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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. 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:

the-moody-blues-every-good-boy-deserves-favour#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.


the-moody-blues-in-search-of-the-lost-chord#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.


the-moody-blues-a-question-of-balance#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’.


the-moody-blues-on-the-threshold-of-a-dream#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.


the-moody-blues-seventh-sojourn#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.


the-moody-blues-days-of-future-passed#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.


the-moody-blues-to-our-childrens-childrens-children#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?

Read More:
Moody Blues album reviews
Worst to best lists

23 thoughts on “The Moody Blues Core Seven Albums: Ranked from Worst to Best Leave a comment

  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?!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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.

      Liked by 1 person

  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.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 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!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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.

      Like

  4. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. 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

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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).

      Like

  7. 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
    Children’s
    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).

    Liked by 1 person

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