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. (thanks, Mike - Santa Barbara, CA)
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.
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. (As told in our interview with Justin Hayward.)
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.