The Moody Blues formed in 1964. Their first top 10 hit “Go Now” was released in 1965. The Moody Blues highest Billboard charting single was released in 1972 when “Nights In White Satin,” hit No.2 on the charts. The Moody Blues last song to register on the Billboard charts was released in 1988 when “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” reached No. 30 on the top 40 Billboard charts. The list below looks at 10 of the best Moody Blues songs of the band’s career.
The Top 10 Best Moody Blues Songs
# 10 – Emily’s Song
From the Moody Blues’ seventh album Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. The album was released on July 23rd 1971. The Moody Blues “Emily’s Song,” featured John Loge on vocals. It can easily be argued that “Emily,” was one of the Moody Blues most beautiful and heartfelt ballads. John Loge sang this song for his newborn daughter Emily. You can hear the love in Johns vocals and the earnest sentiment in his wonderful lyrics.
# 9 – I Know You’re Out There Somewhere
The Moody Blues song “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” was released on the Sur la Mer, LP. The vinyl record hit the stores on June 6th 1988. The song was the sequel to the Moody Blues MTV hit “Your Wildest Dreams,” which was released in 1986. The Moody Blues Justin Haywood penned the song. “Your Wildest Dreams,” was a huge MTV video hit which received tremendous airplay. The song was based on the story of a rock star longing for a past teenage love. .
The story resonated with the public based on the typical “One that got away” storyline Even though the band has defined the song “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” as a sequel to the Wildest Dreams story, many fans believed the song had a deeper spiritual meaning. One of the drawbacks of the MTV era was the issue of bands taking away fan interpretations of their favorite songs because of the videos released for the material. However, regardless of interpretation, the song “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” presented a more beautiful melodic line, and did indeed seem more sensitive and appealing than the “Your Wildest Dreams,” recording.
# 8 – Nights in White Satin
Yes, I know, how could this not be No. 1 on the list. After all it was the Moody Blues biggest selling single. It reached higher on the Billboard charts at number two than any other Moody Blues song. It has been included in countless movies and classic rock compilations. It’s all over the rock and roll historic landscape. So what’s the deal, why is it not number 1? The simple reason is if you ask a Moody Blues fan to name their favorite Moody Blues song, they will never bring up “Nights in White Satin.” It’s a great song, a beautiful historic song, but it simply did not define the essence of the Moody Blues, and their signature sound.
# 7 – For My Lady
I remember buying the Moody Blues single “I’m Just A Singer in a Rock and Roll Band,” back in the early seventies. It was simply put, a great rock and roll song. However, it was the flip side of the single called “For My Lady,” that really caught my interest. The song’s bouncy flute opening had a very Irish ethnic storybook sound that took me someplace out to sea. The music of the Moody Blues always depicted great visuals for those with vivid imaginations. In the end, there’s nothing more cooler than buying a 45 rpm single and then discovering that the B side is more interesting. Too bad those days are gone.
# 6 – Ride My See Saw
While “I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band,” was one of the heaviest Moody Blues songs, “Ride My See Saw,” combined heavy and mystic rhythms with the great signature Moody Blues spoken introduction. Even though the intro was labeled as a separate piece called Departure, it was in essence connected to “Ride My See Saw.” When you heard the song played on FM radio, they would always play both parts. However, when “Ride My See Saw,” was released as a single, the record company deleted “Departure,” from the 45 record to make the song more AM pop radio friendly which was still the dominant format in radio back in 1968.
# 5 – Question
The Moody Blues “Question,” featured one of the greatest acoustic guitar openings of any classic rock track in history. When Justin Heywood sang “Why do we never get an answer, when there’s knocking at the door,” Graeme Charles Edgeand responded with a drum fill that catapulted the song into classic rock history. The killer vocal by Justin Heyward and the dynamic time change in the middle of the track confirmed “Question,” as one of the best Moody Blues songs in the band’s history.
# 4 – Lost in a Lost World
Released on the Seventh Sojourn album in 1972, the Moody Blues “Lost in a Lost World,” seemed to be a political and social statement in the wake of the Vietnam Era and Civil Rights movements of the 1960s. Although the band seemed to try and claim neutrality within the social climate of the 60s and 70s by writing the song “I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band,” no artist that was making serious music during the Vietnam Era could escape the anti-war sentiments completely.
# 3 – New Horizons
“New Horizons,” was the second track on the classic Moody Blues album, Seventh Sojurn. The song contained one of the most beautifully written and sung choruses in the band’s history. It was not one of the most popular songs in the band’s catalog, because it seemed to be overshadowed by songs on the album like ,“I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band,’ Isn’t Life Strange and “Lost in a Lost World.” However, there’s no denying the breathtaking beauty inherent in the song’s lyrical suggestion of hope.
# 2 – Story in Your Eyes
The Moody Blues song, “Story in Your Eyes,” was the second track on the classic Moody Blues album, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. The song was released as a single and reached the No. 23 spot on the Billboard 100 charts in 1971. The song’s classic opening guitar lick is easily one of the most recognizable in classic rock history. The soaring string lines of the Mellotron lifted the chorus above the great vocals of Justin Hayward. John Lodges’ and Mike Pinder’s backing vocals cemented the sonic landscape that surrounded the main vocal line. The song also featured some of the best lead guitar playing of Justin Hayward’s career. All the best elements of the Moody Blues signature sound can be found on this wonderful song.
# 1 – Tuesday Afternoon
I think many Moody Blues fans would agree that “Tuesday Afternoon,” was the band’s masterpiece. The song was recorded for the Moody Blues, Day Of Future Passed album which was released in 1968. On the album it was originally called “Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?) When the song was released as a single, the name was changed to “Tuesday Afternoon.” On later compilation albums, the song continued to be titled as “Tuesday Afternoon.” The song was written and sung by Justin Hayward.
Once again Mike Pinder’s Mellotron played a dominant role in the song’s orchestration. At the end of the song the London Festival Orchestra was featured during the song’s coda. Justin Hayward’s beautiful lyric and melody combined with John Lodges’ guitar work and Mike Pinder’s Mellotron presented Moody Blues fans with the groups grandest work and quite simply, the finest recording of the band’s long career.
Written by Brian Kachejian and Mike LaMalfa.
Updated March 2021
Top 10 Moody Blues Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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