The Moody Blues were created by Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder, the core members of El Riot & the Rebels –one of the best-known bands in the English Midlands in the early Sixties. They recruited guitarist/vocalist Denny Laine, drummer Graeme Edge, and Clint Warwick to play bass. The five appeared as the Moody Blues for the first time in Birmingham in May, 1964. The band’s name was created as part of a promotional tie-in with the M&B Brewery.
Within six months, the Moody Blues had a contract with England’s Decca Records. Their first single, “Steal Your Heart Away,” didn’t reach the British charts. But it was their second single, “Go Now,” released in late 1964, which really launched their career. “Go Now” turned out to be the group’s first and only #1 record and reached #10 in the United States. In the wake of its success, the Moody Blues set out on a US tour, opening for the Kinks.
Back in Britain, Decca Records was trying to market a technology known as “Deramic Stereo,” a very high quality recording process. The record label was looking for musicians to create a showcase album, combining rock and classical music. The Moody Blues, who owed the label advances and recording session fees from their various failed releases, were picked for the proposed project, which was to be a rock version of Dvorák’s New World Symphony. The band was unable to deliver and proposed, instead, using some of its own music representing a conceptual day, from morning to night. The resulting album, Days of Future Passed, remained on the Billboard charts for more than two years and is considered one of the very first concept albums. It also produced two best-selling singles, “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon.”
The Moody Blues’ 1968 follow-up, In Search Of The Lost Chord, was equally successful, pioneering the use of the mellotron in pop music. But by the time it released To Our Children’s Children’s Children, in 1969, the band realized it could never recreate its lushly produced studio albums in a concert setting. So beginning with A Question of Balance, released on 1970, the group recorded only songs they could re-create live. They were able to do most of that album and their next record, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, on-stage, with impressive results.
In late 1972, a re-issue of the five-year-old “Nights In White Satin” became the Moody Blues’ biggest US hit, reaching #2. The song also returned to the UK charts, reaching #9, ten places higher than its original release in 1967.
In the spring of 1974, after completing a tour of Asia, the Moody Blues decided to take a break — a hiatus that lasted more than three years. In 1977, however, the group members had made the decision to record a new album, a process complicated by the fact that Pinder had moved to California. Although all five participated in the resulting album, Octave (1978), there were tensions during the recording sessions, and Pinder was ultimately unhappy enough with the LP to decline to tour with the band. The reunion tour was a success however, with Patrick Moraz brought in to replace Pinder on the keyboards, and the album topped the charts.
By the end of the Eighties, The Moody Blues were seen as a nostalgia act, albeit one with a huge audience — something like the Grateful Dead, but without the critical respect. By that time, Moraz was gone and the core group was reduced to four, with two freelance keyboard players filling in. They had also begun attracting tens of thousands of thousands of fans to a new series of concerts, in which they performed with orchestras, allowing them to perform their most elaborately produced recordings live. Ray Thomas left the band in 2003, and the Moody Blues carried on as a core trio of Hayward, Lodge, and Edge.
Where Are They Now?
Justin Hayward continues to play guitar for the Moody Blues. In early 2013, Hayward released a solo album “Spirits of the Western Sky,” on the Eagle Rock label. Hayward and John Lodge made it clear they have no plans to stop working. In the mid-2000s Lodge took part in the opening of Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, SC and the unveiling of the “Nights in White Satin” ride. In early 2015, Lodge announced the release of a new solo album, “10,000 Light Years Ago.” The album reunited Lodge with former Moody Blues’ members Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas. In addition to his band duties, Graeme Edge, plays golf on Florida’s Gulf Coast where he lives.
Mike Pinder worked for the Atari computer company. He lives in California and is involved in the musical careers of his three sons.
Ray Thomas released a box set of his two solo albums with a new song in 2010. He recorded a flute solo for Moody Bluegrass II in 2011. And in 2012, Thomas recorded a flute solo for the just released Italian progressive rock opera La Belle e La Bestia, by the Italian band Syndone.
Patrick Moraz lives on Florida’s west coast.
Denny Laine joined Paul McCartney’s band Wings in the early Seventies. He toured the U.S. with his own band in 2014.
Moody Blues Videos
“Go Now” performed live on the British version of Hullabaloo, 1965
“Nights in White Satin,” live performance on French television, 1968
Moody Blues Discography
The Magnificent Moodies
* Release Date: 22 July 1965
* Chart Positions: UK -, US –
* Singles: “Go Now”
Days of Future Passed
* Release Date: 10 November 1967
* Chart Positions: UK #27, US #3
* Singles: “Nights in White Satin”, “Tuesday Afternoon”
In Search of the Lost Chord
* Release Date: 26 July 1968
* Chart Positions: UK #5, US #23
* Singles: “Voices in the Sky”, “Ride My See-Saw”
On the Threshold of a Dream
* Release Date: 25 April 1969
* Chart Positions: UK #1, US #20
* Singles: “Never Comes the Day”
To Our Children’s Children’s Children
* Release Date: 21 November 1969
* Chart Positions: UK #2, US #14
* Singles: “Watching and Waiting”
A Question of Balance
* Release Date: 7 August 1970
* Chart Positions: UK #1, US #3
* Singles: “Question”
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour
* Release Date: 23 July 1971
* Chart Positions: UK #1, US #2
* Singles: “The Story In Your Eyes”
* Release Date: 17 November 1972
* Chart Positions: UK #5, US #1
* Singles: “Isn’t Life Strange”, “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)”
* Release Date: 9 June 1978
* Chart Positions: UK #7, US #13
* Singles: “Steppin’ In a Slide Zone”, “Driftwood”
Long Distance Voyager
* Release Date: May 15, 1981
* Chart Positions: UK #6, US #1
* Singles: “Gemini Dream”, “The Voice”, “Talking Out of Turn”
* Release Date: August 28, 1983
* Chart Positions: UK – #15, US #43
* Singles: “Blue World”, “Sitting at the Wheel”, “Running Water”
The Other Side of Life
* Release Date: May, 1986
* Chart Positions: UK – #24, US #9
* Singles: “Your Wildest Dreams”, “The Other Side of Life”
Sur la Mer
* Release Date: June 1, 1988
* Chart Positions: UK – #21, US #38
* Singles: “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”, “No More Lies”
Keys of the Kingdom
* Release Date: June 25, 1991
* Chart Positions: UK – #54, US – 94
* Singles: “Say It With Love”, “Bless the Wings”
* Release Date: August 17, 1999
* Chart Positions: UK #7, US – 93
* Singles: “English Sunset”
* Release Date: October 28, 2003
* Chart Positions: UK -, US –
* Singles: “December Snow” –