When Heart frontwoman Ann Wilson reflected on the Moody Blues in an article for Rolling Stone earlier this year, she did not hold back. “The Moody Blues have meant a lot in my soul over the years,” she said. “They are an original – the real thing. It is my honor to pay tribute to them at this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.”
At the podium in Cleveland on Saturday night, she didn’t hold back her love for the “Nights in White Satin” band with a moving tribute to the group. Here’s what the singer, who became a Rock Hall member herself in 2013, had to say about the long-running group.
Human beings of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I’m here this evening to induct the Moody Blues into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Moody Blues took me from childhood to adulthood as a disciple; their philosophical, spiritual, romantic and everyday messages were liberating and challenging to my then-forming mind.
The very few boys who took me on dates in those days were instantaneously upstaged if “Nights in White Satin” or “Dawn Is a Feeling” came on the car radio. And when “Legend of a Mind” was played, the date was usually over because the awkward gropings of earthly boys didn’t seem to resonate like that astral plane.
As a young art student in Seattle at the end of the 1960s, my friends and I digested the Moody Blues’ music while we were reading Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, Steppenwolf, Doors of Perception and Rumi – and seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey and Yellow Submarine between classes. We listened, relistened and discussed the songs for years. When we tripped, we took the Moody Blues along. And when we drew and painted, laid in the sun or stared into a slow-burning candle flame, the Moody Blues’ music was on and we were listening.
When I dreamed and began writing songs of my own, Justin Hayward’s work was my standard of beauty and purity.
In those early days, we students sang their songs in our bedrooms, in bars and out in the fields. Ray Thomas inspired me to play flute in my own band and keep it real.
The Moody Blues are not “cool” or “ironic.” They are not a construct. There is a beautiful, approachable honesty about the poetry, and a natural intelligence in the music. You can lie back and listen to any one of the albums – beginning to end – and go out of the world; you could leave this dimension and sample all the questions, the magic, the romance, the metaphysics, the poetry and the power … and be back the same day singing OMMMM in beautiful three-part harmony. A perfect landing!
In 1967, The Moody Blues made a record that changed the face of popular music and influenced an entire generation of progressive musicians, including Yes, Genesis, ELO and many, many others.
“Days of Future Passed was one of the original ‘concept’ albums that would take rock into the realm of art and introduce philosophy into the rock mainstream.”
For the first time, mellotron was introduced to the rock and roll mainstream and rock married classic orchestra. There was no progressive showboating or self-indulgent, mathematical noodling; just great, classy music that expanded your mind, sang to your heart, took you inward and lifted you higher.
Released the same year as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Days of Future Passed was one of the original “concept” albums that would take rock into the realm of art and introduce philosophy into the rock mainstream. I’m sorry but from then on, “Louie Louie,” for all its anthemic rawness, was no longer enough. The cosmic cat was out of the bag for generations of imaginative, musical seekers who needed their rock to have substance.
All this is beyond impressive and is mind-boggling, but let us not overlook the simple fact that the Moody Blues are, and have always been, a kickass rock band.
From day one, Denny Laine, Ray Thomas, Mike Pinder, Graeme Edge, John Lodge and Justin Hayward hit hard and go way
The Moody Blues are as mind-blowing in concert as on record. They have sold 70 million albums and counting worldwide and they have continued to do so without selling their creative soul for 54 years and counting.
Tonight, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally honors what 70-plus million listeners and counting have known for over half a century.
Ladies and gentlemen, human beings. welcome into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Moody Blues!