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Moody Blues. Courtesy photo.




Moody Blues

When: Thursday, Aug. 14, at 8 p.m.
Where: Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook, Gilford
Tickets: $29-$59 at meadowbrook.net




Legendary Blues
The Moody Blues mark 50th anniversary

08/07/14
By Michael Witthaus music@hippopress.com



 The Moody Blues celebrate 50 years as a band in 2014, and only one member has been around for every note. Drummer Graeme Edge played with both the British Invasion unit that made “Go Now” a Top 10 hit and the pioneering progressive rock band that followed.

The breakthrough Days of Future Passed album was a guerrilla production — they were ostensibly in the studio making rock versions of Dvorak for a stereo demo album to pay off a record company debt. Guided by a kind producer, “Nights In White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon” came instead.
No one was more surprised than Edge when the Moodies made the charts.  
“I’m amazed we had hits in the States, that we had any hits anywhere,” he said in a recent phone interview. “We didn’t think in terms of success; we thought we were making a very haunting album, and we thought it was good. But we didn’t think it was very commercial.”
Edge contributed the spoken-word piece that opens Days of Future Passed. However, the selection, which begins “Cold-hearted orb that rules the night/Removes the colours from our sight,” was first written as a lyric. “I showed it to everyone in the studio and they said, ‘There’s no way we can make that into a song. There are too many words.’ Then when I read it, they thought it worked as a poem.” 
Several more poems came in the albums that followed.
“All my lyrics tend to be like that — wordy,” Edge said, noting In Search of the Lost Chord’s “The Word,”  “In The Beginning” from On the Threshold of a Dream and  “Higher and Higher.” The latter, with its colorful turn of phrase, “blasting, billowing, bursting forth with the power of 10 billion butterfly sneezes,” is still a concert staple. 
The Moodies’ poetic and probing lyrics caused many to look to them for guidance and answers. Might the music be better enjoyed as art, not philosophy? 
“Well, that’s a loaded question, isn’t it? I’m going to piss off some fans with that one,” said Edge with a chuckle. “The thing is … we had a bully pulpit. People thought we had the answers because we were asking the same questions. I think John Lennon really had the answer: All you need is love. That’s the only real value there is. John got it right the first time.”
Years after the band became eligible, the Moody Blues are still not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Edge is, well, philosophical about the topic. 
“At first, it bothered us; we wondered what was going on,” he said. “But it’s become such a thing every year — we don’t get in and our friends go ballistic. If we did, they’d talk about us that year and that would be it. So it might be better for us not to be in.”
It hardly matters to a band that’s reliably filled arenas and summer sheds for five decades and counting. Watching Edge and his mates Justin Hayward and John Lodge on stage, it’s stunningly clear that they are enjoying every minute. Asked if he has a favorite moment in each night’s show, Edge answers, “Right now I don’t have a love spot … I love them all. But I do like ‘Question’ — it covers both of the modes we have, the orchestral and the rocking section.”
Really, though, is it still fun for the septuagenarian, who claims to have coined the term “senior citizen” way back in 1967?  
“I love it! Those two hours on stage I adore. I love playing live for people,” said Edge. “I’ll pick five or six groups every night and watch them enjoy. Frankly, I suck energy from them, through them.”   
 
As seen in the August 7, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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