Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The #29 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era--"Days of Future Passed" by the Moody Blues

Each day, Inside the Rock Era is featuring and discussing one album of the Top 100 Albums of All-Time in the Rock Era*.  These are not my choices, but I will release my personal favorites at the conclusion of the list.  I will also post rankings of the Top 100 Albums* by Track Rating* and by sales.  Each of those lists will have different rankings but should help you make informed buying decisions.

Hard to believe we're already up to #29.  In the 60's, it was said that The British group the Moody Blues were "ahead of their time" for they produced a sound unlike any that had been heard before.  I always thought they named their group perfectly, and I say that because the Moodies offer that rare combination of being able to "rock out" while also composing come of the most beautiful ballads that have ever been recorded.  They released several outstanding albums, some of which (On the Threshold of a Dream, Seventh Sojourn) were strong contenders for this summer list. 

Alas, this is the only Moody Blues album to make the elite list, which should speak volumes about how good the Top 100* are.  The album reached #3 among some tough competition, which again is very important in analyzing chart strength.  The album continued to sell for over two years as it stayed among the best-sellers on the album chart for 106 weeks.  The album was certified gold and has an outstanding Track Record* of 9.63.  This means it can be tracked through (in fact, it was meant to, being a true concept album) without skipping a song. 

The Moodies started out with a good group in 1964, but when Justin Hayward and John Lodge joined prior to Days of Future Passed, they had everything in place to be a supergroup.  Their expertise and influence showed immediately on this album and for years to come.  The utilization of the London Festival Orchestra on the album was a coup and gave this album a sound that had never been achieved before in the Rock Era.  The concept is of everyman's day, beginning in the morning, mid-morning, the afternoon, stretching into twilight, the evening and finally the nighttime.  Two of the greatest songs of the Rock Era, "Tuesday Afternoon" and "Nights in White Satin" were released as singles, although the latter became a hit in 1972, five years after the album's release. 

Often in this feature I have pointed out that most of these 100 albums are far more than a collection of hit records, some more so than others.  Nowhere is there a better example than this one.  Most people who are familiar with the album would classify every track as "excellent".  Even though the two songs mentioned above were monster hits the album, especially with the conversion to CD, sounds essentially like one long song when the album is played in its entirety.  It no doubt set an example for others to follow to this day and was influential in the formation of progressive rock bands.  The album was remixed in 1987 and it is that remix you hear on the CD; the original master was deteriorated--hence the need for the remix.

Days of Future Passed:
Side one
1.  The Day Begins
         "The Day Begins" (Peter Knight & the Moody Blues) --4:08
         "Morning Glory" (Graeme Edge) --1:42

2.  Dawn
          (Intro) Peter Knight (:38)
          "Dawn is a Feeling" (Mike Pinder) --3:10

3.  The Morning
            (Intro) Peter Knight (:21)
            "Another Morning" (Ray Thomas) --3:34

4.  Lunch Break
            "Lunch Break" (Peter Knight) --1:53
            "Peak Hour" (John Lodge) --3:40

Side two
5.  The Afternoon
             "Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)" Justin Hayward (5:06)
             "(Evening) Time to Get Away" (Lodge) --3:17

6.  Evening
              (Intro) Peter Knight (:38)
              "The Sunset" (Pinder) --2:38
              "Twilight Time" (Thomas) --3:23

7.  The Night
              "Nights in White Satin" (Hayward) --5:38
              "Late Lament" (Edge) --1:46

The lineup for Days of Future Passed was:  Justin Hayward on acoustic and electric guitars, piano, keyboards and vocals, John Lodge on bass and electric guitars and vocals, Mike Pinder on keyboards, piano, mellotron and vocals (both sung and spoken), Ray Thomas on flutes, horns, percussion, keyboards and vocals and Graeme Edge on drums, percussion and vocals.

Peter Knight was Conductor of the London Festival Orchestra who composed parts of the tracks and the orchestral arrangements, with assistance from the Moody Blues.

Days of Future Passed was recorded from October 8-November 3, 1967 at Decca Studios in West Hampstead, London.  Tony Clarke was the producer, Derek Varnals was the Engineer and Hugh Mendl was Executive Producer who also put together the liner notes.  David Anstey did the cover painting and was in charge of the cover design.  The album was released November 11, 1967 on Deram Records.

The landmark Days of Future Passed comes in at #29--the Moody Blues.

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