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foxfeeder
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xx 18263 Days.......
« Thread started on: Nov 10th, 2017, 07:32am »

.....of Future Passed!

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the release of the Moody Blues album, “Days of Future Passed” (Or 18263 Days since it was released!)

Often cited as one of the 2 albums that effectively created progressive rock, and it is a strong argument, though there will always be other things that are mentioned in it's evolution (for me, for example, it could be argued that Telstar by The Tornadoes was the first, particularly if you consider the sorts of things that were chart hits in that era, mostly simple rock 'n' roll songs and crooners).

“Days” was a happy accident of a band in the throes of change, having ditched the old blues format which they felt was inappropriate for their background, a stage show that was already evolving around the concept of “a day in the life of everyman” and a record company wanting something doing in return for the waiving of their advance, which their recent lack of chart success suggested was never going to be paid off.

It has been said that the “rock version of Dvorák's New World symphony” story is not true, but that would beg the question: “How did the band get the use of an orchestra for their album when they were struggling to sell singles?” This was 1967, you didn't get to make an album unless you were making money. Whatever the truth, the band were lucky to have the ear of UK exec. Hugh Mendl, and, at the record company playback meeting for the album, US arm chief Walter McGuire said he would release the album whatever the UK did.

It wasn't just the music that was innovative. The album was done in proper stereo. By which I mean not “all the instruments in one speaker, all the vocals in the other.” Much of this rests on the fact that the engineers, primarily Derek Varnals, were experienced in recording classical music, and use of the “Decca Tree”. (Derek later became a bigwig in the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) trade body. Ironically, my friend who introduced me to the Moodies in 1975 ended up working in Trading Standards, and had to attend a BPI meeting about Music Piracy. Derek was chairman, and my friend was all too aware of who he was. During a break, he asked Derek what the band were like to work with. His reply was along the lines of “Really nice guys, but difficult to work with as they were such perfectionists!”)

Incidentally, Deramic sound really was a thing! The full bass and treble was allowed onto the record, no “topping and tailing it” to allow the midrange to be louder for the ubiquitous cheap record players and AM radio. And of course, the proper stereo image, enhanced with extra mic-ing unique to Decca. And yet, while still done in proper stereo, one song on the album was not done in “Deramic sound” as it wasn't recorded with the rest of the album, and hadn't been intended to be on an album. The song? Nights In White Satin, recorded on the 8th of October, with the intention of being a single, whereas band recording for the rest of the album began on October 18th, through to the 27th. The final piece of jigsaw was the Orchestra! Orchestrated by the brilliant Peter Knight who was fed with the songs as they were completed. He wrote the sections to link them, and the opening overture, which was based on the 4 songs they had written before recording began, Nights, Tuesday Afternoon, Peak Hour and Dawn is a Feeling. Recorded in a 3 hour session on November 3rd, this was 1 and a half hours of rehearsal run through, and 1 and a half actually recording it. Of the band, only Justin was present at the orchestra recording.
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onetwothree
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xx Re: 18263 Days.......
« Reply #1 on: Nov 10th, 2017, 08:36am »

on Nov 10th, 2017, 07:32am, foxfeeder wrote:
one song on the album was not done in “Deramic sound” as it wasn't recorded with the rest of the album, and hadn't been intended to be on an album. The song? Nights In White Satin, recorded on the 8th of October, with the intention of being a single... The final piece of jigsaw was the Orchestra! Orchestrated by the brilliant Peter Knight who was fed with the songs as they were completed. He wrote the sections to link them

When I first heard the album, I was surprised to find out that the orchestra and the band never actually play together on it, except briefly toward the end of "Nights" (by which I mean the end of the actual song, not the end of the 7 minute track that also includes "Late Lament").

on Nov 10th, 2017, 07:32am, foxfeeder wrote:
...and the opening overture, which was based on the 4 songs they had written before recording began, Nights, Tuesday Afternoon, Peak Hour and Dawn is a Feeling.

I might have missed something, but I'd be prepared to swear that "Peak Hour" isn't quoted in any of the orchestral sections (and would be the only song on the album that that's true of).
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