Saturday May 9, 2015
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THE MOODY BLUES
“The Moody Blues are still the Sistine Chapel of popular music.” – Rolling Stone
In an endless sea of rock and pop formats, The Moody Blues have distinguished themselves through four decades as that shimmering jewel vindicating rock music as a substantial artistic contribution to Western culture. Since the 60’s, as a part of the historic original British invasion of Supergroups, The Moody Blues have lit up the hearts and minds of millions of rock fans with inspiring anthems like “Nights in White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon” and “I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band),” which express universal themes of love, compassion and peace. The band’s unique style of music consistently finds airplay on radio stations globally and continues to illuminate concert arenas around the world. From being immortalized on The Simpsons to having their music featured in movies, television and in national advertisement campaigns such as VISA, The Moody Blues are embedded in not only music history but in pop culture.
The band just recently celebrated the 45th Anniversary of their monumental 1967 album, “Days of Future Passed,” which features “Nights in White Satin,” one of the first four minute songs played on the radio, becoming one of the biggest selling singles in history, and hitting #1 three separate times on Billboard. In summer of 2012, “Nights” was the lead track in the movie and on the soundtrack of the Johnny Depp film, “Dark Shadows.” Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) also released a new Moody Blues greatest hits collection in two editions titled ICON and ICON 2 -- single disc and double disc formats. The releases include The Moody Blues’ legendary hits and fan favorites from their 14 studio albums that have spanned more than 35 years of groundbreaking music: DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED (1967), IN SEARCH OF THE LOST CHORD (1968), ON THE THRESHOLD OF A DREAM (1969), TO OUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN’S CHILDREN (1969), A QUESTION OF BALANCE (1970), EVERY GOOD BOY DESERVES FAVOUR (1971), SEVENTH SOJOURN (1972), OCTAVE (1978), LONG DISTANCE VOYAGER (1981), THE PRESENT (1983), THE OTHER SIDE OF LIFE (1986), SUR LA MER (1988), KEYS OF THE KINGDOM (1991), STRANGE TIMES (1999) and DECEMBER (2003).
Since they first hit the rock scene The Moody Blues have continued to produce music that bridges the gap between rock, classical and pop-rock genres without ever wavering in their integrity and commitment. Featuring the altruistic inflections of guitarist/vocalist Justin Hayward, bassist/vocalist John Lodge and drummer Graeme Edge, The Moody Blues’ sound has held its ground with exquisite harmonies over and over again, in a genre of music that is ever-changing. Since their formation in England, The Moody Blues have created music time and time again that offers rock music a depth that is unprecedented and inspiring.
The Moody Blues have sold in excess of 70 million albums worldwide and have been awarded an astonishing 14 platinum and gold discs. Their incredible roster of hits include: “Nights In White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon,” “Ride My See Saw,” “The Story In Your Eyes,” “Isn’t Life Strange,” “Question,” “I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band),” “Your Wildest Dreams,” and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” to name a few. The Moody Blues’ No. 1, Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, Top 40, Multi-Platinum, Platinum and Gold albums and singles, have generated sold-out tours on a consistent basis over the course of several decades, making them one of the top-grossing album and touring bands in existence.
Throughout the group’s indelible history, they have been embraced by every major music journal around the world. Says the New York Post, “The trio looked remarkably sound and sounded untouched by time.” Adds USA Weekend, “…a great rock n’ roll band with staying power beyond anybody’s ‘wildest dreams.’” “One of the biggest strengths the band has, is knowing what they do, and doing it extremely well,” praises the Toronto Sun.
Throughout the 60’s and 70's, the group released a string of concept albums including DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED, IN SEARCH OF THE LOST CHORD, ON THE THRESHOLD OF A DREAM, TO OUR CHILDREN'S CHILDREN'S CHILDREN, A QUESTION OF BALANCE, EVERY GOOD BOY DESERVES FAVOUR and SEVENTH SOJOURN, which can be listened to from beginning to end like turning the pages of a novel telling the story of our lives. The albums garnered the band respect and acclaim that would place them in that unusual distinctive category as pioneers of concept-rock with a message.
In 1979, the band released OCTAVE, and stepped away from the concept theme by exploring new musical elements which spawned two hits “Driftwood” and “Steppin’ In A Slide Zone.” In the 80’s, while punk rock, power-pop and new wave were dominating the charts, The Moodies showed their resilience against the changing tides of trends and released the album LONG DISTANCE VOYAGER. The album went straight to the top and landed at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, with two hit singles: “Gemini Dream” and “The Voice.” The Moody Blues then released THE PRESENT in 1983 with the hits “Blue World” and “Sitting At The Wheel”; followed by another album that would win over a new generation of young fans in the mid-late 80's entitled THE OTHER SIDE OF LIFE, which gave birth to the hit song “Your Wildest Dreams”-- one of their biggest selling singles of their career to date. The next two albums continued their momentum with the hit single, “I Know You're Out There Somewhere” from SUR LA MER, the counterpart to “Your Wildest Dreams” and 1991's “Say It With Love” from KEYS OF THE KINGDOM.
The 90’s marked yet another phase of the band’s illustrious career. The Moody Blues had reached a milestone in 1992 –– their 25th anniversary of the release of DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED. With this concept in mind, the band performed live in concert with a symphony orchestra. The event was filmed at the Red Rocks concert venue in Denver, Colorado, for a PBS special, home video and album titled THE MOODY BLUES – A NIGHT AT RED ROCKS WITH THE COLORADO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA. The response from the broadcast, video and album was so phenomenal, the band took the symphony concerts on the road and sold out everywhere.
During this time period, The Moodies released their Gold-selling boxed set collection entitled TIME TRAVELLER, a greatest hits package in 1997 entitled THE BEST OF THE MOODY BLUES, and a double-CD ANTHOLOGY album. The group welcomed the new Millennium with the release of the appropriately titled STRANGE TIMES, which was their first studio album in eight years, charting yet again in the Top 100 on Billboard. Recorded in Genoa, Italy, the band took on the role of “producers” of the album, another first for the The Moodies.
The band then released a second PBS special and live album in 2001 entitled Hall Of Fame: Recorded Live At The Royal Albert Hall; and The Moody Blues: Live At The Royal Albert Hall, respectively. The performance re-visited the excitement of their live performances with a symphony orchestra, recorded and filmed in England's famed Royal Albert Hall. The live concert, available on video, marked the first live Moody Blues performance released on DVD.
Also in 2001, The Moody Blues were featured in the highest grossing giant screen production of the year in the IMAX film entitled JOURNEY INTO AMAZING CAVES. Featuring two new Moody Blues songs, “We Can Fly” and “Water”; and their classics “Nights in White Satin” and “Ride My
Seesaw,” the film was awarded IMAX’ “Soundtrack of the Year Award,” which was simultaneously released on CD.
In 2003, The Moody Blues released the first holiday album of their career on Universal Records entitled DECEMBER. The band’s majestic, orchestral mix of rock and pop fit beautifully in the new Christmas CD – from its lush originals, to the band’s choice of traditional songs. Produced by Hayward and Lodge, DECEMBER features five original songs, five cover songs, and one newly arranged traditional tune with additional lyrics.
Nashville paid tribute to the band in 2004 with the release of MOODY BLUEGRASS, in which 31 of Nashville’s top musicians recorded and translated the group’s 70’s and 80’s classics into bluegrass form. Produced by mandolinist David Harvey, renowned bluegrass artists from Alison Krauss and Harley Allen to Tim O’Brien put their bluegrass interpretations on “Your Wildest Dreams,” “I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band),” “Nights In White Satin,” and many other Moody hits.
The Moodies released the Image Entertainment DVD and CD THE MOODY BLUES: LOVELY TO SEE YOU, LIVE in 2005, recorded at the historic Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. This recording was pure Moody Blues, marking the first live performance recorded sans orchestra, since their historic 1969 live release THE MOODY BLUES LIVE +5.
In 2008, the band embarked on a tour of the U.K. and Europe; and Universal Music Enterprises re-released the group’s first seven albums, containing the band’s legendary chart-topping singles of the 60’s and 70’s. Each re-release by UMe features exclusive bonus tracks, alternate versions, radio sessions and outtakes; telling a story about the progression of rock & roll while diving into further detail with the inclusion of live BBC recordings and bonus tracks.
In 2011, in addition to the new ICON releases, a follow-up Moody Bluegrass tribute album was recently released featuring cameos by the band, Vince Gill, Ricky Scaggs, and more. MOODY BLUEGRASS TWO…MUCH LOVE. “Nights In White Satin” also landed at #2 on the UK Rock Chart, and at #27 on the BBC Radio 1 chart, making it the fourth time that “Nights” has charted in its 40-plus year history. The song’s resurgence ignited after a recent cover performance by Matt Cardle, winner of Simon Cowell’s hit UK show “The X Factor.”
With their 2013 tour, the legacy of The Moody Blues continues to live on. As the world continues to revolve on its axis during any time of economic and political uncertainty, The Moody Blues have always been there to provide the world with live music that is engaging and appropriate to the times. The Moody Blues will always offer that unique experience of rock & roll delivered with connectedness, commitment and a sentiment of peace.