Lunch Break: The Moody Blues, “Gypsy”

We all have our likes and loves here in Remnantland.

Peter certainly has the widest palate of taste and experimentation, with Steve sticking to a core sort of set of criteria that constitute rock’n’roll, while Gene, steeped in his working class New York roots, is drawn to the arty side of music Peter, but his soul pushes more from the influence of doo wop through the Ramones, via Johnny Thunders.

I think essentially it is all good stuff.

As for me, I am drawn to the pop sensibilities, and for me, the wit of the British tongue, merged with American rhythm and blues, is what I love or gravitate to most, but I dig Beethoven and Roland Kirk, as well.

But, one of things I had been trying to do here is remember to highlight bands and artists who we tend to forget about, hence, the Moody Blues, who were, along with the Who and the Kinks, my favorite band back in 1967-69.

Before Pink Floyd, before Rush, before Yes, and before Spiritualized, there was the Moody Blues, the first real prog rock band.

The Moodys first hit in 1966 with a hit, Go Now, that featured Denny Laine (later of Wings) on vocals, in 1965, but after that tune, Laine left the band and re-emerged with John Lodge and Justin Hayward as their principles.

In 1967–the year of Sgt. Pepper–and the group produced the Days of Future Passed, a concept album that featured the beautiful cuts Tuesday Afternoon and Nights in White Satin at a time when Pink Floyd was still seeing Emily play (a song I love).

The jump in concept and realization between Go Now and Tuesday Afternoon is kind of like the leap between Radiohead’s Creep as compared to Airbag.

Featuring the flute of Ray Thomas, and the unusual and haunting mellotron keyboard of Mike Pinder, Days of Future Passed was an attempt by the band to deconstruct Dvorak’s Symphony for the New World and on the liner notes of the groups follow-up, In Search of the Lost Chord, producer Tony Clarke regarded the band as the “worlds smallest symphony orchestra.”

This all might sound hoity toity snotty, and as having nothing to do with rock’n’roll in the Moyer sense, but this was the throes of the psychadelic era and I was a 15-year old new stoner and both Days and In Search were always on the changer (as were Tommy and Blonde on Blonde) and I still am knocked out by the band’s Legend of a Mind song.

Sadly, I saw a reunion performance of the band at Red Rocks 20-years or so ago, and it was embarrassing to watch, but, I still have to acknowledge that Moody’s played a pivotal part of my life for a few years back there.

In fact, I was into the Moodys before they made it, and started losing interest in the band with their next album, On the Threshold of a Dream, and by the time To Our Children’s Children’s Children came out the band had become a favorite of those ubiquitous average Joes, and that was the last album I bought by the band, turning instead to Atom Heart Mother.

Irrespective, the song Gypsy from Children’s remains one of my favorite songs of the group.

One thought on “Lunch Break: The Moody Blues, “Gypsy”

  1. Well, I gotta admit I’ve owned some Moody Blues. When I was about 10 I bought the 45 of this, their follow up to Go Now, and a most unusual pop hit. I listened to it over and over:

    Lawr, you’re right about what I like and how I like it but actually I grew up listening to a wide variety of really “good” music, my mother’s opera and classical and especially my father’s jazz, which he was devoted to and indeed he edited the 4-volume Encyclopedia of Jazz. Plus my mom dragged me all over New York to hear concerts. We never missed the Vienna Boys Choir. My mother thinks Days of Future Past is “pleasant.”

    I don’t know where the Mooodies got their melodies, they seem so familiar, but they had some good ones:

    A lot of their stuff would sound great all punked up.

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