The Moody Blues – Days of Future Passed (1967)
Birthed out of Birmingham in the early 60s, The Moody Blues were originally just another R&B cover band. Breaking out in the U.K. with the 1964 single “Go Now”, The Moody Blues had obtained some moderate success but didn’t really standout from any of the other British Blues based bands of the time. Juggling through several management firms, even leading to the departure of the band’s original bassist Clint Warwick and lead singer/guitarist Denny Laine, (Who would later join Wings) The Moodies signed guitarist/vocalist Justin Hayward and bassist/vocalist John Lodge finally forming the lineup for a classic rock group.
The band had decided upon a vastly new psychedelic approach along with a hint of classical stylings to create one of the most unusual and if I will say “Epic” albums of it’s time. Working off of the concept of “An average man’s day from dawn to night,” The Moodies put together some trippy pop tracks, but it felt somewhat lacking. So who better to fill that void than the London Festival Orchestra? Who would provide backing instrumentation and to fill the gaps between every song.
The overall effect of this at the time risky move, proved to be simply stunning. With lush ballads accompanied by a booming orchestra, it sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a 60s sword and sandal epic… Aside from the references to modern London life. These songs are all perfectly suited for the smorgasbord of strings and brass that’s been piled on and it really like a rock symphony.
Every member contributes singing and song-writing duties to this album and all prove to be talented contributors. Mellotronist Mike Pinder pens some of the album’s more melancholy numbers such as “Dawn is a Feeling” while flutist Ray Thomas generates a much more positive up beat style on songs like “Another Morning”. Bassist John Lodge includes a more pop/rock styling while guitarist Justin Hayward proves to be the group’s strongest contributor with the radio friendly hits “Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)” and the band’s future defining hit “Nights in White Satin”. The band’s drummer Graeme Edge doesn’t write any songs, but creates an element that would later become a staple of The Moodies’ sound with a introspective poem following the album’s overture and finale. The members make for a fairly unique and cohesive group of collaborators and the overall sound makes for some out of this world pop.
Listening to this whimsical record you can’t ignore the flawless producing of the Tony Clarke, considered as “The Sixth Moody” he would go on to produce all of the band’s albums. The album took awhile to find a following, but come round 1972 The Moody Blues took the U.S. by storm with the re-release of their single “Nights in White Satin” the rest is history.
This album’s definitely had a significant impact on me as I’ve probably used the whole album as background music in some of Cat Fancy’s video productions. I often find I like listening to it before I go to sleep, to whisk me off into the land of dreams and sand… Hey maybe I’m a poet but just don’t know it, Moody Blues cover band anyone? Of course I keed but yeah this is a unique piece of music that definitely deserves some more recognition.
Favorite Tracks: “Dawn is a Feeling”, “Nights in White Satin”, “Peak Hour”