ARTIST: The Moody Blues
TITLE: Days of Future Passed
YEAR RELEASED: 1967
CHART ACTION: #3 US, #27 UK
SINGLES: Nights in White Satin (#103 US, #19 UK originally, #2 US, #9 UK on 1972 release), Tuesday Afternoon (#24 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not really, but you could surprise me
LINEUP: Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas, Graeme Edge
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A last chance record, aimed to help Decca incorporate stereo in pop music by demonstrating its classical stereo technique, turns into a defining record for the 60’s.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Moody Blues changed personnel, and released a few singles with their new group to no notice. They had one last chance with Decca – make a record demonstrating their classical music “Deramic Sound” for their Deram imprint.
The group had worked up a song cycle about the day and night of an everyman, and it was this cycle that they recorded and allowed Peter Knight and his orchestra to add the classical pieces. Graeme Edge wrote two poems to begin and end the cycle (recited by Mike Pinder) and the album was complete and released. Surprisingly, it took off on FM radio in the States and became a constant seller even with the original single not doing that well.
As important as the album is (the first real progressive rock album many say), as a piece, it seems both short and bloated. The orchestral pieces fluff out the songs, sometimes to the detriment of the actual songs themselves. (Some would say the orchestral pieces are mainly fluff themselves). Meanwhile, there are only eight tracks of songs (many are combined into suites on side two) and at times those are shortchanged. Yet the quality of many of the tracks is high, especially “Forever Afternoon (Tuesday)” (listed as “Tuesday Afternoon” on the single), “(Evening) Time to Get Away”, and “Twilight Time”.
The band left their beat group roots behind (only “Lunch Break: Peak Hour” has any traces of their past), and became a leader in the progressive / psychedelic genre. This is an album to have for what it is, though as a record it’s overrated a tad.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: By 1972, when they wanted to re-release “Nights in White Satin”, it was found the masters for the record were in bad shape, so they remixed the album for use (altering it a bit) and only could restore the original mix in 2017 (by recording a pristine copy of the LP digitially).
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, several. One has the singles that the new version of the group recorded before this album released. They weren’t hits for a good reason.
GRADE B+: Fluffy strings, poems, and some pretension somewhat mar a decent cycle of songs.