The Moody Blues are an English rock band. In an endless sea of rock and pop formats, The Moody Blues have distinguished themselves through four decades as that shimmering jewel vindicating rock music as a substantial artistic contribution to Western culture.
Ray Thomas, flautist and vocalist for British rock group The Moody Blues, has died at 76.
His music label, Esoteric Recordings/Cherry Red Records, says Thomas died suddenly Thursday at his home in Surrey, near London.
It is with profound sorrow and sadness that Cherry Red Records and Esoteric Recordings regret to announce that Ray Thomas, founder member, flautist and vocalist of the Moody Blues, passed away suddenly at his home in Surrey on Thursday 4th January 2018.
“My heartfelt condolences to Ray’s family. All my thoughts are with them, and I send them my love. Ray was a kind, generous and ‘giving’ musician and friend through all those magical years for the group, and I treasure all the music we made together”.
“Ray and I have been on this magical journey through life together since we were 14…two young kids from Birmingham who reached for the stars…and we made it together. El Riot you will always be by my side.”
We are deeply shocked by his passing and will miss his warmth, humour and kindness. It was a privilege to have known and worked with him and our thoughts are with his family and his wife Lee at this sad time.
Born in Stourport-on-Severn on 29th December 1941, Ray was a member of various Birmingham Blues and Soul groups in the early 1960s, notably with El Riot and the Rebels, who also featured John Lodge and Mike Pinder at various stages in their existence. Ray formed The Krew Cats with Mike Pinder in 1963 and the group performed on the Hamburg club scene that year. Returning to Birmingham, Thomas and Pinder formed the Moody Blues with Denny Laine, Graeme Edge and Clint Warwick. The band signed to Decca Records and enjoyed a worldwide hit with their cover of Bessie Banks’ “Go Now” in January 1965.
In October 1966 the Moody Blues line-up changed with the recruitment of Justin Hayward and John Lodge to replace the departing Denny Laine and Clint Warwick. The musical style of the group changed dramatically with the incorporation of the Mellotron into their sound, along with Ray’s evocative flute playing.
The band’s 1967 single “Nights in White Satin” (from the ground breaking album “Days of Future Passed” – a number one album in the USA in 1972) was graced by a magical flute solo from Ray, contributing to the evocative arrangement of the song.
Over seven albums released between 1967 and 1972 the Moody Blues enjoyed major success, and each album was graced with compositions by Ray such as “Legend of a Mind” (about the psychedelic champion Timothy Leary), “Eternity Road”, “And the Tide Rushes In” and “For My Lady”.
In the mid 1970s Ray recorded two successful solo albums; “From Mighty Oaks” (1975) and “Hopes Wishes and Dreams” (1976). The Moody Blues success continued into the 1980s. Ray’s song “Veteran Cosmic Rocker” (from 1981’s “Long Distance Voyager”) highlighted Ray’s marvellous sense of humour.
Ray remained with the Moody Blues until 2002 when he retired from the band due to health issues. Despite mobility issues, Ray continued to play and record occasionally, contributing a new song, “The Trouble with Memories” to a 2010 boxed set release of his two solo albums and more recently to the John Lodge album “10,000 Light Years Ago” in 2014. In 2017 it was announced that the members of the Moody Blues, including Ray Thomas, were to be inducted in to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
Up until the moment he learned the Moody Blues were entering the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, frontman Justin Hayward spent almost no time thinking about the institution. “On Friday, I couldn’t have cared less,” he says. “On Saturday, when I found out we were in, I was thinking, ‘Wow, this is amazing!’ But I’m still a committed European. I sometimes wish I was an American and could get really excited about it.” But he’s still excited enough to plan a trip to Cleveland in April for the ceremony, which could include a reunion with his former bandmates Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder. We spoke with Hayward about the honor, his thoughts on his fellow inductees and their hysterical guest spot on The Simpsons in 1999.
Congratulations! How do you feel? I want to start off by saying this is the first time that Rolling Stone is calling me in 51 years. [Laughs] That was the first thing I thought. I’m sitting here with my engineer and I said, “Rolling Stone is going to call me?”
Better late than never. How did you find out the big news? I found out from our agent at CAA.
What does it mean to you on a personal level? Hey listen, I’m extremely grateful to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for two things: For creating the supreme temple to something that has brought me endless joy since I was a little boy. The second thing is that after all these years they are including us. That’s about it. That’s how I feel about it.
News of the Moody Blues‘ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction has caused the group’s Justin Hayward to change his tune a bit.
“On Friday, I couldn’t really have cared less, but on Saturday the whole world looked different,” Hayward, who had for years dismissed the Rock Hall and the Moodys notable exclusion from it, tells Billboard with a laugh. “My reaction was, ‘Wow!’ It’s outstanding, really.”
Hayward’s comments over the years had been based on the fact that the Rock Hall was an American organization that made little impact in Europe, where he spends most of his time. With the group headed in next year as a first-ballot inductee — the ceremony is April 14 in Cleveland — Hayward notes that “at times like this, I wish I was American. I could really appreciate the scale of it, I suppose. But I am extremely grateful to them for creating that sort of temple to all that music has brought me. There’s nowhere else in the world that’s like that, and I’m very grateful to them for creating that place. And now, after all these years, I’m incredibly grateful to them for including us and it’s an absolute privilege to be celebrated in the same building, on the same street, in the same town, even, as Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers.”
33RD ANNUAL ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY TO BE HELD ON APRIL 14, 2018 AT PUBLIC AUDITORIUM IN CLEVELAND, OHIO
Los Angeles, CA (Dec. 13, 2017)—The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced this morning that rock legends The Moody Blues will be inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. Current members Justin Hayward (lead guitar, vocals), John Lodge (bass guitar, vocals) and Graeme Edge (drums); will receive the honor alongside former members Ray Thomas (flute/vocals) and Mike Pinder (keyboard/mellotron/vocals). The Moody Blues are one of five 2018 Inductees including Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits and Nina Simone,. Award for early Influence goes to Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The 33rd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Klipsch Audio, will take place on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2018 Induction Ceremony will be televised on HBO, and a radio broadcast on SiriusXM.
Says Justin Hayward: “I’m extremely grateful to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, first for creating the supreme temple to all that has brought endless joy into my life since I was a small boy, and now, after all these years, for including us. It’s a privilege to be celebrated in the same building, on the same street even, as my own heroes – Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers – and now, at last, with us, my heroine Nina Simone. But all the thanks must go to The Moody Blues fans for giving us a wonderful, wonderful life in music – our induction has now validated the music they so love, and I’m so, so pleased, for us all. Yippee!”
Says John Lodge: “The fans are the heart of the Moody Blues — their faith, support and love have moved mountains. Their voices have been heard, and I am proud to say, “we have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.” Thank you to American Radio for keeping the faith in the Moody Blues, and to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame for our induction.”
Says Graeme Edge: “I want to thank all of my peers who bestowed the honor of voting us in. Most of all, I’d like to thank all of our fans who have supported us over the years, and have steadfastly stood by us. I would also like to thank the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame foundation for putting a cap on my career; one that continues to astonish me with its gifts.
A limited number of pre-sale tickets are available for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame members in advance of the public sale date. To be eligible for the member pre-sale opportunity, you must be an active Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member by December 31, 2017. Supporters of the Donor Circle by December 31, 2017 can access VIP packages and premium balcony tickets immediately. Additional public ticket details and pre-sale offers will be announced in January.
Fans can pre-order exclusive 2018 Inductee t-shirts now at rockhall.com/store and receive 18% off their order. The Rock Hall store is also offering fans 10% off regular items and free shipping for a limited time.
The Moody Blues recently announced upcoming 2018 dates of their special live tour celebrating the 50th Anniversary of their iconic, 1967 landmark album, DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED. The tour begins on January 10 in Hollywood, Florida, continuing through January 31 in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the band will complete a run of four shows at the Wynn Las Vegas. Titled DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED – 50TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR, the tour kicked off earlier this year, and features the band performing their greatest hits in the first half, and DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED performed in the second half.
PBS also premiered The Moody Blues’ “Days of Future Passed Live” nationwide on November 25 recorded at Toronto’s Sony Centre during this year’s DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED – 50TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR (check local listings); and Ume released The Moody Blues’ DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED50TH ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION on November 17. The 2CD/DVD and digital audio deluxe edition features the album’s newly restored original 1967 stereo mix, which makes its CD debut.
The Moody Blues have been creating music that bridges the gap between rock, classical and pop-rock genres for the last five decades. Their sound has held its ground in a genre of music that is ever-changing, and has sold in excess of 70 million albums worldwide. The band has been awarded 14 platinum and gold discs, and their roster of hits include: “Nights In White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon,” “Ride My See Saw,” “The Story In Your Eyes,” “Isn’t Life Strange,”“Question,” “I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band),” “Your Wildest Dreams,” and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” to name a few.
The Moody Blues’No. 1, Top 5, Top 10, Top 20,Top 40, Multi-Platinum, Platinum and Gold albums and singles, have generated sold-out tours on a consistent basis over the course of several decades, making them one of the top-grossing album and touring bands of all time.
The iconic band prepares for a 2018 tour and possible Hall of Fame induction.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of their iconic 1967 album Days of Future Passed, The Moody Blues have taped a live TV special for PBS, and are planning a North American tour launching in early January.
“A couple of years ago, I was thinking how best to celebrate the 50th anniversary, when I was fortunate enough to meet an arranger and conductor named Elliott Davis from Toronto’s World Festival Orchestra,” band founder Justin Hayward tells Billboard. The album’s original arranger Peter Knight had passed away in 1985, and Hayward said he was seeking a classical conductor to help recreate the sound of the 1967 album, which blended orchestral arrangements with psychedelic rock sounds to create one of the first concept rock albums of the 1960s.
“I could suddenly see a way where we could make it possible,” Hayward explains. “I found someone capable of recreating those parts on stage because in the past, it was very frustrating trying to recreate the album live. We had one group with a sound in the studio and another group that created the live sound on stage. We could never get the two to gel and sound the same. And it’s only in the last few years that that’s been possible.”
Moody Blues Perform "Nights in White Satin" - YouTube
Days of Future Passed was first created to highlight the power of stereo recording and new high-fidelity home entertainment equipment. The Decca Records-produced album was a surprise hit that introduced a new generation of music fans to the power of stereophonic mixing and mastering.
“Decca had a consumer division and they were trying to get people interested in stereo sound, and trying to make that crossover,” Hayward tells Billboard, noting the Decca had the second largest classical catalog in the world at the time with “beautiful recording studios and hardly any rock acts using them.”
“The studios were almost too delicate, and I think that worked to our advantage, because the kind of music we were making was different than most rock acts,” Hayward said. “We had no commercial expectations for the album whatsoever. We were just trying to pay the rent and record something that was honest from our own hearts.”
The Moody Blues: Days of Future Passed Live is now airing on PBS as part of WNET Thirteen and New York Public Media’s Great Performances series. The performance was taped July 7 at Toronto’s Sony Centre with the band performing the entire LP live with narration from English actor Jeremy Irons.
The PBS special airs as the band prepares itself for a 2018 tour that kicks off Jan. 10 at the Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida and runs through Louisiana, Texas and a Jan. 23 show at BOK Center in Tulsa, followed by four performances at the Wynn in Las Vegas (Jan 26, 27, 30 and 31). The Moody Blues are also nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, a first for the band.
To learn more about the Moody Blues and watch their PBS special, click here.
Truth be told, it wasn’t cloudy at all the day Justin Hayward wrote Tuesday Afternoon, and at the time he had no idea how far he would go and the millions of people he would inspire along his way.
The now 71-year-old front-man of the iconic “prog” band, The Moody Blues, did this reporter and forever fan the honor of an interview last week to discuss the 50th anniversary of the band’s release of Days of Future Passed, one of the greatest progressive rock albums of all time, featuring Nights in White Satin and Tuesday Afternoon, among others.
Now, thanks to PBS, all fans will get a front-row seat for the band’s 50th anniversary performance of the entire LP live at Toronto’s Sony Centre when Great Performances – The Moody Blues: Days of Future Passed Livepremieres on PBS stations nationwide on November 25. (As it turns out, the premier also falls on this reporter’s 50th birthday.)
GREAT PERFORMANCES | Official Trailer: Moody Blues: Days of Future Passed Live | PBS - YouTube
Great Performances’ concert special showcases the band in performance for the first time with a full orchestra in a spectacle that recreates their pioneering concept album. Recorded with a full orchestra, the show is narrated by British actor Jeremy Irons and features atmospheric projections, transporting viewers back to the psychedelic era of The Moody Blues’ classic 1967 record. The film also pays homage to the band’s five decades of musical influence and showcases their groundbreaking foray into progressive rock.
Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET. Throughout its more than 40-year history on public television, the show has showcased the best in all genres of the performing arts.
It is indeed a big year for Moody Blues fans as 2017 marks the first time the band has been nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. According to the Hall’s website, “Besides demonstrating unquestionable musical excellence and talent, inductees will have had a significant impact on the development, evolution and preservation of rock & roll.”
That decision will be announced next month, but as for the time of this writing, The Moody Blues are second only to Bon Jovi in votes among 19 potential nominees. Five are chosen each year.
But back in 1967, before The Moody Blues had for the first time fused rock with classical music, when Hayward was just 20 years old, he was sitting in a field just west of England and near Stonehenge with his little dog, Tuesday. (He said he named the dog for actress Tuesday Weld, on whom he had an enormous crush at the time.) “It was such a lovely day and the sky was so lovely. It was a fairytale day and my little dog loved the situation. It’s as simple as that,” Hayward said. “Me and Tuesday went back to where my parents lived and I sat in the field smoking a joint and wrote it.”
In reality, Hayward said, he had gone to stay with his parents temporarily because he was too broke to live on his own. “I was pretty broke. We were only making $30 to $50 a night to play. It’s such a silly little song. It was one of the throw away songs that ended up being on an album, but it was a particular favorite of Peter Knight, and he and London Records seized on it. The orchestral interludes were by Peter Knight. But it was the perfect single for American radio in the 60s.”
November 2017 is the 50th Anniversary of The Moody Blues’ “Days of Future Passed”, one of the first albums to fuse rock music with an orchestra, DOFP is now regarded as one of the albums that gave birth to Progressive Rock.
The Moody Blues’ classic album ‘Days Of Future Passed’ is out now as a remastered 2CD / DVD set with a host of extras. Also, the original album is available again on 180gram vinyl. Please follow the links to order your copy
The Moody Blues ‘Days of Future Passed: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition’ available on 2CD+DVD featuring BBC radio sessions, alternate & mono mixes, with the physical DVD also including a 5.1 surround mix.
1. The Day Begins
2. Dawn: Dawn Is A Feeling
3. The Morning: Another Morning
4. Lunch Break: Peak Hour
5. The Afternoon
7. The Night
8. Long Summer Days
9. Please Think About It
10. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – BBC Saturday Club Session
11. Love And Beauty – BBC Easybeat Session
12. Leave This Man Alone – BBC Easybeat Session
13. Peak Hour – BBC Easybeat Session
14. Nights In White Satin – BBC Dave Symonds Session
15. Fly Me High – BBC Dave Symonds Session
16. Twilight Time – BBC Dave Symonds Session
1. The Day Begins
2. Dawn: Dawn Is A Feeling
3. The Morning: Another Morning
4. Lunch Break: Peak Hour
5. The Afternoon
7. The Night
8. Tuesday Afternoon – Alternate Mix
9. Dawn: Dawn Is A Feeling – Alternate Version
10. The Sun Set – Alternate Version
11. Twilight Time – Alternate Vocal Mix
12. Fly Me High – Mono Mix
13. I Really Haven’t Got The Time – Mono Mix
14. Love And Beauty – Mono Mix
15. Leave This Man Alone – Mono Mix
16. Nights In White Satin – Single Version / Mono Mix
17. Cities – Mono Mix
1. The Day Begins – 5.1 Surround Sound Mix
2. Dawn: Dawn Is A Feeling – 5.1 Surround Sound Mix
3. The Morning: Another Morning – 5.1 Surround Sound Mix
For the Moody Blues, and especially its fans, it’s about time the long-lived group received a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination.
Now the question is whether it will be time for an actual induction.
“It’s early days. We have to see what happens,” bassist John Lodge tells Billboard. “It’s a nomination. I really don’t know how these things work after that, so just to be nominated at this stage is fantastic.”
It’s a hard-fought nomination, too.
The Moodys have long been considered one of the Rock Hall’s greatest omissions, and fans have mounted a particularly aggressive campaign on the group’s behalf. When its first-ever nomination was announced on Thursday (Oct. 5), Moodys members Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge issued a joint statement saying, “We are very honored to be considered for an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We know that the fans have been diligently supporting us along the way on this, and that it means a lot to them, as well as to us. Being a British band, we are grateful for our American recognition, and especially to fans who have been with us throughout our musical journey.”
Lodge says he himself has never felt slighted by the Moodys’ exclusion from the Rock Hall, however. “I got into rock n’ roll when I was 12, and I never worked for any accolades at all,” he says. “I just wanted to make my music, and the other things that have come along the way have just been tremendous, and (the nomination) is something else that has come along the way. People say, ‘Did you ever dream about these things,’ and the answer is no, I never did. I didn’t know what dream I was trying to chase. All I wanted to do is play my bass and sing my songs, and that has led me everywhere in life.”
Due for release on 17th November 2017 comes the 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of the Moody Blues’Days Of Future Passed. This 2CD/DVD deluxe set includes the full original 1967 stereo mix, which is being released on CD here for the first time. Due to a damaged master tape of the original mix, the album had been remixed in stereo in 1972 and since then it is this later mix, which has been used on all CD reissues. Now that technology allows for the original master to be repaired, the album can be fully represented on CD1 of the set for the first time as well as on the 180gm vinyl. The vinyl version also contains a download code. This new set also includes a 5.1 surround sound mix derived from the original 1972 Quad mix. Additionally the DVD comprises previously unreleased video footage of the band performing three key tracks from the album at MIDEM on 24th January 1968, eight weeks after its release. The 2CD/DVD set includes a poster designed by Ray Thomas.
Days Of Future Passed was the Moody Blues’ landmark second album and is widely considered to have formally marked the beginning of their psychedelic era. Featuring the London Festival Orchestra, this richly orchestrated album followed in the wake of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s and Magical Mystery Tour but was in itself a unique and highly original piece of work. The album, of course, included the hits Tuesday Afternoon and the ever-enduring Nights In White Satin, thus rightfully recognising The Moody Blues as true pioneers in the development of progressive rock.
The Moody Blues have been at the forefront of the UK’s classic rock music scene for over forty years and have continued to be a mainstay of concert stages, recording studios and the airwaves to the present day. During their immensely successful career, they have sold, according to the band’s files, in excess of 70 million albums worldwide and have been the recipients of numerous prestigious awards.
On Thursday, October 5, The Moody Blues were named a 2018 nominee for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
“We are very honored to be considered for an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We know that the fans have been diligently supporting us along the way on this, and that it means a lot to them, as well as to us. Being a British band, we are grateful for our American recognition, and especially to fans who have been with us throughout our musical journey.”
-Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Graeme Edge
Fans are able to cast their ballots towards the online “Fan Vote”. The top five artists from the fan vote will comprise a “fans’ ballot” that will be counted along with the other ballots to determine the 2018 inductees.
Help get The Moody Blues inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by casting your ballot at rockhall.com/vote. You can vote once per day and voting will close on December 5, 2017.
Share the news with your friends and family on social media by using #RockHall2018! Thank you for your support!
“The songwriter in me says…
Nineteen sixty six to two thousand and seventeen
From U Haul trucks To Limousine
Progressive rock and flower power
The Filmore East the Filmore West
Disco Punk and Music Fests
To all the fans who’ve joined us on the way
And to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Thank you from the Moody Blues
And I’m honoured to have your nomination today…….
But the 14 year old boy looking in the music store window
at a Fender Precision Bass says thank you”