Video of the Week: Classical Composer Reacts to The Moody Blues’ “One More Time To Live”

Remembering The Moody Blues’ Graeme Edge in 10 Songs

The Moody Blues’ drummer Graeme Edge died on Nov. 11. His poetic contributions to rock music are eternal. Kevin Winter/Getty

(via the Dallas Observer) by Vincent Arrieta

Of all the bands in the 1960s that cracked open the colors of new musical possibilities, few are as underappreciated as The Moody Blues. The Moodies are widely beloved but taken for granted. They’ve had a crop of hit singles that still receive rotation on classic rock radio, but the band is seldom mentioned in the same breath as some of their less theatrical and more acclaimed peers.

Sure, The Beatles technically did it first, and bands such as Pink Floyd, Electric Light Orchestra and Deep Purple took it further, but The Moody Blues will always be able to lay claim to the fact that they were the first rock ‘n’ roll band to record an entire album piece with a full orchestra.

In many ways, it was all because of Graeme Edge…

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A History of the Moody Blues

A Musical Tribute to Moody Blues Flutist Ray Thomas

Just a couple weeks ago this blog celebrated the upcoming induction of the Moody Blues into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Now the full band reunion we and active band members hoped for on that day can’t come to pass; their long time flutist, songwriter and vocalist Ray Thomas passed away January 4th at age 76.

Ray was the man who played what is certainly one of rock’s most iconic flute solos on the classic “Nights in White Satin”.

But as a founding member of the Moodies (only drummer Graeme Edge now remains from the original Denny Laine-fronted lineup) he predated even acclaimed writer, singer and face of the band Justin Hayward, and was also a respected writer and singer in his own right.

Thomas, who released two solo albums in the 70’s during a hiatus by the band, retired from the Moody Blues in 2002 due to health issue and had revealed a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2013.

In their heyday of 1967-72 the Moody Blues benefitted from having five bona fide contributing songwriters within the band, and Thomas’ writing output and flute defined both the band’s sound and artistic direction perhaps as much as any member except Hayward.

With bassist John Lodge’s energy, guitarist Justin Hayward’s soaring melodies, Thomas’ lilting, reflective ballads, keyboardist Mike Pindar’s existential ponderings, and drummer Edge’s trippy poetry, the band released one psychedelic classic album after another during this span. And being five writers deep, each album from 1967’s Days of Future Passed to 1972’s Seventh Sojourn was a trove of musical delights, wondrously reflected (both on the band’s albums and Thomas’ solo LPs) by the lush cover artwork of Phil Travers.

Thomas’ absence from the band has been keenly felt over the past decade and a half.

We’d like to share a small sample of the man’s work with the band. Enjoy…

Video of the Week: The Moody Blues’ Music and NASA Apollo Footage are a Match Made in the Heavens

The Moody Blues’ cosmic 1969 concept album To Our Children’s Children’s Children dealt with the topic of man’s reaching out into space, both in broad, philosophical terms and specifically in the form of the Apollo missions.

Here the album’s first three songs are synched nicely with NASA footage to convey through one fan’s interpretation the message of the record.

If this sparks an interest in this wonderful band’s music, we recommend you explore not only the rest of this fine album but the rest of their early catalog from their classic years of 1967-72.

The discography from those years is listed below. Adventure awaits!

1967 Days of Future Passed

1968 In Search of the Lost Chord

1969 On the Threshold of a Dream

1969 To Our Children’s Children’s Children

1970 A Question of Balance

1971 Every Good Boy Deserves Favour

1972 Seventh Sojourn

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Happy Birthday Mike Pinder

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(via The College of Rock and Roll Knowledge)

pinder 1Mike Pinder, a founding member of and the original keyboardist for The Moody Blues, is celebrating his 74th birthday today. He is especially noted for his technological contribution to music. When the band was first together, Mike took a day job at Streetly Music. Streetly was the distributor of the Mellotron. The Mellotron is a keyboard that uses tapes of different sounds and ‘bends’ the sound to sound like different instruments.

Mike was able to get a used one from his employer and got rid of the tapes of things like chickens and roosters and added more tapes of violins, cellos and other stringed instruments. Mike introduced the sound of the Mellotron into The Moody’s music.

Mike is also the guy who introduced the Mellotron to John Lennon and even was involved with a couple of The Beatles recordings for which he was uncredited. (For a while, The Moody Blues were managed by The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein).

Mike’s work was one of the biggest contributing factors to the sound of The Moody Blues.

Mike left the group following the recording of the band’s album, Octave, in 1978.

Happy Birthday Mike!!! Your influence was incredible!

Songs You May Have Missed #523


The Moody Blues: “The Actor” (1968)

Outside the loyal circle of Moody Blues fanatics (the ones who’ve helped them remain an in-demand touring entity to this day despite the lack of a top 40 single since 1988) the band’s reputation is built on but a small handful of songs–songs such as “Tuesday Afternoon”, “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)”, “Your Wildest Dreams” and, most especially, “Night in White Satin”.

But the transcendent grandeur of 1968 album track “The Actor” is surpassed by nothing in their catalogue, not even the aforementioned “Nights”. This is the sound that won them such adulation that they felt the need to remind their legions of American fans that they were “just singers in a rock and roll band”.

If this whets your appetite, the seven albums this band’s classic lineup released between 1967-72 with mellotron ace Mike Pinder and flutist Ray Thomas still in the fold could not come more highly recommended.

Pure ecstasy.

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Songs You May Have Missed #252

The Moody Blues: “The Swallow” (1999)

From the last studio album the Moody Blues have released, excepting their very good 2003 Christmas release, December. This is an overlooked little Justin Hayward jewel, and understandably so: Strange Times is one of the weakest records of the band’s long and distinguished career.

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