The MOODY BLUES – TO OUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN’S CHILDREN – November 21, 1969
Before I begin I want to say that this is one of the absolute best lyrically written and sung, musically composed and performed albums of all time – it is a true gem among gems, an exquisite album that has so much beauty, feeling and transcendent power that it is in a category all its own.
And while any group alive would love to have this kind of an accolade; it only contributes to why the Moody Blues have always been an enigma within the World of Rock.
They were easily one of the most creative and masterful groups of the ’60s and ’70s, yet for some reason, even though wildly and worldly popular they never seemed to fit in with the Rock zeitgeist. Now some of this is obvious and for many that’s what made the Moodys so great; their unique sound and approach, and I guess we could end this right now by agreeing to that obvious fact.
But I think that it is something more.
When the Moody Blues single “Go Now” was first heard by 00individual, I loved it immediately; it had a unique sound that was “moody” and I felt a symbiotic emotion. Plenty of those early British Invasion groups had songs with that quality; Chad and Jeremy and Peter and Gordon certainly had it, Jonathan King’s “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon” was a perfect example and many other groups and songs touched on it also.
So when I first heard “Nights in White Satin” from the album, not the popularized single years later, I felt that same feeling, even though the band members had changed the feeling was still there. From that moment on I had a very fond connection with this band. “In Search of a Lost Chord” and “On a Threshold of a Dream” became instant favorites that were played over and over again, but with “To Our Children’s Children’s Children” something happened. It may have been a synchronistic event of where my head was at when this album was released, but if so, it has stayed locked-in to this day.
The Moody’s concepts have always dealt with feelings of spiritual and psychedelic themes; they opened a door to awareness that was set to irresistible music and lyrics.
And herein lies what I believe to be at he heart of the issue – even though they had the Spirit of Rock they also had the Spirit of Pop and were suspended so perfectly between the two that they didn’t solidly fall into either genre. Many feel that the Moodys were early originators of the Prog genre with their lush orchestrations and “symphonic” stylings, but again they never strongly fell into that category either. And to complicate the issue even more, some of the compositions bordered on electrified folk-rock, which of course was not their genre either.
When we look at any art movement within history most of the illuminaries became classified within their respective movement and will forever be associated with it. Very few, if any, could stand alone in their own genre successfully as others followed suit. With the Moody Blues no group followed them. Sure, arguments can be made, but at the end of those arguments you’ll find that those “candidates’ fall much easier into other well-defined categories. And so we’re left with the enigma that is the Moody Blues; consummate artists who stand alone, albeit with their legion of fans, but still in isolation within the zeitgeist in which they rose to success and popularity.
Strangely, I find that I need to be in a somewhat joyous melancholy state where I can fully appreciate the “Mood”y Blues music and I’m not sure why that is. I think that many other fans of the Moody Blues may feel the same way as it partially explains why they never “became” the titans that they are. Their music is special and therefore requires a dedicated mind-frame. I won’t argue their popularity which filled stadiums and exists still to this day, I’m referring to the deeper level of appreciation that I know was lost, or could not be obtained, by many. And that could be in part due to the conceptual nature of their albums that limited the broader acceptance of their single tracks. All of this brings us back full circle to the definition of the word, “enigma”: something hard to understand or explain.
What I find very prescient and kinda spooky is that they must of somehow knew, in advance, how their music would sound and how it would affect listeners by naming themselves; the Moody Blues. Never has a band been so properly named.
So what it comes down to is that he Moody Blues created their own monster – a beautiful monster that offered a unique blend of Rock that bordered on Pop with Prog-laced elements and lyrics that promoted a cosmic spirituality that questioned our existence and life itself.
A genre of music that could only be fully appreciated when the listener was in the right “mood” and when the time was right to surrender to the spell.
When the time is right; take a listen to this exceptional monster and fall under its spell:
- “Higher and Higher” (Graeme Edge) – 4:07
- “Eyes of a Child I” (John Lodge) – 3:24
- “Floating” (Ray Thomas) – 3:02
- “Eyes of a Child II” (Lodge) – 1:20
- “I Never Thought I’d Live to be a Hundred” (Justin Hayward) – 1:06
- “Beyond” (Edge) – 2:59
- “Out and In” (Mike Pinder, Lodge) – 3:50
- “Gypsy (Of a Strange and Distant Time)” (Hayward) – 3:33
- “Eternity Road” (Thomas) – 4:19
- “Candle of Life” (Lodge) – 4:15
- “Sun Is Still Shining” (Pinder) – 3:40
- “I Never Thought I’d Live to be a Million (Hayward) – 0:34
- “Watching and Waiting” (Hayward, Thomas) – 4:16
I think that I can sum this up by example; other than “Nights in White Satin”, “Tuesday Afternoon”, “the Question” and “Ride My See-saw”, where are all of their other songs? Is that all there is to the Moody Blues? Certainly not, but for all intents and purposes that’s all they’ll be remembered for. That is a true shame and that is why they are an enigma. But for all of us who bought their LPs and listened to them over and over again, nothing was lost on us, we all gained – and some of us may have even had our consciousness raised – and once your consciousness is raised it can not be lowered. And we can thank the music and lyrics of the Moody Blues for that gift of awareness.
I was fortunate to see the Moody Blues live at the Fabulous Forum 12/12/70!