Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

THE MOODY BLUES

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Moody Blues picture
The Moody Blues biography
Formed in 1964 in Birmingham, UK - Suspended activity between 1974 and 1977 - Still active as of 2017

Imitation. Innovation. Sensation. That pretty much sums up the first phase of THE MOODY BLUES. Their 1965 debut, "The Magnificent Moodies", was your standard British Invasion record; R&B covers and originals from Mike Pinder and Denny Laine that included an earlier #1 hit single, "Go Now". In 1967, Justin Hayward and John Lodge replaced Laine and Rod Clarke, and what followed was the stunningly original "Days of Future Passed".

Featuring orchestral arrangements and introducing to many ears the transcendent tones of the mellotron, that work almost single-handedly set the stage for the progressive rock movement. Subsequent albums confirmed the band's status as England's newest sensation: "On The Threshold of a Dream", "A Question of Balance", "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour" and "Seventh Sojourn" all hit #1. Hibernation of a sort followed in the mid '70s, as each member of the band released solo albums (Hayward and Lodge had the most success with their 1975 effort, "BLUE JAYS")!

The band regrouped in the '80s and picked up where they left off (commercially anyway) with "Long Distance Voyager". Though the '90s found the Moodies less of a commercial force than a cult band, the group still tours and releases albums on occasion (including 1999's "Strange Times"). Their mix of sentimentalism and existentialism still resonates with listeners today, a point perhaps best made when the band was invited to play themselves on that most trendy of television shows, The Simpsons.

See also: HAYWARD & LODGE

THE MOODY BLUES forum topics / tours, shows & news


THE MOODY BLUES forum topics Create a topic now
THE MOODY BLUES tours, shows & news Post an entries now

THE MOODY BLUES Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all THE MOODY BLUES videos (4) | Search and add more videos to THE MOODY BLUES

Buy THE MOODY BLUES Music



More places to buy THE MOODY BLUES music online Buy THE MOODY BLUES & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

THE MOODY BLUES discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE MOODY BLUES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.29 | 90 ratings
The Magnificent Moodies [Aka: The Beginning]
1965
4.18 | 811 ratings
Days Of Future Passed
1967
3.84 | 411 ratings
In Search Of The Lost Chord
1968
3.77 | 350 ratings
On The Threshold Of A Dream
1969
4.10 | 386 ratings
To Our Children's Children's Children
1969
3.51 | 295 ratings
A Question Of Balance
1970
3.53 | 295 ratings
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour
1971
3.70 | 283 ratings
Seventh Sojourn
1972
2.72 | 146 ratings
Octave
1978
3.32 | 206 ratings
Long Distance Voyager
1981
3.03 | 121 ratings
The Present
1983
2.24 | 103 ratings
The Other Side Of Life
1986
2.40 | 81 ratings
Sur La Mer
1988
2.77 | 75 ratings
Keys Of The Kingdom
1991
2.60 | 81 ratings
Strange Times
1999
2.52 | 64 ratings
December
2003

THE MOODY BLUES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.12 | 55 ratings
Caught Live + 5
1977
3.43 | 35 ratings
A night at Red Rocks with the Colorado Symphonic Orchestra
1993
3.85 | 25 ratings
Hall of Fame - Live at the Royal Albert Hall 2000
2000
3.58 | 15 ratings
Lovely To See You Live
2005
2.76 | 18 ratings
Live At The BBC: 1967 - 1970
2007
3.39 | 20 ratings
Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
2008
4.08 | 3 ratings
The Days of Future Passed Live
2018

THE MOODY BLUES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.22 | 8 ratings
Legend of a Band
1990
3.28 | 22 ratings
A Night At Red Rocks With The Colorado Symphony Orchestra (DVD)
1993
4.04 | 11 ratings
Hall Of Fame
2000
2.15 | 17 ratings
The Lost Performance: Live in Paris '70
2004
3.32 | 15 ratings
Lovely To See You Live (DVD)
2005
2.57 | 9 ratings
Live at Montreux 1991
2005
3.98 | 8 ratings
Classic Artists: The Moody Blues
2006
3.54 | 17 ratings
Threshold of a Dream - Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
2009
4.00 | 2 ratings
Days of Future Passed Live
2018

THE MOODY BLUES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.64 | 6 ratings
Go Now - Moody Blues #1 [Aka: In The Beginning]
1965
4.33 | 58 ratings
This Is The Moody Blues
1974
2.31 | 7 ratings
Voices In The Sky - The best of The Moody Blues
1985
2.54 | 17 ratings
Prelude
1987
3.85 | 12 ratings
Greatest Hits
1989
4.26 | 21 ratings
Time Traveller (Box set)
1994
1.18 | 2 ratings
True Story
1996
3.05 | 8 ratings
The Best Of Moody Blues
1997
2.16 | 6 ratings
The Moody Blues Anthology
1998
2.72 | 5 ratings
The Best of Moody Blues - 20th Century Masters
2000
3.81 | 7 ratings
The Singles +
2000
4.00 | 1 ratings
Ballads
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Say It With Love
2003
3.81 | 7 ratings
Gold
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
Moody Blues Collected
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
Playlist Plus
2008
4.80 | 5 ratings
Timeless Flight
2013
3.14 | 3 ratings
Timeless Flight
2013
0.00 | 0 ratings
Timeless Flight
2013

THE MOODY BLUES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.33 | 3 ratings
Steal Your Heart Away
1964
2.80 | 5 ratings
Go Now!
1964
2.00 | 3 ratings
I Don't Want to Go On Without You
1965
2.00 | 3 ratings
Everyday
1965
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Moody Blues E.P.
1965
2.83 | 5 ratings
From The Bottom Of My Heart
1965
2.00 | 3 ratings
Boulevard De La Madelaine
1966
4.50 | 20 ratings
Nights In White Satin
1967
2.67 | 3 ratings
Life's Not Life
1967
3.00 | 4 ratings
Fly Me High
1967
3.18 | 9 ratings
Voices in the Sky
1968
3.97 | 11 ratings
Tuesday Afternoon
1968
3.81 | 13 ratings
Ride My See-Saw
1968
3.86 | 7 ratings
Voices In The Sky
1968
4.00 | 5 ratings
Never Comes the Day
1969
3.78 | 9 ratings
Watching and Waiting
1969
4.70 | 14 ratings
Melancholy Man
1970
4.12 | 14 ratings
Question
1970
3.86 | 7 ratings
The Story In Your Eyes
1971
4.00 | 10 ratings
Isn't Life Strange
1972
3.86 | 7 ratings
I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)
1973
2.67 | 7 ratings
Steppin' in a Slide Zone
1978
3.20 | 5 ratings
Had to Fall in Love
1978
3.50 | 4 ratings
Driftwood
1978
3.50 | 4 ratings
Gemini Dream
1981
4.33 | 6 ratings
The Voice
1981
3.20 | 6 ratings
Talking Out Of Turn
1981
3.83 | 7 ratings
Blue World
1983
2.29 | 6 ratings
Sitting at the Wheel
1983
3.20 | 5 ratings
Running Water
1984
3.75 | 9 ratings
Your Wildest Dreams
1986
3.75 | 5 ratings
I Know You're Out There Somewhere
1988
3.50 | 5 ratings
No More Lies
1988
1.24 | 7 ratings
Bless The Wings
1991
3.50 | 4 ratings
English Sunset
1999
3.00 | 2 ratings
December Snow
2003

THE MOODY BLUES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Long Distance Voyager by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.32 | 206 ratings

BUY
Long Distance Voyager
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by tdfloyd

4 stars I know I need an asbestos suit to say this, but it is my favorite album from the Moodies. I have all of the big 7 albums too but there is always a couple of tracks with really cringeworthy lyrics on each. Not that these are the greatest lyrics, but I'm not cringing either. After they took some time off and Mike Pinder quit the band, the Moody Blues returned with Octave. To me it seemed to be a bit tentative but on the follow up, Long Distance Voyager, swung for the fences and it really paid off. When the Moodies are at their best, they have input from most everyone. Stalwarts Justin Haywood and John Lodge also have a major writing contribution from Ray Thomas as he wrote and sang on the last 3 songs of the album. Grams Edge wrote the rocky track 22,000 days and although Patrick Moraz didn't have any writing credits, this album has plenty of interesting keyboards. The album had 2 big hits in Gemini Dream and The Voice, but hit singles are not new to the Moodies. I think it is the rest of the album that make this an excellent album. My favorite track on the album is Talking Out of Turn a wonderful track by Lodge but this is a very balance and well recorded album.

LDV is a synth pop album but this is a prog site and there is very little of it here. This is a solid effort by the Moodies worthy of a 4 star rating. 4 stars

 The Other Side Of Life by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.24 | 103 ratings

BUY
The Other Side Of Life
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars It's true that The Other Side of Life is synth-pop. And it's true that The Other Side of Life is weaker than many Moodies albums. But to me the problem isn't its synth-poppiness - - it's the lack of diversity in the songwriting department. Eight of the nine songs were written by guitarist Justin Hayward, bassist John Lodge, or both. On their best albums, this ratio was much lower: Long Distance Voyager (1981), six of ten, and Days of Future Passed (1967), four of eleven. To be fair, nearly all of the Moody Blues' best songs were written by some combination of Hayward and Lodge. But I suspect that pop and rock songs often begin as pieces which are eventually fit together. Distributing the best musical segments across eight songs, as opposed to four, must impact the quality of the songs.

There are three solid songs here: the Lodge-Hayward collaboration 'Running Out of Love' and the album's two singles, 'Your Wildest Dreams' and 'The Other Side of Life,' both written and sung by Hayward. A #9 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, 'Your Wildest Dreams' was just the third (and final) US top ten song for the group after 'Go Now,' #10 in 1964 and 'Nights in White Satin,' #2 in 1972. The song's music video was also named the 'best overall video' of 1986 at Billboard's annual music video awards, quite a feat considering that Peter Gabriel's 'Sledgehammer' was released the same year. Poignant and wistful, 'Your Wildest Dreams' is a rare 1980s pop song insofar as it had an apt and successful sequel ('I Know You're Out There Somewhere,' 1988).

The title song is a bit darker, though like all Moody Blues songs, it's about as edgy as a rubber butter knife. It's catchy enough, but at nearly seven minutes, it's way too long. While 'Your Wildest Dreams' is synth-heavy, with a stiff, digital bassline, 'The Other Side of Life' is even more programmed; the only thing that stops it from being robotic is its relatively low tempo.

While some aspects of the bouncy 'Running Out of Love' hearken back to the band's early days, it's an early eighties Moody Blues song if I've ever heard one, along the lines of 'Gemini Dream' or 'Sitting at the Wheel.' As such, it's not as synth-poppy as some of the other tunes on the album, like Lodge's equally animated 'Rock 'n' Roll Over You.'

The only song written by neither Lodge nor Hayward is 'The Spirit,' a halfway-decent number composed by drummer Graeme Edge and keyboardist Patrick Moraz, the latter of whom was summarily jettisoned in 1991 after complaining that his only contribution to four and a half albums was 'half a song (written) with the drummer.' Although the style of Moraz's solo compositions might not obviously suit the Moodies' 1980s music, he was certainly a prolific composer, as had been Edge, Mike Pinder (whom Moraz replaced) and Ray Thomas, whose practically nonexistent contributions to The Other Side of Life may have been limited by health issues.

Anyway, the remaining songs - - 'Talkin' Talkin',' 'I Just Don't Care,' 'Slings and Arrows,' and 'It May Be a Fire' - - are relatively weak, strengthening my perception that ideally, Hayward and Lodge would only be relied upon for half of an album.

Fans of 1980s pop-rock will appreciate much of The Other Side of Life, and of course it's an essential part of any Moody Blues collection. But to those curious about this era of the band, I'd suggest starting with Long Distance Voyager.

 Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Live, 2008
3.39 | 20 ratings

BUY
Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by SteveG

4 stars This is a wonderful live document of the Moodys from the 1971 Isle Of Wight Festival where they closed the concert along with Jimi Hendrix. Sufficiently energized into performing at their best, the group did a high energy concert that sports great group vocals and playing from all. Especially note worthy is that Mike Pinder did all of his keyboard parts on one Mark 2 model Mellotron as his living room sized C3 Moog was just too much to take on the road. Pinder also displayed his most energetic vocals on his own "Melancholy Man" from the band's just released A Question Of Balance album. Guitarist Justin Hayward is mostly pitch perfect with his singing except for omitting a couple of words on two songs during the verses for reasons I can't fathom. For reasons of convenience and amplification, Hayward plays all his acoustic guitar parts with an electric guitar on his "Question", "Tuesday Afternoon", and "Nights In White Satin" signature songs. Naturally the songs are harder edged but still quite enjoyable. Graham Edge is an absolute animal on drums and fits the 60s stereotype of the mad drummer.

Those who forever swear that the Moodys were never a good live act should hear this enthusiastic performance. The sound quality is a little murky but all of the instruments and vocals are crystal clear with a decent sound mix. 4 stars.

 To Our Children's Children's Children by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.10 | 386 ratings

BUY
To Our Children's Children's Children
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by SteveG

4 stars Depending on one's view, no artist celebrated or exploited the 60's counterculture quite like the Moody Blues. From a homage to acid guru Timothy Leary to all manner of hippy dippy lyricism, the Moody's were quite in a league of their own. With the release of this, their forth conceptual album To Our Children's Children's Children, the group jumped away from the 'love in' topics and jumped onto the space exploration/moon landing craze of 1969 and put together one of their least dated sounding albums of their late 60's albums run.

Starting with an authentic sounding Saturn rocket lift off (all studio trickery), the group catapult the listener from Graham Edge poetry on "Higher And Higher", not one of his better ones unfortunately, into the driving "Eyes Of A Child" that is broken up into two pieces by a whimsical Ray Thomas song called "Floating". "Floating" is uplifting and infectious and actually sounds as if it was written with a child in mind. So far so good. This is followed by a lovely acoustic guitar ballad by Justin Hayward titled "I Never Thought I'd Live to Be A Hundred". All the songs, which are banded together and flow into and out of one another, are quickly over before the listener can catch a breath. That comes immediately with with a slight instrumental that features an insistent 2/4 beat with a repeating Mellotron driven melody that unfortunately goes nowhere fast. Authored by drummer Graham Edge, this must have been his "Ringo takes the spotlight moment". Edge's "Beyond" is the weakest track on the album. Fortunately, keyboard extraordinaire Mike Pinder ends the album's original side one with "Out And In", another of his gentle philosophical songs that's bathed in all manner of lush sweeping Mellotron.

The original vinyl's side two starts with Hayward's strident and dramatic" Gypsy", A song about some lost space traveler rocketing around the universe alone "without a hope of coming home". It's one of guitarist Justin Hayward's most underappreciated songs and is a cornerstone to the album. Ray Thomas' "Eternity Road", a good that's well sung, seems out of place both lyrically and musically, but the song doesn't break the album's spell. Intermediately following is the exquisite "Candle Of Life". The song, written by bassist John Lodge but wisely song by Hayward, is a clinic of lush layered Mellotron and piano accents from Pinder that boasts a gorgeous melody and truly moving lyrics, save the "flower power" vocal chant of "Love everybody and make them your friend" in the song's middle eight section. Truly cringe worthy stuff (even for an old hippy like me) but this cliched flower power intrusion is gone quickly before the song returns to it's gorgeous melody and lyrics.

Unfortunately, the flower power vibe returns full blast with Pinder's eastern tinged "Sun Is Still Shining" which merges Arabic sounding mellotron scales with ridiculously outdated (even for 1969) sitar. This song actually breaks the space traveler vibe of the album for me, but all's well again with Hayward's melodically melancholy ballad "Watching And Waiting". The album's stunning closing track, "Watching And Waiting" is one of those emotional songs that only Hayward could write and sing, and only Pinder could magnificently orchestrate with his virtual arsenal of Mellotrons. In fact, no following Moody's albums would be as lush, layered and overdubbed as TOCCC.

The album does suffer from some period production shortcomings, particularly the use of Sgt. Pepper's-like recording tricks from time to time, but this really didn't detract from my enjoyment of the album. 4 stars seems about right for as enjoyable as TOCCC is, there is something missing about the album that I feel makes it truly essential and classic. Perhaps I should dig out my old water pipe from the attic and give it another spin.

 Days of Future Passed Live by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover DVD/Video, 2018
4.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Days of Future Passed Live
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars On one hand, this is really an excellent concert (or DVD) celebrating the 50th anniversary of the wonderful and highly pioneering classic album Days of Future Passed (1967). And on the other hand, there are some frustrating things, mostly dealing with the set list preceding that album, which is of course performed in its entirety and with a full orchestra.

The way the band is introduced could have been better. Sure, Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge ("they are the Moody Blues!", declared in a pathetic voice as they enter the stage) have long been the core line-up of the band, but both the other musicians on the stage and the two absent key members of the classic line-up -- whose debut album the concert is centered on -- are pretty much ignored. Would have been appropriate if either Hayward or Lodge would have at some point spoken a few kind words about Mike Pinder and the late Ray Thomas, plus introduced the supporting players; Especially Norda Mullen on flute ( and acoustic guitar, backing vocals and percussion) does invaluable work on the concert, but is she thanked even once?

I don't think that 'I'm Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band' is a good choice for the opening song; it would function better somewhere towards the end. But at least the version is very good, due to Mullen's participation on flute that gives it a disctinct prog flavour. All in all I'm quite disappointed in the first part of the set list. Just think of their enormous catalogue full of gorgeous songs (NOT ONLY from the classic era), but they prefer to perform some pretty ignorable and blant songs such as 'Say It With Love', 'Steppin in a Slide Zone' or 'Your Wildest Dreams'. Perhaps they thought they must concentrate on the predictable pop hits and the more recent material balancing the set. I understand that, but I can't help thinking unfavourably of several songs here. 'Isn't Life Strange' and 'The Story in Your Eyes' are gracefully contained, though.

The main part however is Days of Future Passed, for which the group is joined by Toronto World Festival Orchestra. The whole album is being played very faithfully concerning also the orchestral parts. This is absolutely adorable. The visual look of the show is great, with beautiful lights and lots of background images depicting the course of day. And the music itself... wow! I'd even say that an orchestra have never sounded better on a rock concert. The band too plays well, but what is naturally missed is the warm voice of Ray Thomas, especially on 'Another Morning' sung by John Lodge. A special mention must go to Jeremy Irons whose poem-reading is projected on the screen; he's got a perfect voice for it.

Excellent choices for the encores, both being from the classic era: 'Question' and 'Ride My See-Saw'. Especially 'Question', not often heard on MB concerts, sounds terrific with the orchestra. As an extra material there's an interview of Hayward, Lodge and Edge, dealing with Days of Future Passed album, which is a nice addition to the DVD, if not very deep. Had the first half of the set included better songs, I'd happily give a full rating for this DVD. Strongly recommended to everyone who thinks Days of Future Passed is a superb album.

 In Search Of The Lost Chord by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.84 | 411 ratings

BUY
In Search Of The Lost Chord
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars To a large extent, this album picks up where the group's previous effort, Days of Future Passed, left off. Given the relative success of Days of Future Passed, this makes sense. In particular, 'Voices in the Sky,' 'The Actor,' and 'Ride My See-Saw' help In Search of the Lost Chord sound like a logical next step for the band.

Among the elements the Moodies kept from their prior album were the poetry recitations ('Departure' and 'The Word'), the use of multiple lead singers (no one sings lead on more than three of the twelve tracks), and, throughout the album, an odd mixing formula which often seems to crank up the solo vocals and overhead drum mics while drenching the choruses in reverb and placing them back in the mix. All of this, plus the liberal use of the Mellotron, make it impossible to confuse this for anything but late-1960s Moody Blues album.

There are some significant changes from Days of Future Passed, though; most notably, there's no orchestra this time. Compared to Days of Future Passed, the concept here (a 'search,' to quote the album title, or a journey of exploration) is vague and abstract, and I wonder whether, without the constraints of a more concrete theme, the Moodies wound up emulating the Beatles, subconsciously or not.

For example, 'Dr. Livingstone, I Presume' sounds like an attempt at mixing McCartney's playfulness and Lennon's psychedelia, but the Moody Blues are clearly better off doing their own thing than trying to create the next Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Since there is no hint of mischief or ambiguity in 'Dr. Livingstone,' it comes off more like the 1910 Fruitgum Company than the Beatles. To be fair, the 'we're all looking for someone' section also sounds like the Pretty Things - - I'm assuming that there were mutual influences at work here. Meanwhile 'Om' seems to be a stab at a universal theme, ' la 'All You Need is Love' or 'Hey Jude' - - although it's more of a heroic piece than an anthemic one.

There are other non-Beatles influences at work, and the most interesting by far is the adoption of some Four Seasons vocal arrangements on both parts of 'House of Four Doors.' Listen to the chorus ('house of four doors / you'll be lost now forever') and you'll see what I mean. There's even a falsetto part, which, based on what I know of the Moodies, is a rarity.

On the upside, there are a handful of songs that are vintage Moody Blues tunes, and two in particular are among the band's classics. John Lodge's 'Ride My See-Saw,' a minor hit which nonetheless received recurrent airplay at least through the 1980s, has 1968 written all over it. The lyrics are by no means deep (something that can be said of any song on the album), but they're thoughtful; 'Ride My See-Saw' is psychedelic pop and borderline 'sunshine pop,' but not bubblegum.

The standout track on In Search of the Lost Chord, and probably the group's best 1960s song, is 'Legend of a Mind,' written and sung by Ray Thomas (thereby atoning in full for 'Dr. Livingstone'). Naming the subject (Timothy Leary) repeatedly, rather than having the listener guess (as in the Beatles' 'Doctor Robert,' Donovan's 'Jennifer Juniper,' and many, many others) was novel, and in fact just the kind of thing the Beatles would've done. Once more, it's not fine poetry, but neither is it a cutesy lyric whose LSD connection could be plausibly denied. Unlike 'Ride My See-Saw,' 'Legend of a Mind' was ahead of its time. Its arrangement featured a 'dry ice' section five years before 'Close to the Edge,' and its highlight is a soaring recapitulation of the chorus.

In Search of the Lost Chord is a mixed album, with a couple of great songs, and a couple of clunkers. On the whole, it hangs together as an enjoyable 42-minute work. Days of Future Passed it's not, but if you're interested in late-1960s psychedelic proto-prog, I'd suggest picking it up.

 Days Of Future Passed by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.18 | 811 ratings

BUY
Days Of Future Passed
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Days of Future Passed takes a little while to get started. The album begins with a four-minute orchestral piece, and the first real "song" doesn't start until more than six minutes into the record. And the first two songs on the first side, "Dawn is a Feeling" and "Another Morning," are relatively weak. But side ends on a strong note with "Peak Hour."

Side Two begins with "The Afternoon," from which the classic single "Tuesday Afternoon" was culled. "Tuesday Afternoon," written and sung by guitarist Justin Hayward, is among the most recognizable Moody Blues songs, and is here paired with bassist John Lodge's "(Evening) Time to Get Away," a catchy little number which, as far as I can tell, was never released as a single anywhere. This is followed by two more single-worthy songs by two more members of the band: keyboardist Mike Pinder's eastern-tinged "The Sunset" and Twilight Time" by flautist Ray Thomas. Both are parts of the "Evening" suite.

And finally comes "The Night," the majority of which is Hayward's majestic "Nights in White Satin." This is a rare song that is a legitimate pop classic and an equally legitimate progressive-rock classic. Its message and melody are as timeless as that of, say, "Dust in the Wind," but its execution is much more "progressive." And while many prog classics ("Close to the Edge! "2112," "In the Court of the Crimson King," etc.) are expertly composed, produced, and performed, few have the universality of "Nights in White Satin."

The Moody Blues are rightly congratulated for taking risks with this album. But not every experiment on Days of Future Passed is an unqualified success. The orchestral pieces mostly serve as bridges between suites or songs. For these, arranger/conductor Peter Knight, who is billed on the album cover and receives a few co-composition credits, often picks the hokiest motifs from the Moodies' melodies for the orchestral passages. His work throughout "The Night," though, is a substantial exception. Here the orchestra and the orchestration seem like integral components of the track.

The other innovation which quite doesn't work (for me, at least) is the poetry recitations. I can deal with some pretentiousness - - this is art rock, after all - - when the content is of high quality. But that's not the case here. Although nicely performed by Pinder, the poetry itself doesn't justify its inclusion as the bookends of the album. Interestingly, the band swore off the use of an orchestra after Days of Future Passed but continued with the poetry. In my opinion, the orchestra had some promise and, of the two, might have been the one to continue experimenting with.

Anyway, in the grander scheme, these are mild annoyances. Days of Future Passed is certainly a package deal, and the orchestra and poetry are part of the package. More importantly, the album is well produced, the sound is generally very good given the available technologies, and the compositions are very good. There are eight Moody Blues songs on Days of Future Passed, and after two relatively pedestrian offerings is a string of six very strong songs: "Peak Hour" → "Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)" / "(Evening) Time To Get Away" → "The Sunset" / "Twilight Time" → "Nights In White Satin."

Some might call Days of Future Passed a "flawed masterpiece," but I think that's misguided on two counts. First of all, it's not a "flawed" album at all. It has imperfections and a couple of feeble songs, but not fundamental flaws. And secondly, it's a not a masterpiece. Its status as a document of substantial historical significance among prog-rock fans probably elevates the expectation of first-time listeners, but realistically, this album is a very good songs-cycle which happened to break new ground. From this perspective, Days of Future Passed is exceptionally cohesive despite having been strung together from relatively independent songs written by four different writers.

Four stars for an excellent proto-prog / psychedelic rock album.

 Ride My See-Saw by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1968
3.81 | 13 ratings

BUY
Ride My See-Saw
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Another single outtake from the Moodies' classic line-up's second album In Search of the Lost Chord. The highly innovative and eclectic album opens with rather experimental 'Departure' which is seamlessly followed by the fast rock song 'Ride My See-Saw'. It has became an evergreen, often performed in their concerts. And why not, it's a pleasantly catchy rock song finished with the excellent vocal harmonies. Not very proggy, though.

The real treat is on the B side: Mike Pinder's 'Simple Game' didn't make it into the album -- which definitely contains some weaker weaker material in comparison. It starts a bit mildly, but when it gets to the powerful section, it's obvious that it's one of Pinder's masterpieces (of course a minor one compared to the more epic pieces such as 'Have You Heard?' or 'My Song'). But this is just as effective in the emotional sense; all those marvelous songs were born from Pinder's aching view on the world around him.

For an excellent non-album song this is a four-star single.

 Voices in the Sky by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1968
3.18 | 9 ratings

BUY
Voices in the Sky
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the seminal Days of Future Passed (released in November 1967) that combined the Moodies' songwriting with Peter Knight's orchestral passages, The Moody Blues and their invaluable producer Tony Clarke carried on on their own devices, bursting with creativity, it seems. The next album In Search of the Lost Chord was released in July 1968. It is one of their classic-7 albums I consider worth full rating for its innovative, psychedelic and eclectic proto-prog nature, despite some unevenness. A couple of singles were also released from its material. This one comes with no non-album material unlike 'Ride My See-Saw'.

'Voices in the Sky' is easy to recognize as a Justin Hayward composition. The gorgeous melodies full of both dreaminess and emotional power, and the very nuanced arrangement (with a lot of Ray Thomas's flute) serving both of those things, to an almost symphonic effect. The use of vocal harmonies is superb.

And the B side track 'Dr. Livingstone, I Presume' is just as unmistakably a Ray Thomas song. The joyful and mildly naiive approach approach was very typical for Thomas. This is a nice simple song and it makes you feel happy, but I don't count it among his finest compositions, and the repetition of the chorus line "We're all looking for someone" gets a bit too dominant.

This single is very good when judged by the music only, but first and foremost it's just a sampler of a complete album that shows how much the Moodies were an album band, and a pioneering one at that.

 Long Distance Voyager by MOODY BLUES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.32 | 206 ratings

BUY
Long Distance Voyager
The Moody Blues Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'm not a huge Moodies fan; the only album I had before this one is Days of Future Passed. (I've acquired several more since.) Based on the singles "Gemini Dream," "Talking Out of Turn," and "The Voice," I expected Long Distance Voyager to be solid, commercial pop/rock. While not as artsy-for-art's sake as Days (whose artsiness I generally enjoy), Long Distance Voyager is also not nearly as commercially driven as I thought it'd be. "22,000 Days" and "Veteran Cosmic Rocker" have more in common, to my ears, with "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)" than they do with "I Know You're Out There Somewhere;" the hits (I include "Meanwhile" here) have aged well; and even the more balladish "In My World" has grown on me. Things bog down a bit toward the end ("Nervous" and "Painted Smile/"Reflective Smile"), but on the whole, it's as consistent as Days of Future Passed.

Its early-80s release date and the fact that it spawned some successful singles probably make Long Distance Voyager suspect to many prog fans. But the Moody Blues always sought to have hit singles, and I think that they're accurately classified here on Prog Archives as "Crossover Prog." Long Distance Voyager is really no more or less "progressive" than the average Moody Blues album of the 1960s or 1970s.

Overall, a high-quality album, well produced, with good songs. Not a masterpiece, but recommended for any progressive rock fan.

P.S.: Long Distance Voyager is Patrick Moraz's first LP with the Moody Blues. His playing seems somewhat restrained, and is pushed back in the mix. Given the generally tasteful string arrangements, this actually works well. Anyway, if you're looking for the follow-up to Relayer, keep looking.)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives