I Don't Care--This Song Could Still Totally Be About Knights

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading a blog entry, the subject of which was, “I always thought…” (people said things like, I thought talk about euthanasia was about youth in Asia, or I thought Kosher pickles had no pork in them, that sort of thing). In the comments, people added hundreds and hundreds of further things that they misunderstood, in some cases for years. A lot of people thought Roy Orbison was blind because he always wears those sunglasses.

One of them, in the original entry, was this:

“I thought the Moody Blues song was “Knights In White Satin”. I couldn’t understand why the knights wore white satin & not armor.”
And I confess that all these years I too had thought that song was about actual guys jousting and wooing ladies faire, not the part of the day when it’s not light outside. I mean, read the words—they really could be about anything:

“Nights (or, if you’re me, Knights) in white satin, never reaching the end,
Letters I've written, never meaning to send.
Beauty I'd always missed with these eyes before.
Just what the truth is, I can't say anymore.

'Cos I love you, yes I love you, oh how I love you.”

Etc. (Sure, there are two more verses, but one is exactly the same as the one above, and the other is just some philosophical bullshit about figuring out who you want to be. Or something. I confess I don’t really know, but since I spent the better part of thirty years thinking that the song was actually about guys who had been recognized by some king or other for their outstanding behavior, I’m not sure I’m the best candidate to analyze the lyrics.)
I mean, seriously all you’ve got there is a generic love song. And the “Late Lament” (the spoken bit at the end) doesn’t really add a clarifying element. It’s just there.

But when I posted about this on Facebook, several people thought I was nuts. Mostly guys who were old enough to remember when the song was a hit. One friend pointed out that the album has a very specific theme that, had I listened to the whole thing, would have made such an error impossible. But I had this specific set of images that went through my head when I heard the song, and the news that they were completely wrong just took the wind out of my sails.
I decided to share this amazing news with someone who I was sure would get it. I went in to talk to my boss. She’s about the same age I am, grew up in the same general area of the country, and has a lot of the same cultural background that I do.

I said, “So, I was reading this blog entry about things you misunderstood And there was this one that said, ‘I always thought the Moody Blues song was, ‘Knights in White Satin’ like actual guys in armor but apparently it’s ‘night’ as in not daytime…’” And as I’m saying this out loud to her, I can see the same look crossing her face that crossed mine when I read it the first time.
It was the look that said, “You mean…it’s not?”

For almost the same length of time, she too had always had an image of guys in white satin suits cruising around doing chivalrous things. So it was nice to know I wasn’t alone. And really, I was even less alone than I’d originally thought, even taking into account my manager’s company in this age-old misperception. It turns out that in the comments section of this entry, there were dozens and dozens and dozens of people who had always thought the same thing.
And the truth about this song that caused me so much angst? Yeah, I actually don’t like it very much. It’s a very irritating and persistent ear worm for me. Even as I write this, I am tortured by it running through my head. And it will be with me for days now, dammit. But on the plus side, I did know Roy Orbison wasn’t blind.