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On The Boards
The Beatles | Pink Floyd | Fleetwood Mac | Moody Blues | Jethro Tull | Les Paul | Tina Turner | Cyndi Lauper

Through The Cracks
Clouds | Danny Gatton | Roy Buchanan | TimeBox - Patto | Joe Stanley

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 In the music business there are many factors that define the razor edge between the "'Legends' and the Lost". The right sound, at the right time, in the right place are foremost on the list, but are not the only factors that will determine the placement of any musician in the history books. The pages are also subject to edit by record companies and producers, the fickle nature of fans, the general acceptance and understanding of your work by other musicians, and, of course, "Luck".
  The Musicians profiled in "On The Boards" are those who, having reached the pinnacle of their particular music genre, gave us a sound that is uniquely definable as belonging to the individual musician(s). Feel free to add, correct, or debate the contents herein.  Submission/comment

Moody Blues

 The Moody Blues formed on May 4, 1964, in Birmingham, England with Ray Thomas, John Lodge, and Michael Pinder who had been members of the locally popular band El Riot & the Rebels. The Rebels disbanded and after a short military stint Michael Pinder rejoined with Ray Thomas to form the Krew Cats which garnered moderate success. With the recruitment of guitarist/vocalist Denny Laine, drummer Graeme Edge, and bassist Clint Warwick, the five would make their first appearance the Moody Blues in Birmingham in 1964. The name developed from a sponsorship by the Mitchells & Butlers Brewery, (M&B), and a subtle variation of Mood Indigo, a popular Duke Ellington song. The band has released several hit albums worldwide, and remains active as of 2009. The Moody Blues sound was a fusion of contemporary rock with classical music which was debuted in their 1967 album Days of Future Passed.

Moody blues

 Under the management of Alex Wharton the band obtained a recording contract through Decca, and in early 1964 the Moody Blues released their first single, "Steal Your Heart Away" which, having made it onto the charts, was quickly surpassed by their second single, "Go Now", released later that same year. It was “Go Now” that launched their career, and with the help of probably the first ever TV/Promotional/Rock video of the pop-rock era, the single became their first #1 hit in the UK, reaching #10 in America. The members at this early stage were Denny Laine - guitar, vocals, Clint Warwick - bass, vocals, Ray Thomas - vocals, flute, percussion, Mike Pinder - keyboards, vocals, Graeme Edge - drums, percussion, Rodney Clark - bass, vocals.

 Their debut album “The Magnificent Moodies”, was released on Decca in 1965, containing their hit single together with classic R&B covers, and four Laine/Pinder originals. Shortly thereafter Wharton left the management firm and the band released a series of unsuccessful singles which culminated in Warwick, Laine, and Clark leaving the band. They were immediately replaced by John Lodge, their original bassist from El Riot, and Justin Hayward, formerly of The Wilde Three.

 Due to the poor reception of their last few releases the band soon realized that blues covers and the contemporary music sound was not going to work for them, so they made the decision to only perform their own material. The ironic twist of fate, that so often makes or breaks a band, was soon to exert it’s influence at this juncture in the history of the Moody Blues. The band’s contract with Decca Records was about to expire leaving them in debt to Decca for several thousand pounds in advances. The band was offered a deal to make a rock and roll version of Antonín Dvořák's New World Symphony that would promote the company's new Deramic Stereo Sound (DSS) format, Deram being London/Decca's new subsidiary, and in return Decca would absolve their debt.

 The group was unable to complete the assigned project, but they managed to convince Peter Knight, who had been assigned to arrange and conduct the orchestra, to collaborate on a recording that used the band's original material instead. The new style, mixing classical with psychedelic rock influences, was soon to be the major turning point for the Moody Blues. True to form, Deram executives were skeptical about the hybrid style and resulting concept album. "Days of Future Passed", released in November 1967, became one of the most successful releases of the time, earning a gold record award and reaching #27 in the UK and five years later #3 on the U.S./Billboard charts. Two singles, "Nights in White Satin" and "Tuesday Afternoon", became massively popular, and paved the way for the 1968 follow-up LP, " In Search of the Lost Chord".

 Aided by Tony Clarke who was chosen to produce their first album, (who remained to produce all of their albums and singles for the next eleven years), and engineer Derek Varnals’ contribution to the early studio sound, the Moody Blues sound that was created was a definite hit.  Thier music would become more complex and symphonic with each new album, as the Moody Blues continued to define their version of progressive rock. Because of the growing popularity of their sound the group decided to record an album that could be played in concert and eased up on The “Wall of Sound” for their release A Question of Balance (1970). The successive releases returned to the signature sound which, while difficult to reproduce in concert, had become their trademark.

In the spring of 1974, just prior to the release of the compilation album " This Is The Moody Blues" the group announced its break-up.  

 Hayward and Lodge released a duo album, the very successful Blue Jays (1975), and the remaining members each released solo albums

 Edge produced Kick Off Your Muddy Boots (1975) and Paradise Ballroom (1976);

 Hayward released Songwriter (1977), followed later by Night Flight (1980), Moving Mountains (1985), Classic Blue (1989), The View From The Hill (1996), and Live In San Juan Capistrano (1998).

 Lodge released Natural Avenue (1977).

 Pinder produced The Promise (1976).

Thomas collaborated on two projects with songwriter Nicky James, producing From Mighty Oaks (1975) and Hopes, Wishes and Dreams (1976).

 By 1977 the band was back together again, though the reunion was marked with some tension between Pinder and the remaining members, with pinder dropping out before completion of the " Octave" album, which was eventually released in of 1978. Pinder decided not to tour with the band to promote the album so  Patrick Moraz was hired to replace him, as Moraz had recently been let go by the band Yes. After a very successful tour during 1979, the band was ready to return to the studio, this time with Moraz as the full time keyboardist. Pinder, believing that he would continue to record with the band, started an unsuccessful legal campaign to prevent the new Moody Blues album from being released without his contribution, he never returned to the band. The new album, "Long Distance Voyager", was released in 1981 reaching #1 on Billboard and top 5 in the UK.

 In 1991, halfway through the production of their new studio album, Moraz was dismissed from further participation in the group, before the project was completed, due to public remarks he had made concerning his role in the band. Bias Boshell, as well as a  new keyboardist, Paul Bliss, were brought in to finish the new album's keyboard tracks. After legal suits from both Pinder in 1981 and Moraz in 1992, the band has been careful not to recognize future players as “official” members. Following on from his contributions as keyboardist on the " Keys Of The Kingdom", Paul Bliss has played keyboards for the band live since 1991, being promoted to first keyboardist in 2001. Thomas and Bliss continued the tradition of a flute/keyboard duet for many tours. The band also enlisted a second drummer, Gordon Marshall, who has accompanied the group since.

The Moodies remains a steady concert draw, and a series of video and audio versions of their " 1992 Night at Red Rocks" concert enjoyed great success. The new millennium saw the Moody Blues reducing their touring schedule. At the end of 2002, founding member Ray Thomas retired from the group, reducing The Moody Blues to the trio of Hayward, Lodge, and Edge. The group continues to tour with new dates announced for 2009.

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Moody Blues Discography
The Magnificent Moodies - 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
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 December  - 2003
Live  
Caught Live + 5 - 1977 A Night at Red Rocks - 1993
Hall of Fame - 2000 Lovely to See You: Live - 2005
Live at the BBC: 1967-1970 - 2007 Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 - 2008

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Discography

Discography

 

 

 

 

 

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Through The Cracks
Clouds | Danny Gatton | Roy Buchanan | TimeBox - Patto | Joe Stanley

On The Boards
The Beatles
| Pink Floyd | Fleetwood Mac | Moody Blues | Jethro Tull | Les Paul | Tina Turner | Cyndi Lauper

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