The Moody Blues started out doing R&B, but veered into the symphonic rock area with 1967’s Days of Future Passed, a concept album that was an “orchestral song cycle about a typical working day,” Wikipedia tells us. It was performed with the London Festival Orchestra and featured keyboardist Mike Pinder on Mellotron (the first time many of us heard one), and more or less flowed from one song to the next, making it hard to know where to drop the needle. Since then, they became one of the key progressive rock bands.
Our first song is “Question,” from the 1970 album A Question of Balance. It reached #2 on the UK Singles chart and #21 on the Hot 100 that year. With my money from my eighth-grade graduation, I bought a stereo system and a few singles, this among them. A friend of mine and I used to play this one together, he on the piano, I on the guitar. Between this and The Who’s “Pinball Wizard,” I must have broken a thousand high “E” strings. Probably should have used a lighter-gauge pick or had some work done on the saddle of my guitar, maybe even played this in open-C tuning as guitarist and composer Justin Hayward did.
Our second tune is “I’m Just A Singer (In a Rock ‘n’ Roll band),” from Seventh Sojourn, their eighth album (naturally). This was written by bass player John Lodge> Keyboardist Mike Pinder used the Chamberlin, a keyboard similar to the Mellotron, on this and other songs from the album, and although flautist Ray Thomas is shown in the video playing a baritone sax, the sound is actually coming from the keyboard. It reached #36 on the UK Singles chart and #12 on the Hot 100.
Drummer Graeme Edge, Hayward, and Lodge still tour as the Moody Blues. There’s a Facebook group dedicated to getting them into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; it’s a closed group, probably because it attracted a lot of spam. The band also has a Facebook page, and they’re on Twitter, and have a website.
The Moody Blues, your Two for Tuesday, February 9, 2016.