3.1 A brief history of The Moody Blues
The Moody Blues was formed in May 1964. Its members were: Denny Laine, Clint Warwick, Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas and Graeme Edge. During the years 1965 - 1967, they focused primarily on R & B, their most famous single being "Go Now" which reached # 1 on the charts in both the U.S. and Great Britain. During this time, they made several television appearances and opened for the Beatles on that band's last UK tour in 1965.
In 1966, Denny Laine and Clint Warwick left the group and were replaced by Justin Hayward and John Lodge. They abandoned the old R & B and, in 1967, recorded music from a stage show they had been performing, which became their most famous album, Days of Future Passed. Their record company, Decca, asked for a record to demonstrate its version of stereo, which had previously been reserved for symphonic recordings. Decca wanted the Moodies to record a rock version of Dvorak's symphony, "From the New World," to demonstrate that stereo could improve the sound of rock music as it had done for symphonic music. The band conspired with Peter Knight, the orchestra leader, to record their stage show and he composed music to fit around it. The band's recordings were put on tape with spaces for the orchestra's music, so the band never actually played with an orchestra.
Apparently, Decca didn't like Days of Future Passed but they released it anyway, since they'd already spent the money. Luckily they did, since the album contained "Nights In White Satin," which later became the Moodies' most famous song; and "Tuesday Afternoon," which became their first big hit in the U.S. The album remained on Billboard charts a full two years after its release.
During the years 1967 - 1972, they recorded seven very successful albums, all of which went gold and/or platinum. In 1972, Days of Future Passed was re-released and, incredibly, went gold again, a full five years after the original release of the album!
Amidst their skyrocketing popularity, the Moody Blues broke up in February 1974. However, individual members continued recording solo albums, many of which did extremely well on the pop charts. In 1978, the band reunited and recorded Octave, its eighth album with Justin Hayward and John Lodge. This was the last album with Mike Pinder, who declined to go on any more tours, and producer Tony Clarke. Patrick Moraz replaced Mike on the keyboards for the Octave tour and was on every album from Long Distance Voyager to Sur La Mer. Moraz also provided some keyboard work on Keys of the Kingdom, as well.
With the release of Long Distance Voyager in 1981, the band's comeback could not be ignored. The single "The Voice" did very well and the band went back on tour. Next to be released was The Present, which enjoyed a brief stay in the top 40. Both albums were produced by Pip Williams. Thereafter, the band and Williams parted ways. Justin Hayward says Williams was dismissed, citing "working too long on too many things that were never heard." Williams says he declined to produce a third album due to emotional exhaustion after recording The Present.
The Moodies continued recording and touring, and had a number of hit singles in the 1980s, including "Your Wildest Dreams," the video of which was named "Video of the Year" by Billboard magazine. On September 9, 1992, the band commemorated the 25th anniversary of the release of Days of Future Passed with a concert featuring a full symphony orchestra at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. This concert was released in 1993 as the live album and video A Night At Red Rocks. Larry Baird, the conductor, had to create all the arrangements from listening to previous recordings, as the original music from Days of Future Passed could not be found. The video of this concert aired on PBS stations throughout the United States.
From 1993 - 2000, the band made various tours of the United States and UK, playing with local symphonies in each city. The band released their box set, Time Traveller, on September 27, 1994. That same Tuesday afternoon, they held an Internet Chat session and were welcomed into Hollywood's Rock Walk (they placed their handprints and signatures in cement outside the Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard). For pictures of this event on the web, go to: www.rockwalk.com/inductees/inductee.cfm?id=103
In 1999, the song "Nights in White Satin" was inducted into the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science (NARAS, the Academy which awards the "Grammys") "Hall of Fame." This honor is reserved for recordings that are at least 25 years old and of lasting historical significance, and Justin Hayward received the ASCAP "Golden Note" lifetime achievement award for songwriters in October, 2000.
On August 17, 1999, the Moody Blues released Strange Times, their first album of new material in 8 years and their first ever self-produced album. The band celebrated the release by kicking off a world tour in Tallahassee, Florida on August 13, 1999. A second live concert video with symphony was made in London at the Royal Albert Hall on May 1, 2000 and widely shown on PBS stations throughout the USA.
2003 began yet another new era for the Moodies, with the retirement of founding member Ray Thomas after the fall 2002 tour. Very little has been officially said, but there has been no public animosity among the band members, and it seems that Ray just reached an age at which he chose to quit. The remaining band members, along with flautist Norda Mullen, released the first Moody album of Christmas music, December in 2003.
The band continues to tour, and according to the insert included in the Gold compilation (released March 2005), the Moody Blues have sold over 80 million records worldwide.
On to Section 3.2
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