It was fitting that UME decided to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Moody Blues by re-releasing their first seven albums. A greater tribute to a band I can not think of. UME was kind enough to send me a copy of the remastered CD’s, and I have to admit that I was like a kid in a candy store. I love the music from the 70’s, and this was a great opportunity to listen to a band’s progression over time.

What do most people think of when you say Moody Blues? Well, almost everyone thinks of Nights In White Satin, it very much is their calling card. What few people know is that Nights In White Satin has an interesting story behind it, and that it comes from their first album Days Of Future Past. The Moody Blues actually had an album prior to Days Of Future Past, but it was with a different lineup, and most people, myself included, don’t count ‘The Moodies‘ as a real album. ‘The Moodies‘ had left the band in the (not uncommon)  situation where they had not made any money, rather, they owed the record label a considerable amount of money due to advances. Deram Records (a Decca imprint) stepped in and offered to forgive the debt if they would produce another album. There was however a catch. Prog Rock was just beginning to take off, and Deram wanted a piece of the action. Their idea was to make a rock version of Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony. Needless to say The Moody Blues did not quite follow along, instead they created their own Symphony! The rest, as the goes, is history.

The second wonder of the Moody Blues world was In Search Of The Lost Chord. In many ways The Moody Blues are the masters of naming albums, I can not think of a band that is better at it. In Search Of The Lost Chord (I think) refers to the fact that they were experimenting with new ways to use old instruments. One story I read claimed that they used an Oboe that was tuned like a bass guitar!

Next up was On The Threshold Of A Dream, another very appropriately named album. Yes indeed they were on the threshold of a dream, but was it going to become the dream they wanted?

In some ways that question is answered in the fourth wonder of the Moody Blues world, To Our Children’s Children’s Children, is a tour d’force into the world of Prog Rock.

The fifth wonder of the Moody Blues world has to be  A Question Of Balance, and indeed it was balance that the band was looking for. For some fans the band was heading in self destructive direction. Balance was what they needed.

The sixth wonder of the Moody Blues world is Every Boy Deserves Favour, and once again it was well named. The Moody Blues had become a huge phenomenon, but maybe too large. While every good boy does indeed deserve favour, our superstars were feeling real pressure from outside, to perform, and inside, you can only live and breath the same few people everyday for 5 years without something giving.

The Seventh Wonder is Seventh Sojourn, although maybe it should have been called Seventh And Sojourn. Released in 1972, it was to be the last album they would release for 6 years. They continued to tour until 1974, but they were unhappy campers. It was time for that sojourn, and they took a well deserved break from each other for 4 years.

This is wonderful music, from a wonderful band. No aficionado, or even just regular music fan can ignore this band. What happened after 1978? Well I will keep that for a different story, but I will say this, it is forty years later since Nights In White Satin was released, and The Moody Blues are still going strong.

I am hoping that I can get an interview with these musical icons. Watch this space!

Simon Barrett

http://zzsimonb.blogspot.com

Be Sociable, Share!