Certainly not the first band to make use of the Mellotron, they were one of the first to take it with them on the road which, as anyone who has worked with those rather temperamental instruments will tell you, it was risky at best.
But The Moody Blues were making the transition from Beat Group, who rose to fame with a cover of Bessie Banks haunting Go Now, to now getting ready to make musical history with Classical Rock, the precursor to Prog-Rock and a less gritty version of what Procol Harum were doing around the same time. Days Of Future Passed was The Moodies magnum opus – in addition to making massive use of the Mellotron, many of the songs from that album were lavished the strings and heady concoctions of sonic splendor. At the time it was new, and the audience gravitated to it as the perfect music to get stoned to. And with such anthems as Nights In White Satin getting played, almost constantly on Top-40 (as well as the newly discovered FM), The Moody Blues were poised to become the spokesmen for all things Technicolor and wrapped in sound.
This set of sessions, two actually – one from April of 1967 and the other from November of 1967 catches The Moodies in the middle of their Days Of Future Pass phase – it would stay with them for quite a while, long enough to be parodied and made fun of. But at the time it was new and gorgeous and people were falling over their speakers, in love with the luxuriant sounds coming from Messrs. Pinder, Hayward, Lodge and Edge.It was, after all, the Summer of Love.
So this session lands us right in the middle of the mania – recorded by BBC Radio 1 for use on their Top Of The Pops series, it features a nod to the old material (Don’t let Me Be Misunderstood) and a head-first plunge into the new stuff (Peak Hour).
All in all, a good set of tunes from a band who were highly influential at the time and who signaled yet another direction shift in Pop Music.
Crank it up, as always (have I ever asked you to play something quietly?).
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