The Moody Blues
Days of Future Passed
by David Chiu
(Photo of the Moody Blues by By Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989, via Wikimedia Commons)
The Moody Blues started out in 1964 as a British R&B group and had one big hit in “Go Now,” but subsequent success became hard to come by. With a crucial personnel change that resulted in the addition of Justin Hayward and John Lodge, as well as the use of the Mellotron, the Moodies transformed themselves into a progressive/art rock band with 1967’s Days of Future Passed album, one of rock’s first and finest concept records. With musical accompaniment by the London Festival Orchestra, the album thematically explored the course of a single day from dawn to night (the record company’s original idea was for the band to tackle Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony). The mood of each track varies from the eloquent and romantic “Dawn Is a Feeling”; to the whimsical “Another Morning”; to the hard-rocking “Peak Hour”; and to the exotic and Middle Eastern-influenced “The Sunset.” But Days of Future Passed‘s biggest and enduring hits continue to be performed this day: the ethereal “Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)” and the immortal “Nights in White Satin,” the definitive Moody Blues song from what remains the band’s definitive album. This reissue celebrating Days of Future Passed‘s 50th anniversary contains the original and restored 1967 stereo mix that had been previously unreleased in CD–a damage in the original stereo mix resulted in a 1972 stereo version of the record that has been used in subsequent pressings. A keen ear could probably detect some subtle differences between the two versions. In addition, the reissue features bonus tracks from the period, including alternate versions of Days‘ songs and the non-album singles “Fly Me High” and “Love and Beauty” and their respective B-sides—compared to the music on Days of Future Passed, those songs and others sound rather like conventional pop without the progressive rock trappings heard on the album but nevertheless fascinating. Also on the reissue are the band’s appearances for the BBC Radio including performances from some of the tracks off of Days as well as a cover of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” A huge breakthrough at the time, Days of Future Passed changed the fortunes for the Moody Blues forever and helped define their sound for the rest of their long career.