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The Moody Blues - Days Of Future Passed  CD (album) cover

DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED

The Moody Blues

 

Crossover Prog

4.14 | 500 ratings

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russellk
Prog Reviewer
4 stars One of the most important precursors to progressive rock, 'Days Of Future Passed' is notable for the number of innovations it introduced to popular music.

It's not THE MOODY BLUES' first album, but it's the first after they re-formed in 1966, having shed their gentle R&B image and embraced psychedelic sensibilities. That they should have issued this record as their first of the new formation is nothing short of astonishing. To put out a concept album of wistful tunes about 'a day in the life' sandwiched between pop orchestral colourings hardly seems a recipe for success, but it worked extremely well.

Of particular note to me is the way the band operated. Each member apart from GRAEME EDGE composed songs for the band, (and even he did poems, most of them rather poor) and thus in a very democratic fashion THE MOODY BLUES incorporated a stunning variety of voices, vocalists and talents. This served to keep the band alive far longer than most of their contemporaries, and echoed THE BEATLES' method of working.

MICHAEL PINDER is worth noting. One of the very earliest adopters of the mellotron, his work was soon imitated by keyboardists the world over, and within three years the mellotron was the ubiquitous face of progressive rock.

At this point I must confess I do not much like this album. I'm a keen classical music fan, and it pains me to listen to what the LONDON FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA played here. These simple pop stylings do nothing for me. The crescendos are overwrought and unearned (the one following 'Nights In White Satin' is simply ghastly), and any instrumental virtuosity is sacrificed in favour of triangles and other mock-orchestral touches. Of all the music here, I'm interested only in the hits 'Tuesday Afternoon' and 'Nights In White Satin'. Overplayed they might have been, especially the latter, but they are both glorious amalgams of psychedelic rock and JUSTIN HAYWARD'S achingly beautiful voice, setting the scene for what THE MOODY BLUES would offer in the 1970s and beyond. The rest of the album is dated now, and was bland even when I first heard it. It receives a fourth star out of respect for its place in history.

By the way, this is one album you should listen to on vinyl. Not only is the sound so much warmer, the CD mastering changed a number of aspects of the album for the worse. Oh yes, JOHN LODGE'S falsetto is atrocious (listen to it on 'Evening'). Thankfully he used it less and less as time went on.

Overall, as everyone says, this is an album any serious devotee of progressive rock should listen to, even forty years later. Our prog metal friends will scratch their heads, as will our avant-prog fans, and wonder what the fuss is about. But this is part of your history too.

russellk | 4/5 |

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