This Dutch compilation approaches the Moody Blues' career from an unusual angle. Although scoring three Top Ten hits in its native U.K. and another three in the U.S., the group is known primarily as an album act, having reached the Top Ten of the LP charts six times in Britain and eight times in America. During their initial period, 1964-1966, when Denny Laine was the lead singer, they were a singles band (as all rock & roll performers were then), but they had only one hit single, "Go Now!" Their real success came with the release of the album Days of Future Passed in 1967. By compiling all (well, almost all) of their A-side singles, the makers of this two-CD set have created not only a greatest hits collection, but also a rarities album. That is because, of the Moody Blues' first ten U.K. singles, only "Go Now!" and both sides of their sixth single, "Stop!"/"Bye Bye Bird," were included on their 1965 debut album. A 1993 CD reissue of that album added the singles "Steal Your Heart Away" and "I Don't Want to Go on Without You," included here, but that still leaves six tracks included on the present collection -- "Everyday," "Boulevard de la Madeleine," "This Is My House (But Nobody Calls)," "Life's Not Life," "Fly Me High," and "Love and Beauty" -- that have not been much heard since their release as British singles in 1965-1967. The last two titles date from after the reconfiguration of the band in 1966 with the departure of Laine and Clint Warwick and the recruitment of Justin Hayward and John Lodge, and represent the first recordings of the band's most successful lineup. All of this is to say that The Singles+ should be sought out by Moody Blues fans who don't know this early material. The changeover in style after the first ten tracks on the first CD, from a blues-based group to more of a folk-pop one, is so extreme that this is one band that probably should have changed its name when its personnel changed, and it's no surprise that the later group has suppressed its early music ever since. From the appearance of the 13th track on the first CD, the second lineup's biggest hit "Nights in White Satin," The Singles+ plays as a standard compilation of the Moody Blues' most familiar tracks. The compilers add a couple of album-only songs from On the Threshold of a Dream and include hits by the duo of Hayward & Lodge and by Hayward solo during the band's mid-'70s hiatus. Songs that became American but not British hits, such as "Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon)" and a series of U.S.-only 1980s singles like "Gemini Dream" and "Your Wildest Dreams," have also been included. Discographies list a non-charting 1984 single release of "Under My Feet" from The Present that seems to have escaped the compilers' attention, but otherwise this is a thorough collection of Moody Blues singles that outdistances comparable domestic compilations.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2