The first biography about the Moody Blues, the founders of symphonic rock, has been published by Jacobs/Brown Press. Long Distance Voyagers: The Story of the Moody Blues takes an in-depth look at the group’s extraordinarily successful career, over which they have sold roughly 80 million records, scoring Top 20 hits in four different decades, including several No. 1s.
The book’s release is perfectly timed: the Moodies are touring America throughout January, 2018, celebrating of the 50th Anniversary of their innovative album, Days of Future Passed, and its chart-topping single, “Nights in White Satin.” Both were issued in North America in early 1968. And, this April, the Moodies will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Author Marc Cushman related, “The Moody Blues first topped the charts in 1965 in the U.K., with the single ‘Go Now!’ But their true breakthrough came in early 1968, with Days of Future Passed – the first LP to combine rock with orchestral music, creating the ‘symphonic rock’ genre.
Days was also the first rock concept album, followed by other Moodies concept albums such as In Search of the Lost Chordand To Our Children’s Children’s Children. The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, released only months before Days, didn’t have a central theme throughout, as the Moodies’ albums did.”
The Moody Blues also pioneered the Mellotron, a keyboard instrument which could emulate an orchestra, enabling them to reproduce their symphonic rock on stage. Moodies’ member Mike Pinderintroduced the Mellotron to the Beatles, which was featured on the classic single, “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Prior to that, the two groups had toured together.
Cushman, who received a Saturn Award in 2014 for his three-book series, These Are the Voyages – Star Trek: The Original Series, spent all of 2017 researching and writing the two-volume Moody Blues biography. Volume 1 is 800 pages in length, covering the band’s history through the 1960s and ’70s.
Volume 2, scheduled for later in 2018, focuses on the 1980s and beyond. Both volumes feature hundreds of photos, and contain new interviews with Moody Blues founding members Mike Pinderand Ray Thomas. Sadly, Thomas died on January 4, 2018, after a heart attack.
“The Moodies were the first rock group to regularly feature the flute – played by Ray Thomas. Like the other Moodies, he was a gifted songwriter and a consummate performer.
This book documents the Moodies’ role as one of the most significant rock bands of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. Their influence is still being felt; the introduction of the Mellotron alone changed the course of rock music. Bands such as Yes, the Electric Light Orchestra, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, and Genesis are in debt to the Moody Blues for this and other musical innovations.”