The Moody Blues are a Long Runner Psychedelic Rock and Progressive Rock band from Birmingham, England, founded in 1964. Due to the large amounts of text in this article, the main body will be split up into several sections.The primary members are:
Early beginningsRay Thomas, John Lodge and Mike Pinder had all been members of various amateur bands, before Lodge left to go to college. The remaining two recruited band manager-turned-drummer Graham Edge, guitarist Denny Laine (later of Wings) and Clint Warwick on bass to form the Moody Blues. Originally, they were mostly a white R&B band in line with most of the British Invasion bands of this period. Under a recording contract with Decca Records, they first had success with the single "Go Now", which was a top 10 hit in the United States and, in fact, remains their only #1 single in the UK. Their debut album The Magnificent Moodies was released in 1965, but they had trouble following the success of "Go Now" with an additional hit, and in 1966, Warwick and Laine both left. Warwick was briefly replaced by Rodney Clark, but this didn't last, and their best-known lineup was formed when Pinder, Thomas and Edge reunited with Lodge and joined up with guitarist Justin Hayward of the Wilde Three. This line-up released two more singles, "Fly Me High" and "Love and Beauty", which also found little success. However, the latter was a definite move towards their classic sound, featuring the symphonic sounds of Pinder's mellotron and using Thomas' flute as more of a featured instrument. From here on, the Moodies would become a full-blown Psychedelic Rock band.
Massive success and classic periodTheir contract with Decca was set to expire, but the label offered them a deal to promote their new "Deramic Stereo Sound" audio format with a rock version of Antonin Dvořáks New World Symphony. They were unable to complete this, but convinced Peter Knight, who had been hired to conduct the orchestral material on the abandoned project, to continue working with them (providing overtures, conclusions and orchestral linking sections between songs) on a recording that would blend rock music with symphonic sounds, in the structure of a concept album about a day in the life of an everyman. The resulting album, Days of Future Passed (1967), was a sales success, mostly on the back of Hayward's Top 20 single "Nights in White Satin" (and, in America, the #24 placing of "Tuesday Afternoon"). Special note must be made of Pinder's contributions: he and producer Tony Clarke removed the sound effects tapes from his mellotron and doubled up the orchestral tapes, combining with Pinder's skills on the mellotron to create a symphonic "wave" sound that would become a defining characteristic of their work. Its concept album structure is also a huge influence on Progressive Rock.The three following albums, In Search of the Lost Chord (1968), On the Threshold of a Dream (1969, which was their first UK #1 album) and To Our Children's Children's Children (1969, another Concept Album inspired by the then-recent moon landing), were also successes, featuring several more hit singles, and lacked the full orchestra, instead relying on the mellotron. However, this full, symphonic sound, heavily reliant on overdubbing, was too difficult for them to reproduce in concert, so they stripped down their sound a little more for 1970's A Question of Balance and 1971's Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, which were also huge successes, the former yielding a #2 hit in "Question", and they and the final album in their classic period, 1972's Seventh Soujourn, all produced several Top 40 singles. However, five years of touring and recording had taken their toll on the band, and they felt they were running out of ideas. They eventually went on hiatus and would not record for another five years.
ReunionThe band got back together in 1977 to record a new album, Octave. However, Pinder had married and started a family in the interim, so he declined to go on tour with them. Besides this, there was a fire at the studios they were using, and a landslide after rain marooned them in Pinder's home where they were using his home studio, causing tension to rise. Eventually, Pinder left the band, and on tour he was replaced by Swiss ex-Yes keyboardist Patrick Moraz. Their follow ups, Long Distance Voyager (1981) and The Present (1983), were also successful, but they lacked their trademark lush, symphonic mellotron-led sound, replaced with a more modern feel. Similarly, Hayward, who had also been the primary composer of their hit singles including "Nights in White Satin" and "Question", was forced by marketers to have one of his songs lead off each album, and they were now more aimed at getting radio airplay. With Hayward and Lodge now acting as the primary composers, Ray Thomas was being pushed off to the side, and because of all of this the quality of their albums suffered from this point onwards, particularly in Pinder's absence.The band enjoyed a boost in commercial fortunes with their 1986 album The Other Side of Life and another Hayward tune and U.S. Top 10 single, "Your Wildest Dreams". Unfortunately, this and their followup, 1988's Sur La Mer, are probably their weakest albums yet - producer Tony Visconti and synth programmer Barry Radman were introducing the use of sequencers, samplers and drum machines in order to remain contemporary in the musical climate of the 80's, pushing the Moodies towards a boring, anemic Synth Pop sound. Hayward and Lodge's compositions were becoming increasingly lightweight and not as deep musically, and since the music they were producing did not fit at all with a flute, Thomas continued the process of Garfunkel-isation (going so far as to be mixed out of Sur La Mer entirely, though this was partly due to illness). While these albums and 1991's Keys to the Kingdom remained good sellers, critics were bashing the Moodies by this time, and Moraz was expressing dissatisfaction with being in the band, eventually leaving in 1991. The other members continued on as a four-piece, supported by live keyboardists.
The post-Moraz eraFaced with critical maulings and a lawsuit from Moraz in 1992, the Moodies took a hiatus from recording, instead continuing to tour. This time, they performed with an orchestra, finally allowing them to fully recreate much of their early work on stage. Eventually they got back into the studio to record their latest all-original album, 1999's Strange Times. This was a huge improvement, cutting down on the Synth Pop excesses of the 1980's and giving emphasis to guitars instead of keyboards, creating a pretty decent comeback. Thomas retired in 2002, and the band again continued as a trio of Edge, Hayward and Lodge (with unofficial fourth member, flautist Norda Mullen), cutting their latest album, the Christmas album December, in 2003.The Moodies continue to tour to this day.