Inspiration sometimes arrives unheralded and unexpected. Keeping the blood circulating vigorously probably helps. Today, while working out, my MP3 played “Question” by the Moody Blues. That got me thinking that, despite the bravado and cocksure attitudes prevalent in the rock/pop music business since Alan Freed labeled Rock n Roll in the fifties, the musical output indicates perhaps these artists aren’t so sure of themselves after all.

           The Moodies had one “Question”. The little-known Seatrain had “13 Questions” which one assumes is why they are little-known. But then Chicago had “Questions 67 and 68” which for the past thirty-five years or so must be “What happened to our soul” and “Who are the gullible folks who keep buying the crap we’re turning out now”. I do give Chicago credit, though. They not only posed a question but answered it with another question in the same breath, ‘Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?” In the meantime they couldn’t tell if it was “25 or 6 to 4”. Dion and the Belmonts became doubly perplexed, out of both time and place, when they covered the old pop song “Where Or When ” That reminds me of the girl I worked with at Cedar Point the summer of ’67 who dressed as an Indian maid and when passing would go “How. ” To which my standard reply was ” I know how, when?” I’m still waiting for an answer.

          Edwin Starr was not Congress nor did he serve in that body but he once declared “War”, following this exclamation with “What is it good for” and reaching the only logical conclusion, “absolutely nothing”.

            And it appears uncertainty has even affected the names of groups. Of course there’s The Who who asked “Who Are You”, the Guess Who demanding you figure out who the hell they are and ? And The Mysterians injecting symbolism into the whole affair. And those Jersey Boys, The Four Seasons, experienced such an identity crisis that they made us Wonder Who they were, though it was fairly obvious since there could only be one lead singer who sounded as if his balls were up around his sternum..

              Bo Diiddley was surely entitled to query “Who Do You Love?” while Frankie Lyman and The Teenagers countered with “Why Do Fools Fall In Love?” For those fellas stepping out on their women Johnny Taylor spurred them to consider the possibility of retaliation with “Who’s Makin’ Love?” Gosh, all this cheatin’ going on had to have influenced the Supremes to ponder, “Where Did Our Love Go?” Then there’s Jimi Hendrix, not caring about identities or any subtleties. Wanting the best in getting laid for him required only a mere, “Are You Experienced?” Only Donnie Elbert had enough of a moral spine to wonder “Have I Sinned?” causing Fats Domino to shake his head and remark “Ain’t That A Shame?” Gerry and The Pacemakers apparently were lucky enough to be getting some …uh…pleasure, but puzzled when it came to reciprocity as they mused “How do you do what you do to me, I wish I knew If I knew how you do it to me, I’d do it to you”

                In light of all the underwear enthusiastically thrown his way, do you feel it’s likely Tom Jones already knew “What’s New, Pussycat?” My my my Delilah indeed.

             Gender differences were a factor as no man would have stopped to inquire, “Do You Know The Way To San Jose?” But, Dionne Warwick, I do if you’d care to join me on the journey.    You might believe Three Dog Night is an exception but they merely asked “Have You Ever Been To Spain?” without seeking directions themselves.       

                 Folk singers such as Peter Paul and Mary are less concerned with where people go than that they need to learn “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” Even more esoteric is Melanie’s childish whining “What Have They Done To My Song Ma?” I think it got soaked along with all those candles in the rain which were decorating Richard Harris’s cake. Fortunately he was right, he never had that recipe again.

           I loved Ray Charles’ music. He was an American treasure. But he had the nerve to demand “(Tell Me) What’d I Say”. Geez, Ray, maybe if you hadn’t done all that drinkin’ and druggin’ you’d know what you said.

             Bobby Freeman was much politer when he needed to know “Do You Wanna Dance?” Even The Rolling Stones’ macho sounding attitude of “Let’s Spend The Night Together”  was a plaintive plea for the girl to give in, full of doubt that she would actually do so. Good old boy Elvis skirted his true intent when offering “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” instead of just saying ” let’s get it on.             

            Dave Mason may have the resolution to this entire conundrum but he’s shy about sharing it, “Only You Know and I Know”, but according to Sam and Dave “You Don’t Know Like I Know” . Now I’m confused.  Lee Michaels quizzed “Do You Know What I Mean?” Obviously I do not.

              Maybe all these undecided wimps should just take the advice of Deep purple and “Hush”.

                 Is that all that there is? Yes, Peggy Lee, it is, but do ya think I’m sexy?

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