Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre:
The Moody Blues’ Imaginary Tale

Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday feature, albeit a little ahead of schedule.

They began life as a rhythm and blues band in the working class city of Birmingham, in the heart of the English midlands. But after a "one hit wonder" with “Go Now” in 1964, followed by a major defection of key members, what was left of The Moody Blues acquired new personnel, moved south to the County of Surrey outside of London, and reconstituted themselves as something altogether different, and heretofore unknown -- a progressive rock band heavily influenced by classical music.

A pair of would-be biographical works, both in song and music video, forms a part of the mythology of the band. “Your Wildest Dreams” tells the story of a man who remembers his first love. As the years go by, finds himself wondering if she remembers him in the same way. “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere” is the sequel, when the man realizes he still loves her, and vows to "return again" to her.

Legend of a Band - The Story of the Moody Blues is the 1990 documentary of the band which, in this writer's opinion, is one of the most thoughtfully prepared and truly sensitive works of its kind. Four of the band's longest-serving members (drummer Graham Edge, guitarist-singer Justin Hayward, bassist John Lodge, and flutist Ray Thomas) give very heartfelt accounts of their own experiences over the years, such that you hardly notice how little they tell of their personal lives -- marriage, children, and so forth. Nor do you sense the acrimony among them that led to their 1974-77 hiatus. Rather, it is only about the music, although one is left wondering what hidden grains of truth there are in the "imaginary tale."

In the above scene from the 1990 documentary, Hayward describes his inspiration for writing “Tuesday Afternoon.” To this day, only Edge (the only original member), Hayward, and Lodge remain.

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