Archives » The Moody Blues

Reelin’ in the Years 196: After You Came

Though he contributed spoken word pieces to the previous five albums plus an instrumental in Beyond from To Our Children’s Children’s Children only six Moody Blues songs were credited to their late drummer Graeme Edge as sole writer. This rocker, the last track on side one of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, was one of them.

The Moody Blues: After You Came

Graeme Charles Edge: 30/3/1941 – 11/11/2021. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 69: Late Lament – RIP Graeme Edge

I was saddened to read in the Guardian of the death of Graeme Edge of the Moody Blues on Armistice Day.

As a drummer he perhaps wasn’t spectacular but he did the job. He was one of the group’s original members (in the days of Denny Laine, Clint Warwick and Go Now) and continued on to the glory days of the late 60s and early 70s. His contribution to the group’s œuvre was not initially musical but spoken word (poetry if you will) starting with the Morning Glory sequence from Days of Future Passed whose first verse,

“Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight,
Red is grey and yellow white,
But we decide which is right,
And which is an illusion,”

is returned to in Late Lament, the spoken coda which comes after the final song, Nights in White Satin. Unfortunately this clip omits the gong right at the end.

The Moody Blues: Late Lament

Graeme Charles Edge: 30/3/1941 – 11/11/2021. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 66: Are You Sitting Comfortably?

The source of that “glorious age of Camelot” quote I linked to in Tuesday’s review post of Lavie Tidhar’s “King Arthur” book By Force Alone.

The song is from The Moody Blues album On the Threshold of a Dream released in April 1969. A languid, ethereal, atmospheric track. Quite unlike the book I might add.

The Moody Blues: Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Not Friday on my Mind 51: Ride My Seesaw

Previously all my Moody Blues posts have been of Justin Hayward songs. Neither he nor the writer of this, John Lodge, were original members of the band when it had its number one hit Go Now but replaced Denny Laine and Clint Warwick after a subsequent lack of chart success led to that pair leaving the band.

It was the arrival of Lodge and Hayward though which coincided with a change of direction – to which they made a significant contribution.

This video is a clip from the BBC2 late night programme Colour Me Pop partly introduced to showcase the then new colour TV broadcasts. Note the psychedelic effects. The Moody Blues’ appearance on the show was on 14th September 1968. I either watched it at the time of its first broadcast or on a reasonably quick repeat. Despite doing nothing but singing (or miming) on the clip Ray Thomas still manages to give an extravagant performance.

Though this track was written by Lodge it is Hayward’s guitar solo and the group’s signature vocal sound which stand out. The song quickly became a staple of the group’s live shows, more or less the band’s signature tune.

The Moody Blues: Ride My Seesaw

Not Friday on my Mind 49: Legend of a Mind. RIP Ray Thomas

Ray Thomas, who died this week was a multi-instrumentalist not very well-served by most of the time on stage with The Moody Blues merely flourishing a tambourine or otherwise not seeming to do very much. That perception would be to undervalue him greatly.

It was his contribution as a flautist where he really counted, a contribution that only added to the already distinctive sound of the band. As a flautist in a rock band he was for a while unique. (Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull came along later as did Peter Gabriel with Genesis.) That flute embellished mightily the power of Nights in White Satin, the song which became emblematic of the revamped Moody Blues.

A founder member of the band in its first (bluesy) incarnation – Go Now etc – his solid bass voice enhanced the vocal harmonies which were so much a part of the re-incarnated band’s sound.

For some odd reason there seemed to be a regular order of song-writers in those early albums by the “new” Moodies with Thomas always having song three* on side one as one of his spots.

Among his songs were Another Morning*, Twilight Time, Dr Livingstone, I Presume?*, Dear Diary*, Lazy Day, Floating*, Eternity Road, with his collaborations with Justin Hayward, Visions of Paradise and Are You Sitting Comfortably? being especially memorable.

It was song five, side one on In Search of the Lost Chord, though, that was his apotheosis. That song was Legend of a Mind with a lyric about Timothy Leary and supposed mind expansion, “Timothy’ Leary’s dead, No, no, no, no, he’s outside looking in.” Apparently Leary once told Thomas the song made him more famous than anything he had ever done for himself.

But who needed drugs when music itself could be this transportive?

Here’s a promotional film for Legend of a Mind made around the time of its first release. Thomas’s flute solo here is sublime.

The Moody Blues: Legend of a Mind

Ray Thomas: 29/12/1941 – 4/1/2018. So it goes. Thanks for the trips round the bay.

Friday on my Mind 102 and Reelin’ In the Years 93: Say You Don’t Mind

Ex-Zombie Colin Blunstone had a few solo hits in the 70s.
This was one of them. Unfortunately the video isn’t synched. (Perhaps he was miming in the first place, but it sounds like a live performance.)

Colin Blunstone: Say You Don’t Mind

The song’s writer Denny Laine (he of the early Moody Blues and of Wings) had recorded it in the 60s.

Denny Laine: Say You Don’t Mind

Live It Up 20: It Won’t Be Easy (Without You)

This is a curiosity. The theme from the 1987 TV series Star Cops. Written and performed by Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues.

Star Cops Theme – It Won’t Be Easy (Without You)

This is how the opening credits looked.

Reelin’ In the Years 88: Blue Guitar

After their next LP, Seventh Sojourn, which spawned two singles in Isn’t Life Strange and I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band) both of which – unlike The Story in Your Eyes – troubled the charts, the Moody Blues broke up.

During the five years they spent apart most of them released solo LPs but the most successful venture was a collaboration between Justin Hayward and John Lodge which produced the LP Blue Jays but most memorably the song Blue Guitar, a no 8 hit in the UK. According to the Wiki article above Hayward actually recorded this with 10cc rather than Lodge but nevertheless the two took “Blue Jays” on the road mainly – as I recall Lodge introducing the track on stage – because of Blue Guitar.

Here they are performing it (ie miming) on Supersonic.

Justin Hayward and John Lodge: Blue Guitar

Reelin’ In the Years 87: The Story In Your Eyes

I’ve already mentioned the odd decision to release Watching and Waiting rather than Gypsy as the single from To Our Children’s Children’s Children. The former was an ideal coda to the album but not really single material.

The single that came after, Question, was the Moodies most successful in the new era, only being kept off the No. 1 slot by the England World Cup squad’s Back Home. (Oh tempora!) Despite being described as, “One of the world’s most advanced groups,” while promoting the song on Top of the Pops, the LP it prefaced, A Question of Balance, gave the first indication that collectively the band was going off the boil.

Their next single didn’t even make the UK charts despite being a belter. First below is not the album version from Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. This one has a different vocal performance and a more lush mellotron sound. The more familiar album edition follows.

The Moody Blues: The Story In Your Eyes

Not Friday On My Mind 20: Never Comes The Day

Tuesday Afternoon was followed as a single by Voices in the Sky (with its flute flourishes and distinctive vocal from Justin Hayward) which, like its follow-up, the hard-driving perennial favourite Ride My See-Saw, featured on the next LP, the even more pretentious concept album, In Search of the Lost Chord. That was the first Moody Blues LP I bought – possibly my first ever and there’s barely a dud on it – with the possible exception of the spoken passages and the final track Om. Its standout is the Ray Thomas song Legend of a Mind embedded within the House of Four Doors sequence with its classical pretensions placing the group’s output firmly in Prog territory.

By this time the Moodies were firmly established as my favourite band.

Then we had this song – later to feature on On The Threshold of a Dream – which I remember in its review of the single the NME referred to as “beautifully constructed.” Here the group plays it live.

The Moody Blues: Never Comes The Day

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