It’s been 50 years since The Moody Blues released their Days of Future Passed album. The single from that album which topped charts in 1968 was “Nights in White Satin”. The album was the first which combined orchestral music with rock; giving birth to a new rock genre: symphonic rock. It was also the original rock & roll concept album, and it ushered in a new era. Though many fans of The Beatles were quick to give the symphonic rock Sgt. Pepper album the bragging rights because it became public just months earlier, The Moody Blues created albums with central themes unifying their tracks; Sgt. Pepper did not.
Case in point, The Beatles became aware of the Melltron because Moody Blues founding member Mike Pinder introduced it to them. He had pioneered the orchestral imitating keyboard with The Moody Blues so that they could perform their symphonic rock music live on stage. The Moody Blues and The Beatles had been touring together, and sharing the instrument’s capabilities was a natural thing to do. When The Beatles released their classic “Strawberry Fields Forever”, the Mellotron was featured.
Fast forward to 2018, and another first is here for The Moody Blues. Their autobiography has just been published by Jacobs/Brown Press. It’s titled Long Distance Voyagers: The Story of the Moody Blues. It was released to coincide with their January 2018 tour of America, and of course, give a huge nod to the 50th Anniversary of the album which created innovation in rock that significantly changed the course of future rock.
Marc Cushman is the author of this first-ever biography of the Moody Blues. Cushman may be best known for his work These Are the Voyages — Star Trek; The Original Series. He received a 2014 Saturn award for his series of three books. Now, he’s created a two-volume, extensive and inclusive work celebrating this significant 50th anniversary. Cushman spent an entire year creating the two volumes. Volume 1 is about the band’s history and work throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Volume 2 is about the Moody Blues from the 1980s and moving forward. There are plenty of new interviews and hundreds of photographs featured. Founding members Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas contributed these interviews.
Cushman noted that the untimely death of Ray Thomas on January 4, 2018 saddened him. Thomas was just 76 years old. Cushing described the gifted flute performances Thomas brought to the Moody Blues’ repertoire; another first in the world of rock bands. Throughout the decades, the Moody Blues influenced those who would follow. Cushman included Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, and the Electric Light Orchestra as rock bands who had positive influences from the musical innovations brought to rock by the Moody Blues.
The Moody Blues 2018 Days of Future Passes 50th Anniversary Tour will conclude at Wynn Las Vegas on January 26, 27, 30 and 31. They celebrated this tour with a PBS special about it which was aired on PBS last December 2017. Jeremy Irons provided the narration, and the performance was taped in Toronto at the Sony Centre. The band performed the complete LP live.
The Moody Blues are scheduled to be inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in April 2018. Current and former band members will be inducted. Justin Hayward, lead guitar and vocalist, mentioned that he felt privileged to be part of the same building; honored with his heroes the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly, and “at last” Nina Simone, who he called his heroine.