The Moody Blues

Moody Blues, TheFrom: Birmingham, England

The Moody Blues are a rock band who have been innovative within the music scene. The band has sold over 70 million albums worldwide, and have been awarded 14 platinum and gold discs. The original band consisted of Denny Laine (guitar, vocals), Mike Pinder (keyboards, vocals), Ray Thomas (horns, vocals), Clint Warwick (bass), and Graeme Edge (drums).

The Moody Blues formed on May 4. 1964. Thomas, Pinder, and John Lodge had all been members of the band El Riot & The Rebels, but they disbanded when Lodge went to technical college and Pinder joined the army. Pinder would come back and join forces with Thomas to form the Krew Cats. They recruited Laine to play guitar, Edge to play drums (he was initially the band’s manager), and Warwick to play bass. It was in Birmingham in 1964 that the band appeared as the Moody Blues for the first time. The name came from a sponsorship the band had hoped to land with M&B Brewery, something that never materialized. The band called themselves The M B’s, The M B Five, and then the Moody Blues (the name is also a subtle reference to Duke Elligton’s “Mood Indigo”). At this time, the Moody Blues were the resident group at the Carlton Ballroom, which would eventually become Mothers, located on Erdington High Street.

Not too long after, the Moody Blues joined management company Ridgepride, created by ex-Decca A&R man Alex Murray (a.k.a Alex Wharton). Wharton helped the band land a record contract with Decca Records in the spring of ’64. The Moody Blues released the single “Steal Your Heart Away” the same year, but the song failed to land on the charts. They appeared on the cult series “Ready Steady Go!,” where they sang the B-side “Lose Your Money (But Don’t Lose Your Mind).”

The next single the Moody Blues released truly launched their career. “Go Now” was being promoted on TV with what is said to be one of the first purpose-made promotional films in the pop era. “Go Now” became a hit in England, becoming the band’s only #1 song in the country. The song also reached #10 in America. The Moody Blues were initially a band signed to a management company who leased their recordings to Decca. After the success of “Go Now,” the band ran into problems with management, and eventually signed to Decca (London Records in America), as recording artists.

The Magnificent Moodies was released in 1965, and was produced by Denny Cordell. The album has a strong R&B vibe to it. “Go Now” was featured on the album, as well as covers of classic R&B songs, making up the first side. On the flip side were four originals written by Laine and Pinder. In December 1965, “Bye Bye Bird” was taken from the album and released as a single, reaching #3 in France.

After the Moody Blues released a few unsuccessful singles, Wharton left the management firm. “I Don’t Want To Go On Without You” was released in February ’65, and reached #33. Laine and Pinder’s “From The Bottom Of My Heart (I Love You)” reached #22 and was produced by Cordell. In June of 1966, Warwick left the band, and was replaced by Rod Clark. Clark left the band very soon after, and the Moody Blues decided to split for a month. Laine would also go on to quit in late 1966.

Reforming in November ’66, the Moody Blues added John Lodge and Justin Hayward. Hayward, who had previously been in the Wilde Three, was recommended to Pinder by Eric Burdon. After financial struggles, the Moody Blues realized that they would only play originals, as their American Blues covers and novelty tunes were not working. The band released their first single under their new format in 1967 with “Fly Me High” / “Really Haven’t Got The Time.” The single attracted a lot of attention, however, it failed to chart in the UK. Still, the single showed the direction in which the Moody Blues were headed musically. The band further developed their new sound on the next single, “Love And Beauty” / “Leave This Man Alone.” Pinder’s use of Mellotron was first introduced, and the Thomas’ use of flute began to become increasingly prominent.

With their contract with Decca set to expire, the Moody Blues still owed the label several thousand pounds in advances. The band did have the support of Decca A&R manager Hugh Mendl, an instrumental figure in establishing London/Decca’s subsidiary imprint Deram Records. With the backing of Mendl, the Moody Blues were offered a deal to make a rock and roll version of Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony. This was to help promote the company’s new Deramic Stereo Sound (DSS) audio format. The band would then be relieved of their debt. They agreed, but were insistent upon having artistic control of the project. Unable to complete the project, the Moody Blues managed to convince Peter Knight, the assigned arranger and conductor of the orchestral interludes, to work with them on a recording that incorporated their original material instead.

Initially, Deram was skeptical about the resulting album. Days Of Future Passed was released in November 1967, and became one of the most successful pop/rock albums of the period. The album earned a gold record award and reached #27 om the British album chart. Five years later it reached #3 in the U.S./Billboard charts. Days Of Future Passed was a concept album that took place over the course of a single day. The Moody Blues used the London Festival Orchestra, an affiliation of Decca’s classical musicians who were given a fictitious name. The album opens and closes with an Edge poem, read by Pinder. Although considered to be a concept album, the band recorded a particular song, presented it to Knight, and Knight added an orchestral portion. Two of Moody Blues’ most famous song hailed from this album in “Nights In White Satin” and “Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?).”

In 1968, the Moody Blues followed wit In Search Of The Lost Chord. The album includes the amazing “Legend Of A Mind,” which was written by Thomas as a tribute to Psychologist and LSD guru Timothy Leary. A promotional film for the song was filmed on location at Groot-Bijgaarden Castle near Brusseles in Belgium.  In Search Of The Lost Chord also features sitar played by Hayward, who had been influenced by George Harrison. The album featured many of the band’s staple songs, including “Ride My See-Saw.”

On The Threshold Of A Dream was released in 1969, and is an album that takes the listener on a journey. The album opens with narration from Hayward, Edge, and Pinder on “In The Beginning,” which leads into “Lovely To See You.” On the Moody Blues’ second album from 1969, To Our Children’s Children’s Children, the music continued to become more complex and symphonic. The band was using heavier amounts of reverberation on the vocals, and the sound became more intense. This was another concept album that was inspired by the first moon landing.

In the 1970s, the Moody Blues continued to develop their sound. In 1970, they released A Question Of Balance which reached #3 in America and #1 in Britain. The band followed with Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971) and Seventh Sojourn (1972). Both records contain some excellently crafted material well worth the listen of any psych fans.

Between 1974-1976, the Moody Blues took some time off as a group, and some of the band’s members pursued a solo career.In 1977, the band would reunite. The line-up of the band would fluctuate from then on, and today, the band consists of Edge, Lodge, and Hayward.

Artist information sources include: Wikipedia


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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1967 album Days Of Future Passed
Days of Future Passed

  • Dawn Is A Feeling
  • Another Morning
  • Peak Hour
  • Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)/Time To Get Away
  • The Sun Set
  • Twilight Time
  • Nights In White Satin

From the 1968 album In Search Of The Lost Chord
In Search of the Lost Chord

  • Departure^Ride My See-Saw
  • Dr. Livingstone, I Presume
  • House Of Four Doors, Pt. 1
  • Legend Of A Mind
  • The Best Way To Travel
  • Voices In The Sky

From the 1969 album On The Threshold Of A Dream
On the Threshold of a Dream

  • Lovely To See You
  • Dear Diary
  • Send Me No Wine
  • To Share Our Love
  • So Deep Within You
  • Never Comes The Day
  • Lazy Day
  • Are You Sitting Comfortably
  • Have You Heard, Part 1^The Voyage^Have You Heard, Part 2

From the 1969 album To Our Children’s Children’s Children
To Our Children's Children's Children

  • Higher And Higher
  • Eyes Of A Child I
  • Floating
  • Eyes Of A Child II
  • I Never Thought I’d Live To Be A Hundred
  • Beyond
  • Out And In
  • Gypsy
  • Eternity Road
  • Candle Of Life
  • Sun Is Still Shining
  • I Never Thought I’d Live To Be A Million
  • Watching And Waiting

From the 1970 album A Question Of Balance
A Question of Balance

  • Question
  • How Is It (We Are Here)
  • And The Tide Rushes In
  • Don’t You Feel Small
  • It’s Up To You
  • Minstrel’s Song
  • Dawning Is The Day
  • Melancholy Man
  • The Balance

From the 1971 album Every Good Boy Deserves Favour
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour

  • The Story In Your Eyes
  • After You Came
  • One More Time To Live

From the 1972 album Seventh Sojourn
Seventh Sojourn

  • Lost In A Lost World
  • New Horizons
  • For My Lady
  • Isn’t Life Strange
  • You And Me
  • The Land Of Make-Believe
  • When You’re A Free Man
  • I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)

From the 1987 album
Prelude

  • Fly Me High
  • Love And Beauty
  • Cities

Promos

  • Coke Spot # 1
  • Coke Spot # 2