Days of Future Passed – The Moody Blues

The MARK’S VINTAGE VINYL page features something from Mark’s collection of recordings from over the years. Most of it is on vinyl – hence the name – though there will be a few entries from his CDs (remember those?).

Days of Future Passed, by The Moody Blues

  • Second studio album and first concept album released by The Moody Blues, in 1967.
  • The album is considered one of the first progressive rock albums ever. It was unique in the use of an orchestra (The London Festival Orchestra), providing an artistic feel and a “big-ness” to the rock album.
  • The London Festival Orchestra was actually the “house orchestra” for Decca Records, available to provide orchestra pieces whenever Decca needed it for their artists. By 1980, it spun off to become an independent orchestra.
  • While the album was released in the UK in 1967, and in the U.S. in 1968, it did not sell well, though one single – Tuesday Afternoon, made it to #24 on the Hot 100 chart. When the album was re-released in 1972, it sold much better, reaching #3 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The hit single Nights In White Satin peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972.
  • I was fascinated by Nights In White Satin. The idea of incorporating an orchestra into rock music was cool, especially since in the early 70s I was developing an interest in classical music at the same time as popular music. The album version, at 7½ minutes, was much longer than the radio version. It included a spoken poem, called Late Lament, near the six minute mark, with the orchestra setting the mood brilliantly. I thought this to be over-the-top artsy!
  • Here’s a very good version of Nights In White Satin, with full orchestra. The poem is not in this version though – I couldn’t find a live performance that included it. RIP Ray Thomas, flautist and founding member, who passed away in January 2018, just a few months before he was to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the band. His flute solo in the song is regarded as a defining moment in early prog rock.

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