Friday, September 14, 2012

The Moody Blues: Melancholy Man

Will it only be 12 more posts or will “Reading between the Grooves” continue? You can decide by registering your feelings in the survey found at

If you’ve noticed that the songs I’ve picked by the Moody Blues, they have leaned heavily toward Justin Hayward compositions with an occasional John Lodge or Ray Thomas piece.

“Blue World” – Justin Hayward
“Cities” – Justin Hayward
“Blue Guitar” – Justin Hayward
“Are You Sitting Comfortably” – Justin Hayward and Ray Thomas
“Legend of a Mind” – Ray Thomas
“Candle of Life” – John Lodge
“Emily’s Song” – John Lodge
“When A Child is Born” – not composed by the band, but sung by Hayward and Lodge

Although, I had picked today’s Friday Flipside before I did this exercise, I did not realize that I have never featured a Mike Pinder song. Mike was the master of the Mellotron and may have been the first artist to consistently use this new technology in the 1960s.

Other prog rock bands would learn to rely upon this strange but wonderful keyboard instrument that was belabored with mechanical problems, but it gave the illusion of a full orchestra, a choir, and provided other sounds at the hands of a master. It was the predecessor to technology that created digital sampling keyboards in the 1980s.

Mellotrons were big, clunky, and at the mercy of the roadies, voltage irregularities, and humidity. Come to think of it, my Ensoniq Mirage Sampler in the 1980s was subject to all of those same problems – especially problems in voltage fluctuation.

We used to play at this one venue in Summersville, WV where the out of phase wiring would cause my Mirage to go haywire. As for the roadies – we had none, but a friend during the post band years of mine dropped my keyboard and it remains broken; however, it is an easy fix. I’ll get around to it eventually. Ah yes, I had similar experiences to what Mike Pinder no doubt suffered with his Mellotron – that is sans the adoring fans, the recording contract, and a name known round the world.

Mike was the only member of the classic version of the Moody Blues that I have not met. Pinder left the band in 1978 and was replaced by Patrick Moraz. Although, Moraz’s role in the band was subject to some questioning, he stayed until 1992. The band claimed he was a sideman and not an actual member; however, Moraz sued the band and won the judgment; however, he was not awarded as large an amount of back royalties.

Well back to Pinder, most people assume that the recitations written by drummer Graeme Edge were all spoken by the creator – not so. Mike Pinder’s excellent speaking voice was the primary vehicle for Edge’s creations. Think . . . “Breathe deep the gathering gloom. Watch lights fade from every room . . .”

Today’s Friday Flipside is the “B” side to the “The Story in Your Eyes.” As with a number of singles, the flip comes from a previous album. While the “A” side was from “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,” “Melancholy Man” was from “A Question of Balance.”

In France, “Melancholy Man” was the hit and was a number one record; however, in the US “The Story in Your Eyes,” which is one of my favorite Moody Blues’ singles only charted at #23. The single failed to chart in the UK, but was a Top 10 record in Canada. “A Question of Balance” did quite well charting at #3 in the US and Canada, #2 in Australia, and #1 in the UK. It was certified as a platinum release in both the US and Canada.

No comments:

Post a Comment