Between 1967 and 1972, Birmingham’s The Moody Blues released seven studio albums, commonly referred to as the core seven. While they stayed in step with the times, transitioning from richly orchestrated psych pop to more stripped down albums in the 1970s, 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 yet ridiculous albums.
Here are the Moody Blues’ core seven albums, ranked from worst to best:
#7: Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971)
Despite a great Justin Hayward rocker ‘The Story In Your Eyes’, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour remains the slightest and most dispensable of the core seven. The title is taken from the acronym that piano students use to learn the lines in the treble clef.
#6: In Search Of The Lost Chord (1968)
The Moody Blues went full on hippie mode in 1968, with lyrics about Timothy Leary and the chant of ‘Om’, but they’re too endearingly dorky to make convincing acolytes of the counter-culture.
#5: A Question Of Balance (1970)
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 environmental and war. Justin Hayward provides the highlight with the driving, acoustic ‘Question’.
#4: On The Threshold Of a Dream (1969)
The group’s 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 (1972)
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 ditch the poetry and turn up Hayward’s electric guitar, making Seventh Sojourn their most mainstream album.
#2: Days Of Future Passed (1967)
After their tenure as an R&B combo petered out, The Moody Blues relaunched 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 (1969)
The Moody Blues’ lush, orchestrated sound reached an 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?