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Moody Blues/meaning behind "Question"


Andrea (Andy) McDonald wrote at 2009-08-19 04:49:46
You are right Tracy in that all songs are all things to all people as we react from our own frame of reference.  The fast part of this song is indeed about war and the questions it brings, but as is the case for all song writers I think, the core of the song must come from a personal space, and this is no exception.

The two were not intended to be one initially, and the slow melody was written late at night in an intense atmosphere of pain and uncertainty.  It really is another attempt to express Justin's deepest need, and is an extension of Nights in White Satin. Justin is speaking to the woman who, in Nights In White Satin was the unfound recepient of the letters he'd written, never meaning to send.  He was unable to send them, because her whereabouts were unknown to him, even her name was at that point a mystery.  She was his wife in their last lifetime, and she died tragically with him then.  Being both clairvoyant and clairaudient, he can see and hear her, but he cannot find her in this huge, huge world.

"I'm looking for a miracle in my life (to find her again) and if you could see what it's done to me to lose the love I knew could safely lead me through"

(this life)  "In the grey of the morning, my mind becomes confused between the dead and the sleeping and the road that I must choose."

It is indeed a searching, heartfelt song, and despite its personal meaning for the man who wrote it and the woman he wrote it for, it has meant so much to so many.

I hope this helps you.  I offer it with deep respect to Marie,  Justin's dear wife in this life.

Tracy wrote at 2009-09-09 01:49:05
Hi Andy,

Justin, in particular of the Moodies, has been pretty tight-lipped about the origins of the songs he’s written.  He has (and frequently, as well,) said that “Nights” came about while he was between love affairs.  One was ending and another (with Marie, whom he eventually married,) was beginning.  He was in the throes of grieving for a failed relationship when a new, potentially stronger and long-lasting one was beginning.  He’s said that he was feeling a great deal of confusion during that time; sad yet happy at the same time…

Though he’s never specifically said that the “letters I’ve written, never meaning to send” were ever intended for either of the women who were part of his life then, he has commented that he has often written letters to people he never meant to send.  Whether that was in response to either the old relationship or the new one, he’s never completely explained.

As for “Question” and its origins?  All I can report on is what Justin’s said in interviews in the past.  (Any other thought that may have been in his head at the time, I’m simply not privy to.)  Specifically, he’s said that “Question” began life as two completely different songs which he’d discovered he had written in the same key.  As the band was scheduled to return to the studio in the next day or two, he figured that since neither was going anywhere as separate songs, he decided to put them together to see what came of them.

I’m sure there’s a great deal more from a personal perspective that may have been going on in Justin’s life when both were written, but again, as he’s never elaborated on either situation, it’s likely he’s forgotten the real impetus behind them.  In any case, both songs went on to become iconic songs for the band.  It’s no wonder, with their popularity and timelessness that both have become so much more than anything Justin could ever have intended them to be.

As a writer myself, I can only say from experience that inspiration comes from many directions.  The writer who is able to transcend his or her initial intent to craft a work that can become more than that one moment; that one experience; has a true talent, indeed.  I can’t claim that for myself, but I can definitely see where Justin, John and Mike, most certainly, can.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on both songs for us, Andy!

greg wrote at 2014-03-16 04:36:07
He is simply asking God a question,,,,,,,,,? read the lyrics, like everything is directed to one person, God.There is not three different stories going on here, He actually mentions, like four different things, and its a journey, through life, giving his love to god, and it will tell him what will be ,your girlfriend , is not an it, and her will doesn't rule , and he never mentions the Vietnam war, maybe inspired it , from the news, but you watch the news there are many wars, persecution , greed, death ,so you still knocking on your girlfriends door ? an it will tell what will be , ,,,,, Mathew 7:7,,,,, " knock an it shall be opened " ,,,,, i hope  this helps anyone who is confused, reading the lyrics, help,,,,,,,,,,,, peace from cali,,,

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Tracy Zimmermann


I’m pretty confident that I can answer just about any question about the band or their music you may have. I’ve been a fan since 1972 and have followed their careers (collectively and as solo artists,) closely ever since. In addition, I've amassed a vast database on all things Moody - from "completest" discographies for the band and all of their solo projects, to extensive bibliographies, videographies, posterfiles, etc. I have an extensive collection of memorabilia; both group and related solo projects. My collection includes vinyl, CDs, tapes (cassette, 8-track, and reel,) posters, shirts, sheet music and songbooks, back stage passes, magazines, books and other publications, equipment, and video. If I don’t know it, I know where to find it. All you have to do is ask!


I’ve been a fan of the band since 1972. I was a contributing editor to "Higher and Higher", the Moody Blues Magazine 1994, to the magazine’s untimely demise in 2007, writing the Videography Department.

As noted previously, much of my writing has appeared in “Higher and Higher” since 1994, but I also wrote a piece that appeared in issue #1 of Mike Pinder’s newsletter “Have You Heard”.

Though I haven’t yet finished, my educational focus is on a Journalism degree.

Awards and Honors
I've also had the good fortune to have traveled to England to catch the end of the Band's Spring 2000 concert tour; a trip I've always wanted to take. I’ve supplied research information on the band to a number of sources, including the July 5, 2004 English Quiz Show “Mastermind” which featured a contestant whose expertise was also the Moody Blues. I also participated in the UK Channel 4 presentation of the “Top Ten” program's episode on Progressive Rock, that featured the Moody Blues at #3 on their list. That program aired on March 3, 2001.

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