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Music Review: The Moody Blues – Days Of Future Passed

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“Go Now” was a big hit in England and The United States but the Moody Blues were unable to follow up on that success. Original members Denny Laine and Carl Warwick both decided to leave the group. Instead of disbanding, Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas, and Graeme Edge began looking for replacements. Enter Justin Hayward and John Lodge who would begin a four decade plus association with the group and would help take The Moody Blues in a creative direction, unimagined at the time of their recruitment.

Days Of Future Passed was released November 10, 1967 and sounded like nothing produced at the time. Left behind were their blues roots and in their place was a unique fusion of rock and classical elements, which would become the sound associated with the group for the next forty years and would establish them as one of the most popular rock groups in the world.

The concept of the album was simple as it chronicled the day in the life of a person. Peter Knight and The London Festival Orchestra are credited with most of the symphonic parts but just how much they contributed and in what form they actually existed has remained somewhat of a mystery over the years. Many of the orchestral parts were played by Mike Pinder on the mellotron upon which he was able to create the sounds of many different instruments.

The album contains two of the more memorable songs to emerge from the late sixties. “The Afternoon: Forever Afternoon (Tuesday)” which is more commonly called “Tuesday Afternoon” and “The Night: Nights In White Satin” were both successful singles in a shortened form. In their original versions they were over eight and seven minutes a piece and were orchestrated suites in nature and structure. Both were written and sung by Justin Hayward.

“Tuesday Afternoon” featured the mellotron creating a lush background. Ray Thomas’ flute work was some of the best of his career. “Nights In White Satin” is a haunting, cosmic track of lost love that still receives considerable airplay and remains the group's best known song.

John Lodge would make his writing and singing debut with his “Lunch Break: Peak Hour.” It was the hardest rocking track contained on the original release and is representative of his many contributions that were to come.

There were several other highlights. “Evening: The Sunset/Twilight Time,” written by Pinder and Thomas respectively, is an introspective and atmospheric song about the sun setting. “The Morning: Another Morning” was a bouncy tune written by Thomas and features one of the better lead vocals of his career.

Days Of Future Passed seems to get better with age. It has a beauty and elegance that few albums have been able to match. It remains a memorable and timeless landmark in rock history.

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About David Bowling

  • http://www.myspace.com/newsoulenterprises Douglas Mays

    Ah, good information. That is how it happened. Justin Hayward and John Lodge were added to to band. I never knew how that all worked.

    “Peak Hour”, love that song. Of course, we all associated it with an acid trip back in the day….

    best,
    DM

  • }{eywood

    In spite of the downplaying in later years The moody Blues in 1967 were voracious drug users, and LSD was a mainstay of their lives. Although there has never been mention of it since then this album is all clearly about an LSD trip, one that takes a whole day. Not only that. It is also a plea for listeners to join with the group and experience the trip.

    Lyrics illustrating this scenario:

    this day will last
    a thousand years
    if you want it to

    You look around you
    Things they astound you
    So breathe in deep
    You’re not asleep
    Open your mind

    Do you understand
    That all over this land
    There’s a feeling
    In minds far and near
    Things are becoming clear
    With a meaning

    Now that you’re knowing
    Pleasure starts flowing
    It’s true life flies
    Faster than eyes
    Could ever see – Dawn Is A Feeling

    Time seems to stand quite still – Another Morning

    It makes me want to run out and tell them
    They’ve got time
    Take a step back out
    And look in
    I found out – Peak Hour

    I’m just beginning to see
    Now I’m on my way
    It doesn’t matter to me
    Chasing the clouds away

    I’m looking at myself
    Reflections of my mind
    It’s just the kind of day
    To leave myself behind
    So gently swaying
    Through the fairy-land of love
    If you’ll just come with me
    And see the beauty of

    Tuesday afternoon – Forever Afternoon (Tuesday)

    Live all you people
    You can see where you’re at
    It doesn’t really hurt you
    So that can’t be bad – Time To Get Away

    In twilight time, dream with me awhile – Twilight Time

    And of course the Moody Blues penultimate hit Nights In White Satin. This song deserves it’s own analysis:

    “Nights in white satin
    Never reaching the end”

    These lines describe the temporal distortion of a trip

    “Letters I’ve written
    Never meaning to send”

    This is a play on words. The letters are L, S & D

    “Beauty I’d always missed
    With these eyes before”

    These lines describe the enhancement of the senses provided by acid.

    “Just what the truth is
    I can’t say anymore”

    these lines refer to hallucinations

    “‘Cause I love you
    Yes I love you
    Oh how I love you”

    Justin Hayward loves tripping.

    “Gazing at people
    Some hand in hand
    Just what I’m going through
    They can’t understand”

    These lines refer to the straight people

    “Some try to tell me
    Thoughts they cannot defend”

    refers to those who are anti-drug and say LSD is harmful

    “Just what you want to be
    You will be in the end”

    these lines explain that you are in control of your trip

    “And I love you
    Yes, I love you
    Oh, how I love you
    Oh, how I love you”

    What can I say. The man likes his acid