They’ve sold over 70 million albums worldwide. They’ve got 14 platinum discs to their name. They were progenitors of the psychedelic and progressive rock movements, but scored majored pop hits well into the ‘90s.
Yet amazingly, the Moody Blues are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Even more amazingly, Public Enemy and Madonna are.
But the Moody Blues keep rolling.
Formed in England in the mid-‘60s, the band hit the charts early on with the Decca recording, “Go Now.” Singer songwriter Justin Hayward and bassist John Lodge signed on in 1966 and—along with drummer Graeme Edge—have been on board ever since.
The Moodys achieved fame in the early ‘70s for their album-long song cycles like Days of Future Passed, In Search of the Lost Chord, On the Threshold of a Dream, and A Question of Balance. Like their contemporaries in Genesis and Yes, the band pushed rock’s parameters by writing suites and movements—sometimes recorded along with a symphony orchestra. “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon” were early examples of the Moody’s new oeuvre that prompted other kaleidoscopic-eyed cantors to shift gears and embrace rock’s more poetic possibilities.
Countless other singles followed: “Ride My Seesaw,” “Legend of a Mind,” “Never Comes the Day,” and “Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band” cemented the Moody Blues’ status as AM/FM superstars, and the band’s incendiary concerts always left audiences hungry for more. Following a brief hiatus in the late ‘70s—during which Hayward and Lodge branched out with solo albums—the Moodys returned with Octave and Long Distance Voyager, topping the charts yet again with “The Voice” and “Gemini Dream.” Aided by Swiss keyboard whiz Patrick Moraz, the quintet struck again in the ‘80s with “Your Wildest Dreams” and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere.”
The Moody Blues are still an active touring unit which continues to draw sold-out crowds to outdoor sheds every summer. Moraz left in the early ‘90s and flautist Ray Thomas retired in 2002, but the core contingent of Hayward, Lodge, and Edge still release the odd album as the Moodys or as individuals: Last year’s Spirits of the Western Sky was a pleasant surprise from Hayward.
The guys are on the road again, this time in support of a massive box set retrospective surveying their 45-year history. Now available on UMe, Timeless Flight is a 17-disc treasure trove containing re-mastered editions of nearly every Moody album along with a 130-page hardback book, glossy photos, posters, and souvenir patch. The bulk of the band’s prolific catalog is represented on eleven enhanced CDs, while six DVDs collect rare live footage and outtakes.
A four-disc anthology of cherry-picked “hits” is also available, and it’s a fair bet the Moodys will draw from this material when they come back to Jacob’s Pavilion at Nautica this Sunday, September 29th.
And here’s hoping the Rock Hall starts living up to its name.
The Moody Blues. Sunday, September 29, 2013 at Jacob’s Pavilion. Tickets $33.75-$62.50. Gates at 7:30pm.