Moody Blues: Classic Artists
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Members of The Moody Blues, classic rock legends and others tell the remarkable story of the band from the swinging '60s to the present day in this definitive DVD documentary.Their story is one of magic and musical mastery that changed the face of rock music forever. Beginning as an early Birmingham R&B group, The Moody Blues have evolved over the decades in both personnel and musical style to become one of the world's most successful and longest running bands. Their classic albums including Days of Future Passed and timeless hits such as "Nights in White Satin" and "Go Now" are featured in this fascinating, fully-authorised documentary. Through exclusive interviews from current band members Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge, and new extremely rare interviews with former members Mike Pinder, Denny Laine and their contemporaries, we trace the rich and colourful story of the music of The Moody Blues, something never before told so thoroughly or with such insight. As they enter their fifth decade, The Moody Blues continue to play sell out world wide tours, bringing their music legacy to a legion of fans compromised of their original listeners' children's children's children. Disc 1: The story of The Moody Blues. 153-minute program includes: Exclusive new interviews with Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Graeme Edge, Mike Pinder, Denny Laine, Eric Burdon, Ian Anderson and many others. Packed with music, rare and unseen photographs, previously unreleased archival footage and rare and unseen promos. Disc 2: DVD extras of 92 minutes include: Six full-length Moody Blues music promos, extended interviews of special importance, extensive photograph and memorabilia gallery spanning five decades. Disc 3: Bonus Audio CD featuring nine tracks compiled from The Moody Blues, recorded at London's Marquee Club in 1964, and the band members' earlier works prior to the formation of The Moody Blues. Includes a 20-Page Full-Color Booklet
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Top Customer Reviews
Minor Disappointments: Unfortunately Ray Thomas who retired in 2003 is only shown in previously available interviews and Patrick Moraz chose not to participate. The last portion of the video would have been better if long time backing musicians Paul Bliss and Gordon Marshall would have been interviewed instead of the recently added Flautist Norda.
All and all it is the ultimate recorded history of the band.
After watching this, you might ask: WHY ARENT THE MOODY BLUES IN THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME??!!??
Listening to the various interviews, what's amazing is the depth and clarity of the memories that most involved have, of events that took place over forty years ago! The tone is mostly warm and positive, although there is some bitterness when the band recounts how they were ripped off by their "management", and never received the royalties for their first hit Go Now. Another fascinating aspect, is the tightness of the musical community in Britain at the time, as the Moodies once toured with The Beatles, and also hung out with The Rolling Stones, and The Animals.
One of the key events in the band's early history was the departure of Denny Laine, and the reformation of the Moodies with bass player John Lodge and guitarist Justin Hayward. This lineup's first album was the masterpiece, Days Of Future Passed (1967), a landmark recording in history of progressive rock. On the strength of this majestic effort, the band had found their signature sound, and then entered their remarkably productive golden period (1967-72), when they produced an amazing string of seven hit albums.
Interestingly, the band takes credit for popularizing the gatefold type album sleeve, and seeking more creative control, in 1969 they formed Threshold Records a subsidiary of Decca Records. The assertion that the band found that it had over relieved on overdubbing, is quite remarkable. As a result, the band streamlined their sound for A Question Of Balance (1970), Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971), and Seventh Sojourn (1972) albums, focusing on creating music that they could reproduce live. The documentary devotes very little time to these recordings, or this time period.
The Moodies went on hiatus in 1974, as some of the members did solo projects, and Hayward scored a hit with Forever Autumn. Reforming in 1977, the recording of the album Octave proved to be a difficult experience, as Mike Pinder drifted away from the group. As they Moodies were preparing to tour, Pinder unexpectedly declined to participate, creating hard feelings that apparently still run quite deep. Pinder eventually left the band, and though it is not mentioned, apparently took legal action against the remaining members.
Time is devoted to the band's major lineup changes, as ex-Yes keyboardist Patrick Moraz who replaced Pinder, and Moraz in turn was replaced by keyboardist Bias Boshell. According to drummer Graeme Edge, in the late 80's he began to feel that he did not have the energy to play at full strength throughout an entire live performance. This led to the addition of a second drummer in 1991 for their live shows. Apparently due to health concerns, Roy Thomas retired in 2003. The band replaced him with classically trained flautist Norda Mullen, a Mississippi native. Interestingly, Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is featured expressing interest in the possibility of replacing Thomas.
After floundering for a while, the band experienced resurgence in popularity in the mid 80's. Although the band's days of mega-stardom had clearly past, the Moodies have a solid fan base, and continue to tour and occasionally record. A major event was the 1992 concert at Red Rock, which featured the band playing songs from Days Of Future Past, accompanied by an orchestra. This supposedly one-time event, led to the band performing with an orchestra for some years. The documentary closes with the thought that the Moodies will remain viable, as long as John Lodge, Justin Hayward, and Graeme Edge, continue to be the heart of the band.
Classic Artists may a bit uneven, giving in depth coverage to some less significant subjects, while kind of glossing over other seemingly more significant events. The documentary doesn't sugarcoat certain sensitive subjects, such as the band's lack of respect in the UK press, or falling away from the cutting edge of music. Producer Tony Clarke's contributions were so critical to the band's sound, that he was regarded as the "sixth Moodie", and recovering from his departure, was another major hurdle for the band to overcome. Unfortunately, not much is heard from Ray Thomas, and perhaps to compensate for this, Mike Pinder who left in the 70's, seems to get as much or more face time than Lodge, Edge, or Hayward. Besides footage from music videos, there seems to be few actual clips of live performances, prior to the 1990's. Overall, the documentary still contains a wealth of information, and is well worth seeing, for the huge number of interview clips.