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Not just a group, more of an English institution, The Moody Blues have been active since 1964. Their transitions are legendary, from classic R&B beginnings to progressive psychedelic experimentation; string laced orchestral extravaganzas, the finest ballads and outer space excursions such as To Our Children’s Children’s Children that was inspired in the heat of the moment by the moon landing of 1969. They’ve sold over 70 million albums, have a global fan base that lives up to the hype and can count on so many gold and platinum discs that reserves may be running out. The Magnificent Moodies – as their debut album marked them – can be found in their pomp here with 1960s masterpieces like Days of Future Passed and In Search of the Lost Chord being just a foretaste. A band that embraced technology early and became pioneers in Mellotron and synth drenched Moog rock in advance of the copyist hordes; the Moody Blues were always destined to shine in the era of FM radio. They pushed the barriers for hi- fi sound in any case. Their so-called fusion of progressive or art rock atmospherics is a template for the times. They also followed The Beatles’ lead and created their Threshold label in the 1970s (somewhat before The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin handled their own distribution), and they also insisted on high design art work and gatefold sleeves – a smart move since despite the costs their work always stood out in the racks and recouped the investment. Never ones to overlook the fine details, they also put out fabulous singles, whether via the auspices of original member Denny Laine or his replacement Justin Hayward. ‘Nights in White Satin’ and ‘Question’ are always spinning somewhere on the celestial jukebox. Prolific in the extreme the Moody Blues catalogue illustrates their capacity to create brilliant music on a regular basis. During their early heyday they could match The Beatles for commercial appeal and their music abides today as a testimony to what a truly gifted band can achieve. In some respects they invented the concept album-cum-song cycle, and that became their touchstone. It has drawn them a following that is quietly fanatical. They’ll be happy to rediscover what’s on offer here, and any newcomers are in for a treat.
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