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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Aphoristic Album Reviews is almost entirely written by one person.
Graham Fyfe is probably the only music blogger to appreciate both Neil Diamond and Ariana Grande. Based in Fleet Street (New Zealand), he's been writing this blog since around 2000. Aphoristic Album Reviews features reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.
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