The Moody Blues by 1971 were already a well known rock band with several hit songs and at least a half dozen albums to their credit. In addition to Hayward, as of 1971 the group also included John Lodge, Ray Thomas, Mike Pinder, and Graeme Edge.
Since their founding in the mid-1960s, the Moodies have sold at least 60 million albums worldwide, a number that is likely to rise once accounting discrepancies from earlier years are cleared up.
“The Story In Your Eyes” is simply one example of their music at about mid-career, as they still had another three decades of recording and performing ahead of them. “The Story in Your Eyes” also appeared simultaneously on the Moodies’ August 1971 album, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, and is regarded as the album’s best song by many critics.
At its release in 1971, “The Story in Your Eyes” rose on the Billboard pop chart to No. 23 in September, remaining in the Top 40 for about seven weeks. In the U.K, the album, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, rose to No. 1. In the U.S., the album rose to No. 2 on the Billboard album chart, staying there for about four weeks. Justin Hayward, in addition to writing the lyrics for “The Story in Your Eyes,” also sings its lead vocals. The song uses electric guitar primarily and also the mellotron, a favorite Moody Blues instrument of the 1960s, which gives the song a slightly orchestral sound. The mellotron is a keyboard instrument capable of duplicating the sound of violins, flutes, choirs, and it became something of a trademark sound on Moody Blues music of the 1960s and 1970s. The Moodies’ music of this era, in fact, is sometimes described as “orchestral rock.” By their next album, Seventh Sojourn of 1972, the mellotron would be augmented by a similar instrument, the chamberlin, and in later years, both would be replaced by modern synthesizers.
“Story In Your Eyes”
I’ve been thinking about our fortune
And the sounds we make together
Listen to the tide slowly turning
But I’m frightened for your children
Listen to the tide slowly turning
But I’m frightened for the children
When the final line is over
“The Story in Your Eyes” is probably one of the more well-known songs by the Moody Blues, after their more famous hit “Nights In White Satin.” But some hard-core Moodies fans look beyond these popularly known works and point to less well-known tunes such as “Forever Afternoon,” or “Gypsy” as better examples of what the Moody Blues were all about. Still, “Story” has its fans, on several levels.
One internet writer to SongFacts.com, for example — David of Syracuse, NY — voiced agreement with earlier Song Facts writers who liked the song, which also held meaning and memories for him, as he described:
“…This song is so great, and timeless… I had this album when I was 17 in Syracuse… And then proceeded to buy every album that they created. These Moody Blues were one great band. I saw them in concert in March 1972. Syracuse War Memorial. The first concert I ever saw. And I remember it so well. The crowd was so cool, and well behaved….”
Another writer to SongFacts — Lisa, from Toronto, Ontario — explained that “Story” was one of her “top 10 songs of all time.” She suggested the song was about “a love that can withstand the tests of time — you have been through it all and nothing and no one can come between a love like that.”
Another interpretation of the song came from “abcbraveheart,” who offered comments at You Tube after viewing a Moody Blues video of the song:
“This is a song about End of Times,” he wrote. “[The singer] says there’s a chance that we can overcome the dark forces underpinning this life, but he seems certain that ‘The curtain is going to fall.’ We’ll see how it plays out? Great song.”
The Moody Blues, in previous albums, had offered as part of their ongoing “message-in-the-music” style, concern for the fate of the planet. And some of that appears to be present in these lyrics as well — but not with an optimistic outcome. Here, they appear to be concluding, more or less, that things look pretty bleak, as in the lines: “the sunshine we’ve been waiting for will turn to rain” and, “I’m frightened for the children.” Perhaps all we have — the Moodies seem to be suggesting — is each other, and if we’re lucky, the safe harbor of a love relationship, as in the final line: “I can hide inside your sweet, sweet love for ever more.”
“In keeping with the metaphysical and inquisitive motif that Hayward had incorporated into tracks such as ‘Dawning Is The Day’ and ‘Voices In The Sky’,” wrote AllMusic.com reviewer Lindsay Planer, “‘Story In Your Eyes’ offers decidedly probing observational lyrics.”All Music’s Planer, also noting that “The Story in Your Eyes” became one of the Moodies’ signature concert tunes, recommends the version recorded in 1993 on A Night at Red Rocks with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, calling that version better than the original “in terms of sheer sonic force.”
The Moody Blues, of course, were quite successful well before the release of “The Story In Your Eyes” in 1971. The group was founded in Birmingham, England in May of 1964. Among their more famous hits prior to 1971, for example, are the following: “Go Now” of 1964; “Nights In White Satin” of 1967; “Tuesday Afternoon,” “Voices in the Sky” and “Ride My See-Saw,” all in 1968; “Never Comes the Day” in 1969; and “Question” in 1970.
Other hits would follow in the late 1970s, 1980s and beyond. The group also had a series of successful albums prior to 1971, including: Days of Future Passed (1967), In Search of the Lost Chord (1968), To Our Children’s Children’s Children (1969) On the Threshold of a Dream (1969) and A Question of Balance (1970) — all of which went gold, selling 1 million copies or more.Following “The Story in Your Eyes” and the Every Good Boy Deserves Favour of 1971, the Moody Blues continued recording and performing until the mid-1970s, when they took some time off, each member doing some solo venturing.
By the late 1970s, they regrouped and returned to their music, enjoying a bit of a resurgence in the mid- and late-1980s with more popular hits and albums (see sources below for more details on these). The Moodies are definitely one of those bands that have gone through several phases in their musical career, though generally weathering the changes for the better with continued good music.
In recent years, they have toured the U.S., Canada and the UK, including tours in the years 2006 thru 2009. They have also issued remastered versions of most of their earlier albums plus prior never-released material.
For over four decades, the Moody Blues music has enjoyed a loyal following, making them one of the top-grossing bands in album sales and concert touring.
See also at this website, “Legend of a Mind: Timothy Leary & LSD,” which uses the 1968 Moody Blues song as story title and intro, and also explores the song’s history and Leary’s role in the 1960s as an LSD/counter-culture proponent. Other stories on music history are found at the “Annals of Music” category page. Thanks for visiting – and if you like what you find here, please make a donation to help support the research and writing at this website. Thank you. – Jack Doyle
Date Posted: 8 February 2010
Last Update: 24 April 2017
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Jack Doyle, “Story in Your Eyes, 1971,”
PopHistoryDig.com, February 8, 2010.
Sources, Links & Additional Information“Moody Blues,” in Holly George-Warren and Patricia Romanowski (eds), The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Rolling Stone Press, New York, 3rd Edition, 2001, pp. 665-667.
Bruce Eder, “Biography, Moody Blues,” AllMusic.com, 2009.
“Moody Blues,” Wikipedia.org.
“Story in Your Eyes,” Wikipedia.org
Nancy Erlich, “Moody Blues Review,” New York Times, Arts & Leisure, Sunday, October 3, 1971, p.D-30.
Daniel Marks.” Dualities,” New York Times, Arts & Leisure, ( Letter re: Nancy Erlich’s review of The Moody Blues’ “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour”), Sunday, November 14, 1971, p. D-16.
“The Story In Your Eyes, The Moody Blues,” SongFacts.com.
Lindsay Planer, Song Review, “The Story In Your Eyes, Moody Blues,” AllMusic.com, viewed, January 21, 2010.
Moody Blues website with extensive collection of material.