photo credit – Decca Records
Last week, “The Moody Blues, Days Of Future Passed – Live” was released. The CD was compiled from performances of their 2017 tour which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the album’s release.
The occasion bore reflection, I have vivid memories of the most famous track, “Nights In White Satin.” The song was a staple on AM and FM radio in the 70’s. These radio bands were how we got our music in the pre-alexa, pre-download era. We also hurried to music and department stores for LP albums, cassettes and imperfect 8 track tapes. Some songs were split in half on the 8 track tape due to limitations of the technology.
“Nights In White Satin” made the top 5 songs in every 100 song countdown. These countdowns usually occurred on summer holiday weekends to keep us near the radio.
I discovered the album in college and was hooked. It was a concept album, each song was tied to a central theme. The Moody Blues would produce a number of remarkable albums between 1967 and 1981 exploring concepts like love, journeys and immortality.
“Days Of Future Passed” spans a day, and life, of an average person. The album opens with an overture followed by a poem which closes with a command –
“The Morning” is exuberance, optimism and innocent, childlike joy.
“Time seems to stand quite still,
in a child’s world it always will.”
The afternoon is at first, fraught with energy, at “Peak Hour -”
“Minds are subject to what should be done
problem solved, time cannot be won.”
The tone turns wistful, dreamy and hopeful with “Tuesday Afternoon –“
“The trees are drawing me near
I’ve got to find out why.
Those gentle voices I hear
explain it all with a sigh.”
“The Sunset” brings a shift to somber reflection –
“I can see it all
from this great height.
I can feel the sun
slipping out of sight;
And the world still goes on
through the night.”
“Evening” moves the tone to weariness, frustration –
“Working, living it brings
only way to have those things.
toiling has brought too many tears
turn round all those past years.”
“Twilight Time” paints a vivid picture of a world preparing to slumber –
“Twilight Time to dream awhile
in veils of deepening blue.
as fantasy strides over colorful skies
of form disappearing from view.”
The night, “Nights In White Satin” concludes with regret and emotional turmoil, an intense expression of remorse and melancholy.
“Beauty I’d always missed
with these eyes before.
just what the truth is
I can’t say anymore.”
The closing poem, “Late Lament,” completes the theme and amplifies the sorrow.
“Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
removes the color from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white,
but we decide which is right.”
The album has stood the test of time, it’s as relevant today as it was in 1967.
I attended one of their shows last July, we were blessed with an extended downpour just as intermission hit, one risk of an outdoor concert. Hearing the entire album live, with some degree of variation, was refreshing. The band were in fine form, this is captured on the new CD.
I recommend spending some time with the original album, it’s thought provoking, enlightening and a unique musical experience. It’s been part of the soundtrack of my life, and many others, for good reason.