I think if you asked me to name my Top 10 artists – right now – I would probably forget to name The Moody Blues. Afterwards, you would suggest The Moody Blues and I would slap myself in the forehead and say “Of course, they are top ten”. The Moody Blues are this great band that are often overlooked.
The Backstory of The Moody Blues and Me
Before I started this mission, I could name a handful of songs from The Moody Blues. Many of the songs were great and probably came from Days of Future Past. Turns out I’ve heard plenty more of their songs and there are a lot more to like.
Egypt Valley Ghost Hunting
It seems like most high school boys go through a phase where they want to get spooked out and go ghost hunting. I thought it was unique to my friends until later in life, coworkers and new friends all start telling their stories. Seems like everyone my age was in a backyard wrestling federation and also frequently visited graveyards on the weekends.
One hot spot in the Ohio Valley was called Egypt Valley. This location was forty-five minutes away from my home in Martins Ferry and very mysterious. There were stories (real or made-up) of hauntings and suspicious activity. My friends said the first rape victim in Ohio was murdered on these grounds. Not sure if those facts check out, but the place was rather spooky.
One weekend, my friends and I decided it was a good time to head out to Egypt Valley. My friend, Erik, drove his Bronco to the gates of Egypt Valley. It was a summer night. The moon was very bright and their was fog in random spots. I remember dirt and gravel roads. There were some old houses (looked abandoned or poorly maintained). We stopped at the local cemetery and walked around a bit.
As you do when walking around a graveyard at midnight, you hear things. It might be a critter in the weeds or maybe a spirit from the 18th century. We traveled there several times, so I don’t recall the exact trip – but I remember one of these trips had us running back to the Bronco in fear from what we heard.
The one memory I have that was for sure the first trip to Egypt Valley was the soundtrack (mix) we had playing in the car. Erik and I had very similar taste in music. We both started listening to The Moody Blues and discovered “Nights in White Satin”. The mix CD shuffled the songs and the song started playing as we were leaving.
It was almost something spiritual or unearthly. We all felt like we were in a trance. I remember looking out of the window, through the fog – at the sky. The music fit the mood perfectly. What really makes this stand out, as we slowly exited the road, the poem at the end of the song starts to recite. There were two big pillars at the end of the road and signified leaving the grounds. Exactly, to the second, we passed through the pillars, the last note from the song played.
Making Chili and Taking Out Trash
I started working at Wendy’s in Martins Ferry at 16. My goal was always to avoid people and make money. The best way to do this was to open the store on the weekends. Minors could work longer hours on the weekends and opening gave you three hours of work before customers could enter.
I was the ‘grill’ opener. My job was to put the chili’s on the stove. They took about three hours to warm up and have ready for open. I did this for years.
When I graduated from High School, I opened the store five days a week. I had this down to a science and could do the entire job in an hour. It was so routine, that I would get bored. I discovered a little pocket radio and found that helped pacify me.
I would listen to the classic rock station and on Sunday they had a special show. This show talked about a classic rock album in detail. Of course, the first episode was on Days of Future Passed. This touch of a documentary about the music helped me appreciate the group and most importantly the album.
Long Drives to Bethany
In 2004, my girlfriend (my wife now) was enrolled at Bethany College in West Virginia. She had a dorm, but we often hung out after class and it made more sense for her to stay over.
This drive was maybe an hour away. It was mostly back roads and was a beast in the winter. I would wake up early in the morning and drive her back to school in time for class. I did this for months.
Technology had advanced and I had a CD burner. I remember making new albums frequently to help pass the two hours I was on the road. I distinctly remember having plenty of The Moody Blues on these CDs. The song “Forever Autumn” always gives me the feeling of driving to Bethany.
Turns out, “Forever Autumn” was done by a singer of The Moody Blues and not the group. More on this later…
80s Bill Hersey and Disney Parks Special
The Moody Blues had a different sound in the ‘80s than they did in the ‘60s. I remember the songs of the eighties – more so than the classic work – because my dad must have had the CDs. “The Other Side of Life” and “Your Wildest Dream” were tracks that I remember hearing from the other room while I played Nintendo.
I didn’t think about these songs for the longest time. In 2015 I started binge watching old Disney Parks TV specials. A major hobby of mine is Disney history. I queued up a few specials on my Apple TV and went to bed. I was pleasantly surprised to wake up in the middle of the night hearing The Moody Blues. Turns out they were a featured act on one of the shows in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s. It only enchanted my nostalgic love for these songs.
The Moody Blues Now vs. The Moody Blues Rank In 2007
This was a bit more difficult than many other artists. I could see why I liked The Moody Blues in ‘07 but can’t imagine them being ranked over Elton John, Queen, and Simon and Garfunkel. It’s odd to think I liked them over these ‘for sure’ acts. Luckily, the numbers make the decision now.
Check out where they rank on my current list.
The Moody Blues Metrics
By The Numbers
- Qualified Songs: 157
- Greatest Hits: 10
- Four Star: 62
- Three Star: 81
- Two Star: 3
- One Star: 1
The Moody Blues had a pretty deep catalog of songs. There were some classics on early albums and also a few on the later albums.
A Deep Dive Into the Current Score
The Moody Blues had a very different style on their first album. Turns out they mixed up the band and Days of Future Passed should be considered the debut album of what we knew as The Moody Blues. This set the ton and there were some good hits throughout the next several albums. Luckily for them, I disqualify all spoken word ‘songs’, so the poems and random one-minute prophecies didn’t hurt their overall score.
The Moody Blues produced a lot of okay songs (three stars) but landed a few greats and good songs on each album. The holiday album December was eliminated because of my Holiday Albums rule*. I can see why they scored better than Boston, but also understand why ELO outscored them significantly.
*Holiday albums don’t qualify for scoring.
The Moody Blues Podcasts for Reference
A to Z of Psychedelia on 6 Music – This quick little podcast produced by the BBC centered on The Moody Blues and The Magical Mystery Tour (The Beatles). It was a fun little listen, but too short to really get anything viable from The Moody Blues portion.
Discord & Rhyme – I really enjoyed this podcast. A group of music lovers sat around and talked about On the Threshold of a Dream. This was their second episode – as far as I could tell – and I was into it. It was obvious they all loved The Moody Blues and their different takes on the songs made it a great listen. I truly appreciated the album even more after listening. Goal achieved.
Prog Notes – This podcast also focused on a classic album – Days of Future Passed. This was their initial episode but they did a good job carrying the listener through the album. I loved the album anyway, so it was fun to listen to their perspective and notes.
Ken Dashow’s Beatles Revolution – Yes, you would think a podcast that seems to be centered on The Beatles shouldn’t be included here. Well, I found two episodes that talk with artists from The Moody Blues. These episodes were enjoyable and great to hear from the artists perspective.
The Moody Blues Videos for Reference
The Moody Blues Documentary – (YouTube) I am not sure when this came out or even what channel, but they went deep into the career of The Moody Blues. It was over two hours long and talked about nearly everything. At times, I thought they went a little too deep (took me about four viewings to finish), but a great stop to learn about the band.
The Battle of The Moody Blues Albums
No surprises here. If Days of Future Passed wasn’t #1 I would have thought my formula was broken. One thing that does hurt albums in the scoring is poems and spoken word songs. I pulled them from the overall scoring of an artist, but these ‘songs’ are included in the album rank. You can see how that tanks On the Threshold of a Dream and In Search of the Lost Chord. More singing and less talking, please.
|Days of Future Passed||400.00%|
|A Question of Balance||120.00%|
|Sur la mer||111.11%|
|Every Good Boy Deserves Favour||75.00%|
|The Other Side of Life||75.00%|
|In Search of the Lost Chord||72.73%|
|Long Distance Voyager||55.56%|
|On the Threshold of a Dream||38.46%|
|Keys of the Kingdom||36.36%|
|The Magnificent Moodies||16.67%|
|To Our Children’s Children’s Children||8.33%|
The Greatest Hit from The Moody Blues
The Moody Blues generated ten five star songs. These songs are uniquely different. I give two songs first round byes and then finish up with a three-way battle in the championship.
Previous Greatest Hit
Well, this is embarrassing. Thanks to old Limewire and other various user-generated download machines, this song was attributed to The Moody Blues and not until just now did I learn it was just Justin Hayward’s song. I guess you can cut me some slack since the song was released in 1978 (six-years before I was born).
“The Night: Nights in White Satin”
This was a bit of a battle and really close call. Defeating out “The Afternoon” and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”, “The Night” deserves its spot as #1. The difference between “The Night” and “The Afternoon” really comes down to how the album was cut. “The Night” really comes down to be one song and a little poem (the best one). “The Afternoon” is a combo song with “Tuesday” and “Time to Get Away”. I love “Tuesday Afternoon”, but “Time to Get Away” might be a four star song as a standalone.
The Moody Blues continue to be an odd band for me to rank. I think the algorithm did the band right. They will never be my favorite, but they will never sink too far in the ranks. I enjoyed learning about this group through podcasts and videos and I have a better appreciation for the group after this process.
July 8, 2019
“Vintage Wine” is a song that I am torn. I can see it being a three (on normal days I would probably skip), but I also want it on my playlists in the future. Tough call.