Beatles would play but The Beatles and Stones would not let their segments be recorded.

As far as I know, there is not an official release of this video…You can watch it on Youtube or order a bootleg DVD on various sites.