Days Of Future Passed
Review by David Bowling
“Go Now” was a big hit in England and The United States but the Moody Blues were unable to follow up on that success. Original members Denny Laine and Carl Warwick both decided to leave the group. Instead of disbanding, Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas, and Graeme Edge began looking for replacements. Enter Justin Hayward and John Lodge who would begin a four decade plus association with the group and would help take The Moody Blues in a creative direction, unimagined at the time of their recruitment.
Days Of Future Passed was released November 10, 1967 and sounded like nothing produced at the time. Left behind were their blues roots and in their place was a unique fusion of rock and classical elements, which would become the sound associated with the group for the next forty years and would establish them as one of the most popular rock groups in the world.
The concept of the album was simple as it chronicled the day in the life of a person. Peter Knight and The London Festival Orchestra are credited with most of the symphonic parts but just how much they contributed and in what form they actually existed has remained somewhat of a mystery over the years. Many of the orchestral parts were played by Mike Pinder on the mellotron upon which he was able to create the sounds of many different instruments.
The album contains two of the more memorable songs to emerge from the late sixties. “The Afternoon: Forever Afternoon (Tuesday)” which is more commonly called “Tuesday Afternoon” and “The Night: Nights In White Satin” were both successful singles in a shortened form. In their original versions they were over eight and seven minutes a piece and were orchestrated suites in nature and structure. Both were written and sung by Justin Hayward.
“Tuesday Afternoon” featured the mellotron creating a lush background. Ray Thomas’ flute work was some of the best of his career. “Nights In White Satin” is a haunting, cosmic track of lost love that still receives considerable airplay and remains the group’s best known song.
John Lodge would make his writing and singing debut with his “Lunch Break: Peak Hour.” It was the hardest rocking track contained on the original release and is representative of his many contributions that were to come.
There were several other highlights. “Evening: The Sunset/Twilight Time,” written by Pinder and Thomas respectively, is an introspective and atmospheric song about the sun setting. “The Morning: Another Morning” was a bouncy tune written by Thomas and features one of the better lead vocals of his career.
Days Of Future Passed seems to get better with age. It has a beauty and elegance that few albums have been able to match. It remains a memorable and timeless landmark in rock history.