The Moody Blues were originally a British rhythm and blues-based band; they later became best known for psychedelic music and early progressive rock.
The Moody Blues originated in Birmingham, England. At the time, Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder were El Riot & the Rebels, a popular band. Pinder left to join the army, but then rejoined Thomas to form the Krew Cats and had moderate success. The pair recruited Denny Laine, Graeme Edge and Clint Warwick, appearing as the Moody Blues for the first time in Birmingham in 1964.
Soon, the band had a contract with Decca Records and released an unsuccessful single, "Steal Your Heart Away", that year. "Go Now", released later that year, became a huge hit in the United Kingdom and charted moderately in the United States. After a series of unsuccessful singles, Warwick and Laine departed, replaced by John Lodge, also once a member of El Riot, and Justin Hayward, formerly of The Wilde Three, in 1966. The band soon realized that their original style of American blues covers and novelty tunes was not working for them, and they determined to develop an original style. Their new style featured the symphonic sounds of the mellotron (an early analog sampling keyboard; Pinder had worked for its manufacturer) and Ray Thomas' flute, with the performance organized around a concept--one day in the life of everyman.
The Moody Blues contract with Decca Records was set to expire, and they owed the label several thousand pounds in advances. Deram Records (a London/Decca imprint) chose the Moody Blues to make an LP in order to promote Deramic Stereo and the group was to be forgiven its debt to the label to make a rock and roll version of Dvorak's New World Symphony. The Moody Blues agreed, but insisted that they be given artistic freedom and left without supervision; they then convinced Peter Knight, who'd been assigned to arrange and conduct the orchestral interludes, to collaborate on a recording of their stage show instead. The original album, Days of Future Passed (1967), was not the demo recording the label had ordered, but instead a successful commercial release.
The album plus two singles, "Nights in White Satin" and "Tuesday Afternoon" became massively popular, as was the 1968 followup, In Search of the Lost Chord. The top-40 single from this album, Ride my See-Saw, was the first single to be mastered using eight-track recording technology. The band's music continued to become more complex and symphonic, resulting in 1969's To Our Children's Children's Children, a concept album based around the band's celebration of the first moon landing. After that, the group decided to record only albums that could be played in concert, losing some of their bombastic sound for their next album, A Question of Balance (1970). This album, reaching No. 3 in American charts (No. 1 in British charts), was indicative of the band's growing success in America. For their next two albums, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971) and Seventh Sojourn (1972) (which reached No. 1 in both the UK and the US) the band returned to their signature orchestral sound, which, while difficult to play in concert, had become the band's trademark.
After that, the group took an extended break--originally announced as a permanent break-up--to recuperate from a heavy touring schedule. Hayward and Lodge released a duet album, the very successful Blue Jays (1975) and the members each released solo albums. In 1977, the group reformed and after a tempestuous recording session, 1978's Octave was released. However, Pinder refused to tour and was replaced by former Yes keyboardist Patrick Moraz. In spite of these difficulties, the album was a hit, as was 1981's Long Distance Voyager. On these albums the Moody Blues embraced a more modern and less symphonic sound, although synthesizers were still a strong part of their composition.
The band's popularity waned through the release of The Present (1983). But in 1986 they enjoyed renewed success with their album The Other Side of Life, in particular with the track Your Wildest Dreams, a top-40 hit which garnered a Billboard "Video of the Year" award after being frequently featured on MTV. The Moodies continued their early video-generation success with Sur la Mer (1988) and its video/single I Know You're Out There Somewhere, a sequel to Your Wildest Dreams.
The early 1990s saw the departure of Patrick Moraz. The band had begun to reinforce their concert sound in the later 1980s with the addition of a second keyboardist and female backing vocals, and they decided not to hire a permanent replacement in the keyboard chair, but instead to tour as a quartet with extra hired musicians. Keys of the Kingdom (1991) had but modest commercial success. However, a heavy touring schedule kept them among the highest-earning concert acts, and a series of video and audio versions of their A Night at Red Rocks concert enjoyed great success, particularly as a fund-raiser for American public television. Their 1999 studio album, Strange Times, generated little interest beyond the group's enduring fan base.
The new millennium saw the Moody Blues reducing their touring schedule. In 2004, founding member Ray Thomas retired from the group, leaving Lodge, Edge and Hayward to soldier on.
- Go Now! (1965)
- 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)
- Caught Live + 5 (1977)
- Octave UK (1978)
- Long Distance Voyager (1981)
- The Present - IMPORT UK (1983)
- The Other Side Of Life (1986)
- Sur La Mer (1988)
- Keys Of The Kingdom - IMPORT UK (1991)
- A Night at Red Rocks (1993)
- Strange Times (1999)
- Hall Of Fame - Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2000)
- December (2003)
- Official Moody Blues website (http://www.moodyblues.co.uk/intro.htm)