The Moody Blues Core Seven Albums: Ranked from Worst to Best

Between 1967 and 1972, Birmingham’s The Moody Blues released seven studio albums, commonly referred to as the core seven. They stayed in step with the times, transitioning from richly orchestrated psychedelic pop to more stripped-down albums in the 1970s. At the same time. The Moody Blues were twee, moustachioed and played gentle music that rarely rocked. Drummer Graeme Edge wrote poetry, Justin Hayward sang like an angel, and Mike Pinder questioned the meaning of existence over a series of gorgeous and endearing albums.

Here are the Moody Blues’ core seven albums, ranked from worst to best:

#7 – Every Good Boy Deserves Favour

Despite a great Justin Hayward rocker ‘The Story In Your Eyes’, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour remains the lightest and most dispensable of the core seven. The title is taken from the acronym that piano students use to learn the treble clef lines.

#6 – In Search Of The Lost Chord


The Moody Blues went into full psychedelic mode in 1968, with lyrics about Timothy Leary and the chant of ‘Om’. They weren’t convincing acolytes of the counterculture, but songs like Hayward’s gorgeous ‘Voices in the Sky’ and Lodge’s ‘Ride My See-Saw’ are worthy additions to the Moody Blues’ canon.

#5 – A Question Of Balance

The Moody Blues’ material was becoming too complex to play live, so they stripped down their sound for their first album of the 1970s. A Question of Balance tackles topical issues of the environment and war. Justin Hayward provides the highlight with the driving, acoustic ‘Question’.

#4 – On The Threshold Of a Dream


The Moody Blues’ first album of 1969 is filled with gentle, pleasant songs, which are the group’s forte. On The Threshold Of a Dream sometimes feels slight, but it’s consistently tuneful and enjoyable with songs like Hayward’s ‘Never Comes The Day’ and the suite of Pinder songs at the end of the record.

#3 – Seventh Sojourn

The final album of The Moody Blues’ core seven was bass player John Lodge’s turn to shine. He wrote and fronted two of the most memorable songs, ‘Isn’t Life Strange’ and ‘I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)’. The group ditched the poetry and turned up Hayward’s electric guitar, making Seventh Sojourn their most approachable album.

#2 – Days Of Future Passed


After their tenure as an R&B combo petered out, The Moody Blues recalibrated their career with an album of richly orchestrated ballads. Pinder’s Mellotron colours the arrangements and the London Festival Orchestra provides link tracks. Both Pinder and orchestra are featured on Hayward’s soaring ‘Nights in White Satin’, The Moody Blues’ breakthrough hit.

#1 – To Our Children’s Children’s Children


The Moody Blues’ lush, orchestrated sound reached its apex with this concept album about ageing and space travel. All four songwriters contribute great material, and the album’s full of excellent songs like Hayward’s ‘Gypsy’ and Ray Thomas’ ‘Eternity Road’.

What’s your favourite Moody Blues album?

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  1. To our children’s children’s children – I’m not familiar with the album, but I quite like that title – and the math involved, trying to process what generation that would make me (great-grandfather I believe?!)

    • There’s a song named ‘I Never Thought I’d Live To Be a Hundred’ and a song called ‘I Never Thought I’d Live To be A Million’. It really deserves a place on the 1001 – it’s generally the fan favourite, but doesn’t make great albums of all time lists much.

  2. As you might recall, I did a piece on ‘Children’ a while back so we are in agreement there. I would probably move ‘Question’ up a little bit, ‘Future Passed’ down a little bit. The rest, I suppose, flip a coin as I haven’t heard some of them in years.

  3. My uncle played these guys relentlessly but I’d forgotten all about them… think I have a couple of LPs here. I’ll go dig them out, see what’s here, and use this post as a reference. Nice work!

  4. This post is great timing, since I’ve yet to explore The Moody Blues in greater detail. I think you’re right they are more of an acquired taste overall.

    I’ve always loved “Nights In White Satin,” which was one of the early songs I learned to play on acoustic guitar. From “Days Of Future Passed” I also dig “Tuesday Afternoon.” I also like “Go Now” from “The Magnificent Moodies.”

    Happy New Year!

    • If you like those, you’ll probably like their other cover seven stuff – they pull back the grandiosity a little from Days of Future Passed, but it’s still pretty similar.

    • It would actually be kind of cool to experiment with making an accompanying “Worst to Best” video sometime, with a clip from each album. Some of my favourites are ‘Gypsy’ from To Our Children’s Children’s Children and ‘Question’ from A Question of Balance.

  5. This is a good rundown! Blues is a severely underrated genre. If you have not noticed, I decided to make posts again. Sorry for my sudden leave, but I hope you sill find enjoyment in my reviews.

  6. That’s an accurate (and concise!) breakdown of that classic era. I only recently discovered “Children’s Children” in full as I picked up a vinyl copy on short money. A great album and one without a major hit single, so it all sounded fresh to me.

    • I think I wrote it in Sydney airport on a work trip, so I was on a schedule – could probably expand it a little sometime. Children’s Children is often a consensus favourite – it’s my favourite both sonically (it’s the peak of their lush sound) and in terms of material. Often I like Hayward and Lodge best, but everyone writes good songs on that record.

  7. To Our children’s. Children’s children
    Out and In. Eternity Road and finally the finale, watching and waiting with powerful mellostron of violines. Hovering away. Jim Kurtz. ‘70

  8. Congrats on an excellent choice. To our children’s children’s children is certainly by far their best lp and one of the top 5 rock lps of all time. The way the songs segway into each other is amazing. A great lp for laying in the dark with headphones as well.

    • Thanks for writing in! It’s often the fan choice, right? Although sometimes Days of Future Passed gets the most attention as it was the breakthrough and had the signature song (Nights in White Satin).

  9. The Moodies have been busted for being Prog, for not being Prog, for not smashing guitars on stage, not doing enough drugs, etc etc etc. They meld all the following: folk, rock, art, Prog, psych. They practically invented the Prog/Art rock scene. They mastered and perhaps invented the concept album. They made album art and gatefold a thing unto itself. All five members contributed to albums, 4 took turns singing lead and together harmonized like few if any band. They mastered and then “mainstreamed” the Mellotron —> Chamberlain. And frankly the list could go on.
    But their cardinal sin, according to the various High Priest of Rock is dopey lyrics….to some. To others they were thought provoking mind trips with or without the drugs.

    They are casually dismissed by many, most of whom have heard little of their work, and probably nothing too deep.

    I have no problem with anyone not liking the Moodies or any band. It’s sad when they are unfairly judged. If nothing else, they are clearly one of the most genre bending, influential band of the past 60 years. They are anything but light weights.

    The most important aspect of the Moodies is that over a span of 6 years they created 7 albums that together represent a burst of creativity that has perhaps never been recreated. People talk about “formulas”. BS. Days was an album unlike anything before or after. Lost Chord has nothing to do with Days. Seventh Sojourn has nothing in common with any of the previous six, etc.
    By 1972 the Moodies were the best and biggest band in the world. Seventh Sojourn was the #1 album, but two others were in the top 10. Huge worldwide tours.
    Then at the very top….they stopped for six years. They were burned out and rather than maximize their value they walked away. Only to return in 78 with a more modern sound. By 81 they had another #1 album. They released their last real studio album in 1999. It closed a 30+ year journey with their best album since…Seventh Sojourn.
    Ranking the Core 7:
    Seventh Sojourn
    Threshold of a Dream
    Days of Future Passed (but most important)
    Every Good Boy
    In Search of the Lost Chord
    Question of Balance (a killer album, but one has to finish last).

  10. In high school,1972, I bought Seventh Sojourn. With time it changed the way I listened to music.

    Seventh taught me to listen to albums rather than a collection of songs. In college the great albums became fewer and fewer. I Lost interest in some of the bigger bands because they could mix crap with a few serious efforts and still be critically fowned over. But, as I explored the core seven I was blown away by the dedication to the whole album – Each album was complete. No filler. No interruptions.

    By the 2000s I found little new music to be interesting. I began to revisit previous decades and some great music. Then i revisited the Moodies. I was blown away by the creative explosion of those seven albums. In all the great music I explored, I heard nothing even remotely as creative or consistently excellent as the Moodies Core Seven albums.

    At the same time I witnessed some off the charts mean spirited reviews of the Moodies. There literally seemed to be an agenda to write a new history about the Moody Blues – a band of mediocre talent, selling a cheap-brand-of-nothingness-packaged-to-fool-an-unsuspecting-public.

    Nights became pap and sap. Tuesday Afternoon a simple little, non creative tone. The classical music became bomblast. Then it was all cheap formula. Then it was all fake (how can anyone belittle Legend of a Mind?) . Any music that the critics couldn’t destroy, they mostly just brushed off. Rolling Stone had the biggest agenda.

    I’m a big fan. But mostly I just really appreciate six years and seven albums of absolute brilliance that most people have not spent much time with. For many people all they will know is the bite of a few critics that almost became an unchangable reputation. But I’m finding that folks are starting to revisit the core seven, and it’s the over the top critics that are now being critiqued.

    Whatever the order, the core seven represent a rare six year period of creativity and overall excellent. And it’s okay to not like the poetry ;).

  11. Top Moody Blues songs

    Go Now
    Ride my seesaw
    Lovely to see you
    Nights in White Satin
    Story in your eyes
    Isn’t life strange
    I’m just a singer in a rock and roll band
    Have you heard
    Voices in the sky
    Tuesday afternoon

  12. I agree with you EGBDF is by far their worst core 7 album. But I think I would put Days of Future Passed and Seventh Sojourn 1 and 2. There isn’t a bad track on either one. And I think I might move Question of Balance up in the list. Besides “Question”, there are some really great sounds like “It’s Up To You”, which I think is their most underrated song, and Pinder’s masterpiece “Melancholy Man”. But you can’t wrong with any of them. That’s why they are the greatest band ever

  13. I’d put ‘On The Threshold Of A Dream’ number one, by far. The Pinder songs at the end are the best thing the Moodies ever recorded, in my opinion.

      • This is a bit off topic of the core seven, for those interested l ….
        I consider Seventh to be the greatest Moodies album and one of the two best albums ever (along with parsley sage rosemary and thyme by Simon & Garfunkel; at one time I had a top three to include Dark side of The Moon but I don’t think it has aged well at all whereas both Seventh and PSR&T seem better today then ever).

        The last real studio album by the Moodies is little known – Strange Times. I’m not the only person who’s said this is their best album since the core seven. It is excellent with maybe one song that keeps it from being truly great. But it is really good. Ray Thomas has his last recordings here. There is a lot of “last album” feel to it even though nothing has even been announced regarding their “future”. There are neat references to the past.

        The last song On the album is Nothing Changes which I think is among their best. It’s an Graeme Edge song so it has poetry and it sounds so “real” to the Moodies.

        The last line is “and life is still a simple game” a direct reference to a Mike Pender song that never made the cut for the core seven but is now recognized as one of the very best from the Moodies.

        Betting that most people have never heard either of these songs, and especially to bring to life two “new” core seven worthy songs, take a listen (on nothing changes listen to Justin’s rif, first on acoustic guitar (12 string Guild?) and then Electric (his Gibson). Also sounds like a mellotron.

        A lot of talent in these boys….

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