Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

MOODY BLUES, The

Progressive rock band formed '64 in Birmingham, England. Original lineup incl. Denny Laine, vocals and guitar (later with Paul McCartney in Wings); Mike Pinder, keyboards; Clint Warwick, bass; Graeme Edge, drums; Ray Thomas on flute, sax and vocals. R&B-based group hit with second single, cover of Bessie Banks's US soul ballad 'Go Now', but follow-ups and album The Magnificent Moodies '65 did less well. Laine and Warwick left; recruits Justin Hayward (guitar) and John Lodge (bass) marked a new policy of psuedo- philosophical music to get stoned by. Days Of Future Passed '67 was a concept album with full orchestration; their most famous song 'Nights In White Satin' was top 20 single, re-entered UK charts '72, '79, no. 2 USA '72. Hayward and Thomas's vocal blend sat prettily atop a wash of strings, abetted by Pinder's Mellotron, the then-new synthesizer which enabled them to tour without the orchestra. Producer Tony Clarke, arr. Peter Knight played major roles in six hit LPs from '69: In Search Of The Lost Chord '68, On The Threshold Of A Dream '69 (subsequently on their own Threshold label), To Our Children's Children's Children '69, A Question Of Balance '70, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour '71 and Seventh Sojourn '72, with occasional hit singles; all mood music for the permissive generation's lazy ears. Splinter projects incl. Lodge and Hayward's Blue Jays duo (LP '75 and no. 8 single 'Blue Guitar'), Hayward's Songwriter and Lodge's Natural Avenue LPs; Edge recruited guitarist Adrian Gurvitz for more rockish Kick Off Your Muddy Boots '74; Pinder made The Promise and Thomas From Mighty Oaks and Hopes, Wishes And Dreams '75--6; none was commercially successful except the Blue Jays and despite rumours of strife they returned with Octave '78. Ex-Yes keyboardist Patrick Moraz replaced Pinder and Long Distance Voyager '81 proved that the formula still worked by topping US album chart. Their music is the reason nobody uses the word 'progressive' any more. Compilations incl. two-disc This Is The Moody Blues '74, Out Of This World '79, Voices In The Sky '85, Greatest Hits '89; two- disc Caught Live +5 '77 incl. three sides recorded live at the Albert Hall and one of studio tracks. Hayward has continued solo work; 'Forever Autumn' from Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds project '78 was no. 5 UK; albums continued with Moving Mountains '85, Other Side Of Life '86, Sur la mer '88, Keys Of The Kingdom '91, live A Night At Red Rocks With The Colorado Symphony Orchestra '93. The critics went off them a long time ago, but most of the critics bought Moody Blues albums before they grew up. Hayward has continued writing songs; Classic Blue '89 on Griffin (prod. by Mike Batt) was followed by The View From The Hill on BMG.