The Moody Blues

Collected

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This is the Moody Blues installment in Universal Music's Collected series. The 54 selections span the band's nearly 40-year career -- from early British Invasion-era songs through to the 2003 seasonal offering December. The original lineup hailed from Birmingham, England, and featured Ray Thomas (harmonica/vocals), Mike Pinder (keyboards/vocals), Denny Laine (vocals/guitar), Graeme Edge (drums), and Clint Warwick (bass/vocals). They had a massive worldwide smash with a remake of Bessie Banks' "Go Now" in early 1965. However, they suffered from the inability to provide a suitable follow-up, despite the undeniable groove heard on the blue-eyed soulful "From the Bottom of My Heart (I Love You)." Ultimately, Warwick and then Laine exited, replaced by John Lodge (bass/vocals) and Justin Hayward (guitar/vocals). They continued with minimal notice, even as Hayward immediately unleashed the pre-psychedelia pop of "Fly Me High" and "Cities," or the slightly more esoteric "Love and Beauty" and "A Simple Game." It wasn't until the combo hedged their bets and turned in the rock-meets-symphonic masterpiece Days of Future Passed (1967) that the Moodies were able to truly define their sound. Collected serves up key material from the "classic seven" long-players Days of Future Passed, In Search of the Lost Chord (1968), On the Threshold of a Dream (1969), To Our Children's Children's Children (1969), A Question of Balance (1970), Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971), and Seventh Sojourn (1972). There are likewise cuts from several solo and offshoot albums. Most notably, the Hayward/Lodge effort Blue Jays (1972) ("Blue Guitar" and "Remember Me [My Friend]"), Hayward's excellent solo album Songwriter (1977) ("Raised on Love"), and Lodge's criminally underrated Natural Avenue (1977) ("Carry Me"). The late-'70s re-formation with Octave (1978), "Forever Autumn" from Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds (1978), and Hayward's Night Flight (1980) LP -- with the hard to find "It's Not On" -- are also covered. The Moodies in the '80s were able to rack up even more MOR rockers such as "The Voice," "Gemini Dream," "Your Wildest Dreams," "I Know You're Out There Somewhere," and "Say It with Love." While die-hard enthusiasts might have the odd personal favorite left off, thanks to recent remastering and a better than average tune stack, Collected (2007) is decidedly more desirable an overview than most other available Moodies anthologies.

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