Customer Reviews: The Best Of The Moody Blues
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on September 16, 2001
For those who are not familiar with the Moody Blues and are unsure where to start collecting their individual CDs, get this CD. While not all of their charting singles are here (it omits "Sitting At The Wheel") it does gives you a nice introduction to the Moody Blues, including the Denny Laine/Clint Warwick period where "Go Now" stems from.
While I totally appreciate all the reviews here, there are some inaccuracies I have to correct. First of all this collection came out five years ago, not more than ten years ago as another reviewer states (he's refering to the 1989 release "Greatest Hits/Legend Of A Band", which doesn't include "Go Now"). Secondly, "Nights In White Satin" is neither the "Days Of Future Past" version nor the single version. Rather, it's the complete recording WITHOUT the orchestral overdubs (the Moody Blues don't play on the introduction, nor do they play on "Late Lament", Mike Pinder's reading of Graeme Edge's poem, which was a seperate recording). Thirdly, they don't play on the orchestral ending/interlude of "Tuesday Afternoon"; this is where the single version faded anyway.
That said, it's still a fine representation of the Moody Blues (eons ahead of the Millenium Collection). However, if you don't mind spending the extra dough, get "Anthology" which is an even better collection (as a number of other reviewers allude to).
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on July 27, 1999
How do you fit so many Moody Blues songs on one CD? That's edit the hell out of them. Nights in White Satin is edited in the very beginning and also has a large portion of the ending cut out. There are others edited as well, including Tuesday Afternoon. If you don't mind that, this CD offers a good sampling of their great music. I bought it for the song Forever Autumn from War of the Worlds. It's the single version that was often played on radio. I like the song so much that I wanted both versions. In fact, this may be the only CD, other than War of the Worlds, that has this beautiful song.
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on December 11, 1999
Obviously this "The Best of the Moody Blues" CD is aimed at casual/ new fans of these symphonic rockers, and on that level, it does work very well. To 'paint outside the lines', the disc contains the memorable Hayward-Lodge tune "Blue Guitar", as well as the wonderful single mix of "Forever Autumn" which is also not officially a Moodies' track, but is a must-have, and I think the only other place it's available on CD is on the "Time Traveller" box set. This disc also contains the pre-1967 hit "Go Now" from when future Wings member Denny Laine was handling lead vocals, and there's no denying that it sounds joltingly out-of-place in this context. One thing that I feel is worth pointing out is that, apart from "Forever Autumn" and "Go Now", all the songs on this CD were written by Justin Hayward and/ or John Lodge, and that's perhaps misleading for people just getting to know the group--it might make them think that the Moodies' were essentially the Hayward & Lodge band, and although that's pretty much what it HAS evolved into over the years, that's certainly not the case with their "Core 7" albums from 1967-1972. Longtime and original member Ray Thomas wrote many songs for the group, including the famous Timothy Leary tribute "Legend Of A Mind" which, somewhat bafflingly, isn't included here. I don't think it would have been a bad idea to lose, say, "Voices In The Sky" and "Go Now" to make room for "Legend..."--I mean, "Go Now" really is drastically out-of-place here, and not all that great to begin with, and it would be nice to have at least one quality composition from another member other than Hayward & Lodge.

But like I said at the start, this CD, which contains over 77 minutes of music, does work very well for casual and new fans of the Moodies, so I definitely give the disc a thumbs up. Although Justin Hayward is an inconsistent and at times painfully formulaic songwriter, he has a distinctive epic songwriting style where he links together enough ideas for two or three songs into a single relatively concise composition, and when it works, as on songs like "Question" and "The Voice" (both included here), the effect is magical, unique, and distinctly Justin. Tracks dating from the 1980's such as "The Voice", "Gemini Dream", "Blue World", and "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" are among the best songs the group ever did, and it's reassuring to see them placed proudly together on this disc with the 1967-1972 material that 'the fans' more commonly hail as their classic work.

(Strangely, the version of "The Best of the Moody Blues" that I have has different cover art than what is shown here at Amazon. The liner notes feature an interview with Justin Hayward which is a nice bonus, and the track listing is identical, although there is perhaps a difference in the remastering.)

(P.S. As an additional note, I'd like to comment on the version of "Nights In White Satin" that this disc features--it seems that some listeners are up in arms over this. The version here is by no means a patchwork edit. Yes, it is missing some string overdubs in the last verse, but listen with headphones & you'll notice the difference between this & the version on each of the two main versions of the "Days of Future Passed" CD (not how it sounded on the original vinyl)--this is a more spacious, less diluted sounding version. For the true original full-length version of "Nights", including the "Late Lament" poem portion, as it appeared on the original "Days of Future Passed" vinyl, the only place I know for sure you can find it is on the "Time Traveller" box set.)
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Having a "best of" the Moody Blues is sort of like a best of Bach. What it is really meant by "best of" is that this music was generally the most radio played. Working within that limitation, this music is a little taste of what this group has contributed to rock music, though I could have wished that other tracks or additional tracks were chosen. If you would like more than what this CD has to offer, I recommend purchasing the "Time Traveler" collection, which has either four CDs or five CDs, because there are two different versions of this collection. If you really enjoy the Moody Blues, I strongly urge you to buy their first seven albums, which begin with "Days of Future Passed" and end with "Seventh Sojourn."

This collection has "Go Now" from "The Magnificent Moodies," an album that was very different from what was to come. This version of the Moody Blues included Ray Thomas, Mike Pinder, Denny Laine, Graeme Edge, and Clint Warwick.

After several singles Laine and Warwick left, to be replaced by John Lodge and Justin Hayward; the Moody Blues were born!

From "Days of Future Passed (1967 in U.S.)" is "Nights and White Satin" and "Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon)." This concept album mated rock and classical music together, and heralded art rock and symphonic rock. Occasionally bombastic and pretentious, this album is one of the best selling rock albums.

"In Search of the Lost Chord (1968)," the most psychedelic album by the Moody Blues, contributes "Ride My See Saw" and "Voices in the Sky," two very different songs that give you few clues as to the album. At the time the "House of Four Doors" and "Legend of a Mind" combination on that album was unique in rock.

The Moodies changed styles for "On the Threshold of a Dream," and apparently none of the wonderful music from this 1969 album was considered "best." Similarly, none of the excellent music from "To Our Children's Children's Children (1969)" is included.

Featuring a more rock-oriented sound, "A Question of Balance (1970)" provides the radio favorite "Question," again avoiding some of the other, equally good tracks of the album. Perhaps the most progressive album the Moodies ever did, "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971)," provides "The Story in Your Eyes." The Moody Blues ended their string of albums in 1972 with the solid rock album "Seventh Sojourn," which provides "Isn't Life Strange" and "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)."

The members of the group went their separate ways for a while in 1974, during which time Justin Hayward released the mellow song "Blue Guitar." The even better Justin Hayward solo effort "Forever Autumn" from Jeff Wayne's "War of the Worlds" is also a part of this collection. These two songs are the only solo efforts in this collection.

In 1978 the five members of the group came together one last time to record "Octave," which retains elements of the previous seven albums. This album provides the song "Steppin' in a Slide Zone." After this album, keyboard player and ethereal song writer Mike Pinder left the group permanently.

After replacing Pinder with Patrick Moraz, the group recorded "Long Distance Voyager" in 1981. This number one album yielded two radio hits, "The Voice" and "Gemini Dream." The Moody Blues' music was increasingly mellow and commercial. In 1983 "The Present" was released, which contributes "Blue World" to this collection. In 1986 the Moodies tried too hard to make current music, and released "The Other Side of Life." The song "Your Wildest Dreams," probably the best song from that album, is included here. The title track was also released as a single. While the album is perhaps one of the best produced, the Patrick Moraz's keyboards frequently overwhelmed the music on the album. Note that Patrick Moraz left the Moody Blues in 1991, not to be permanently replaced by another keyboardist.

In 1988, "Sur La Mer" was released, which included the song "I Know You're Out There Somewhere." This song is generally considered a sequel to "Your Wildest Dreams," and was probably the best song from this album.

Since 1988 the Moody Blues have released three more original albums to date (2006), yielding several interesting songs. To find those songs you either need a different collection, or you need to purchase those albums, which are "Keys of the Kingdom (1991)," "Strange Times (1999)," and "December (2003)." Another milestone during this time was the departure of Ray Thomas from the group after the recording of "Strange Times."

The Moody Blues began as an album group, and I think it is easier and better to listen to their early music in its entirety. Later albums were less cohesive and typically were not concept albums, so the songs represented from those albums are mostly adequate. The problem is that each of us likes different aspects of the Moody Blues, so one album is unlikely to capture everything we like about the group. If you want to see what the Moody Blues have contributed to music, you will only get a taste here. Once you have heard this music, consider whether you want to go deeper. Just be careful, the later albums are not nearly as good as the earlier albums. Good luck!
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on November 23, 1999
When I was 4 years old, I have memories of my dad playing old Moody Blues 45's. One in particular that I remembered well was "Nights in White Satin". My dad was always praising them, but I was really too young to make a judgement. It wasn't until I got older and more into music that I realized the talent of the Moody Blues. VH1 used to have a classic rock show hosted by Peter Noon.. they played videos from 60's-70's rock bands and this is where I first saw the Moody's performing "Nights in White Satin"(I had a huge crush on Justin after seeing the video!). As a teenager, I bought the "Days of the Future Past" cd and fell in love with it! The fantasy-like music and Justin's dreamy voice was like no other group out there, and was the perfect soundtrack for a daydreamer like myself. But I still wasn't familiar with anything besides that cd until just a few monthes ago, when my father encouraged me to buy this cd...and I'm glad I listened to him! The music is beautiful and has ended up being a favorite of mine. All of the lyrics are thoughtful and from a very personal point of view. And the Moody Blues quality of music didn't diminish from their early stuff in the 60's to their 80's work. My only regret is that I didn't discover this sooner. In my opinion, they're the band that'll always have that something extra!
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on February 14, 2001
The Moody Blues have been making fantastic music for more than 30 years, and this cd probably has everything of theirs you have ever heard on the radio. From the stunning epic "Nights in White Satin" to the rollicking "Ride My See-saw", the mermerizing "Story in Your Eyes", the sweeping "Voice" and the soaring "I Know You're Out There Somewhere"... with lots in between. There's even a couple of great Justin Hayward side projects, "Blue Guitar" and "Forever Autumn", thrown in for good measure.
It's not a perfect collection. For one thing, this collection came out more than ten years ago, so the two studio albums and two live albums they've released since then are not covered. For another, there are four excellent songwriters in the band (five during their classics period) and only two, Justin Hayward and John Lodge, have their works featured here. But, every single that the Moodies have ever put out has been penned by either Hayward or Lodge, so the compilation can hardly be faulted for that. Granted, the Hayward side projects (as much as I love them) don't really belong here, and "Go Now," which came out before Justin Hayward and John Lodge even joined the band, when they were a hack R&B group, is out of place. The elimination of these could have made room for some songs written and sung by other members of the band, such as "Legend of a Mind", a 1968 classic written and sung by flutist Ray Thomas which to this day is a quintessential part of their live show.
I am a die-hard Moodies fan who has in his collection all of their studio material and officially-released live material (which is a lot) as well as a multitude of solo albums from the band members (totalling nine albums.) My love affair with the Moodies started with a little now-out-of-print greatest hits package that was a lot like this one, only with less songs. And that one sure got me going! So this is a perfectly great collection to introduce oneself to their music, unless of course you want to spring for the comprehensive double-cd "Anthology."
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on June 15, 2004
I am a devoted Moody Blues fan, and find that this is a great hits compilation. Having seen the Moodies recently in concert, I am reminded of how great they are, and I can confidentally give this CD 5 stars. The Moody Blues are on par with the Beatles, Stones and Who in my estimation. It is a disgrace and travesty that they are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, especially when so many lesser acts and one-hit wonders are. But to return the Very Best of The Moody Blues CD, I do not think it is their best compilation available; The 2-Disc Anthology, and the now out-of-print Legends of A Band: The Moody Blues Greatest Hits (1989), are each much better sets in my estimation. The latter does not have Go now, Blue Guitar or Forever Autumn, but it does have 12 of their best singles, and covers well the span of their career through the Sur La Mer CD. Go Now is okay, was a great single for 1964, but it pales in comparison of the material that the Moodies would be producing once Haywood and Lodge joined the team. Blue Guitar and Forever Autumn are great tunes, but they arise from solo projects, and I believe this set should stick to the group material. There is group material left off that is better, anyway. This set, the Very Best of the Moody Blues, would have been better with the same track listing as Legends of a Band, plus 3 out of these four titles: Driftwood, Blue World, Lean on Me, and English Sunset (English Sunset came out after this compilation, but should be the chronological finale in any future single disc Moody Blues CDs).
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on December 5, 2006
I remember listening to the Moody Blues on radio years ago and really liked them. When I saw this CD, and that is was remastered, I thought it would be really good (isn't remastered supposed to mean improved???). What a huge disappointment! The first song, "Go Now", is the worst, sounding tinny and scratchy, nothing like I remember. The others aren't quiet as bad, but the quality just isn't there. This is poorly remastered. If you want Moody Blues music, listen to samples of their other CD's first. This one is terrible.
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on December 29, 2005
What a shame; great cd liner notes, great cover design, decent track selections but then I put it on the cd player and low and behold, I can hardly hear anything! I raise the volume 2 levels above my normal levels which my wife always complains is too loud already and I hear such terrible sound quality that I'm not only sure this really isn't remastered, it's also not even mastered well to begin with.

I take a another look at the cd cover just to make sure and there it is: staring at me in capital letters, "DIGITALLY REMASTERED" through the transparent jewel case spine. I think maybe it's my player so I put on another disc which sounds perfectly okay and so I know now that this is another case of a record company taking us for a ride (and not of the see saw variety). I look over the cd liner notes closely to see who it was that is supposed to have remastered this disc and lo and behold, I find one name of someone who is credited with mastering (not remastering) this disc.

If you want value for money and a good compilation of this band, seeing as how the sound quality of this version really, really sucks, I'd advise you to go for the remastered version of "Voices In the Sky". I feel confident in recommending this to you because years back, I actually got a copy of that album unremastered and the sound quality was a lot better than this allegedly remastered waste of plastic. Logically, a remastered version of "Voices in the Sky" cannot sound worse than the original version.

The only down side is that that album only has 12 tracks while this has 17 but I still think "Voices in the Sky" is the better album because the tracks have a nice flow and you can actually hear the band unlike this version beginning with the great track "Ride My See Saw", an excellent opening number and ending appropriately with "Nights in White Satin", the perfect closing number. Until they come up with another best of compilation worthy of a great band like the Moody Blues, "Voices In the Sky" is the best one disc compilation of the band you can get.
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on June 27, 2002
I'm one of those people who LOVES music, but never know what or who I'm listening to! It's sad... I purchased this CD for the song "Your Wildest Dreams" as it reminded me of a guy I dated in high school that I hadn't seen in 34 years. I was pleasantly surprised; there were so many of my favorite songs. Songs that I just LOVED to dance to; dancing was my passion. About 3 months after purchasing the CD, the fellow came back into my life. We're now married. He too had the CD, for the same song, because of me.
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