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Moody Blues - Legends
 By Sharon Carruthers

Moody Blues in Concert
Moody Blues in...
Bob Masse
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The Moody Blues were formed in Birmingham from local popular bands, El Riot & The Rebels, Gerry Levene and the Avengers, and Denny Laine and the Diplomats. The founding members of the band were Ray Thomas, Graeme Edge, Clint Warwick, Mike Pinder and Denny Laine. The band were originally named The M&B 5, hoping that using the initials M & B might provide some financial support from local brewery Mitchells & Butlers. The name was soon changed to Moody Blues 5 and then, of course, the Moody Blues. The band’s first single ‘Lose Your Money (But Don’t Lose Your Mind)' proved to be sadly prophetic. Their next single was a cover version of an obscure Bessie Banks song called ‘Go Now’. The original recording was a blues ballad, but the addition of Mike Pinder’s piano solo, Denny Laine’s emotive vocals, and a waltz timing, resulted in the Moodies first No. 1 single, in 1964

The Moody Blues were now famous and were friends with the Beatles. Brian Epstein was to become their manager, and the band were being featured in top music magazines. A few years later the Moodies were on the cabaret circuit wearing blue suits, their following singles had lower and lower chart entries, and Denny Laine and Clint Warwick had left the band, to be replaced by bass player John Lodge and songwriter/guitarist Justin Hayward. It was during the long journeys in their van that the Moodies decided that changes had to be made. The blue suits were disposed of, and cover versions were replaced by songs written by the band. Decca Records decided to demonstrate their new stereo sound by recording Dvorak’s 'New World Symphony' in a modern classical/rock style. When the Moodies entered the recording studio, out went Dvorak and in came their stage show, which was a day in the life of an ordinary man. Peter Knight, who was in on the plan, provided the classical interludes. When the finished product was presented at a meeting, Decca reluctantly decided to release the album on their Deram label as part of their ‘Deramic Sound System’.

Nights In White Satin’. ‘Days’ was followed by ‘In Search Of The Lost Chord’ (the title inspired by a song by Jimmy Durante), which included ‘Legend of A Mind’, a tribute to Timothy Leary, who was an integral part of the '60s hippy scene and was also on a track, which really showcased Ray Thomas’s talents as a flautist. The Moodies became a huge album-selling band with sell-out concerts, had a record label called ‘Threshold’ and immense popularity, especially in the States.

The band split in 1973 following their album ‘Seventh Sojourn’, which gave the band members the opportunity to release their own solo albums. Justin and John’s ‘Blue Jays’ project provided them with the hit ‘Blue Guitar’. Justin also took part in Jeff Wayne’s ‘War of the Worlds’ project, recording the vocals for ‘Forever Autumn’ (which had originally been a commercial for ‘lego’) and the stirring ‘Eve of the War’.

DVD - The Moody Blues - A Night At Red Rocks  
DVD - The Moody Blues - A Night At Red Rocks (Amazon.co.uk)


The Moodies reformed to record their next album ‘Octave’, which related to the fact that it was their eighth album together, and which included the rather appropriate ‘The Day We Meet Again’, together with ‘Driftwood’ and ‘Stepping in A Slide Zone’.

The reunion was brief, as Mike Pinder was reluctant to tour, and former Yes keyboardist Patrick Moraz joined the band for their ‘Long Distance Voyager’ album. The album was a huge hit, especially with US hit singles ‘The Voice’ and ‘Gemini Dream’. Their 1983 album ‘The Present’ resulted in the UK hit ‘Blue World’, followed by ‘Sitting at the Wheel’.

‘The Other Side of Life’ was released in 1986, from which the single ‘Your Wildest Dreams’ appeared. The video for the single was voted video of the year by 'Billboard' magazine.

‘Sur La Mer', released in 1988, included ‘I Know You’re Out There Somewhere’, which continued the lost love theme of ‘Your Wildest Dreams’. The album also includes ‘Breaking Point’, which was reportedly going to be included in a horror film about war. The Moodies decided not to include the track in the film, but it has a wonderful Hitchcock-like quality.

‘Keys of the Kingdom’ was released in 1991 with the single ‘Say it With Love’. In 1992 ‘A Night At Red Rocks’ was released in video format, as well as in album form. The concert was recorded with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and the following European and US tours both included orchestras.

‘Strange Times’, released in 1999, included the emotionally moving ‘Haunted’, which is followed by the upbeat ‘Sooner or Later (Walkin’ On Air)’.

In 2003, Ray Thomas decided he had reached the age when he wanted to leave the band. Ray had helped to form the group, and his presence on albums and during live performances is sorely missed. However, after nearly 40 years as a Moody Blue, he has definitely earned his retirement.

The Moodies continue as a three-piece band, with Graeme Edge, John Lodge and Justin Hayward. They released their first Christmas themed album, ‘December’, in 2003, which combined cover versions of classic Christmas songs, together with new tracks written by the band.

The band will tour the US through February and March 2006, followed by an Autumn tour in the UK.

Sadly, Clint Warwick died on 15 May 2004, but Denny Laine still continues to perform live, and will be performing in Las Vegas early this year. He is also working on a new album and his autobiography. Mike Pinder released an album of childrens’ stories in 1995, and continues to create music in his studio, and recently visited the UK with the Moodies famous producer Tony Clarke.


© Copyright Sharon Carruthers, January 2006.

 

The Moody Blues Discography
Year Albums (in caps.)/Singles
1964 Lose Your Money
1964 Go Now
1965 I Don't Want To Go On Without You
1965 From The Bottom Of My Heart
1965 THE MAGNIFICENT MOODIES
1965 GO NOW
1965 Everyday
1966 Stop!
1966 Boulevard de la Madeleine
1967 Life's Not Life
1967 Fly Me High
1967 Love And Beauty
1967 Nights In White Satin
1967 DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED
1968 Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon)
1968 Voices In The Sky
1968 IN SEARCH OF THE LOST CHORD
1968 Ride My See-Saw
1969 Never Comes The Day
1969 ON THE THRESHOLD OF A DREAM
1969 Watching And Waiting
1969 TO OUR CHILDREN'S CHILDREN'S CHILDREN
1970 Question
1970 A QUESTION OF BALANCE
1971 EVERY GOOD BOY DESERVES FAVOUR
1971 The Story In Your Eyes
1972 Isn't Life Strange
1972 SEVENTH SOJOURN
1972 I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)
1974 THIS IS THE MOODY BLUES
1975 IN THE BEGINNING
1976 A DREAM
1977 CAUGHT LIVE + 5
1978 OCTAVE
1978 Steppin' In A Slide Zone
1978 Driftwood
1979 OUT OF THIS WORLD
1979 THE MOODY BLUES STORY
1981 LONG DISTANCE VOYAGER
1981 Gemini Dream
1981 The Voice
1981 Talking Out Of Turn
1983 Blue World
1983 Sitting At The Wheel
1983 THE PRESENT
1984 Under My Feet
1984 The Voice
1984 VOICES IN THE SKY
1985 THE MOODY BLUES COLLECTION
1986 Your Wildest Dreams
1986 THE OTHER SIDE OF LIFE
1986 The Other Side of Life
1987 PRELUDE
1987 SUPERSTAR CONCERT SERIES
1988 I Know You're Out There Somewhere
1988 SUR LA MER
1988 No More Lies
1989 THE STORY OF THE MOODY BLUES...LEGEND OF A BAND
1991 Say It With Love
1991 KEYS OF THE KINGDOM
1993 A NIGHT AT RED ROCKS WITH THE COLORADO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
1994 TIME TRAVELLER
1997 THE VERY BEST OF THE MOODY BLUES
1998 ANTHOLOGY
1999 STRANGE TIMES
2000 THE BEST OF THE MOODY BLUES - THE MILLENIUM COLLECTION
2000 LIVE AT ROYAL ALBERT HALL 2000
2000 THE SINGLES+
2001 JOURNEY INTO AMAZING CAVES
2001 THE COLLECTION
2002 JOURNEY THROUGH TIME
2003 SAY IT WITH LOVE
2003 DECEMBER
2005 LOVELY TO SEE YOU AGAIN (LIVE)

Moody Blues CDs at Amazon.co.uk

Lovely to See You
Lovely to See You

amazon.co.uk In Search of the Lost Chord

Every Good Boy Deserves Favour

Every Good Boy Deserves Favour amazon.co.uk On the Threshold of a Dream

More Moody Blues DVDs at Amazon.co.uk

Moody Blues - Hall of Fame, Live from the Royal Albert Hall
Moody Blues, The - The Moody Blues EP
Moody Blues, The - The Other Side Of Red Rocks With The Colorado Symphony Orchestra

Moody Blues CDs at Amazon.com

To Our Children's Children's Children

Question of Balance


Anthology

Seventh Sojourn

 

 

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