Friday, January 20, 2012


For their dining music last night daughters Seven and Nine requested, not for the first time, “Cities” by the Moody Blues. It’s not one of the band’s greatest hits, merely the B-side to the hit single “Nights in White Satin” which was released on 10 November 1967. I have always liked the song but am baffled as to why the children do. They have even invented their own gestures to accompany the lines “Up above, all around, in the sky, underground, this is what I have found” – you can imagine.  

Looking through the booklet of the Moody Blues box-set Time Traveller, I was struck by the band’s work rate:
Days of Future Passed, November 1967.
In Search of the Lost Chord, July 1968.
On the Threshold of a Dream, April 1969.
To Our Children’s Children’s Children, November 1969.
A Question of Balance, August 1970.
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, July 1971.
There were more to come but those are the albums their reputation rests on – six adventurous and wildly successful albums in a shade under four years. At the time, the advances in style from album to album were astonishing, especially the first three. Compare and contrast the work rate and musical development with today’s slackers. These guys were working.

To get an idea of how far they had come, here is the first incarnation of the band when they were a hot teenage rocking combo serving up standard UK R&B. Singer/guitarist Denny Laine went on to work with Paul McCartney in Wings. Here they are with “I’ll Go Crazy” from 1966:

This is Mike Pinder singing his “Really Haven’t Got the Time”, a May 1967 B-side. It is possibly the most sexist song ever before “Free Bird”. Still great, though. Pinder went on to be the spiritual one in the band – by July 1968 on ISotLC he was chanting “Om”, and he eventually moved to California to make dismal New Age music. What a long strange trip it’s been:

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