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In the pantheon of classic British progressive rock, while the likes of Yes, Genesis and ELP were critically lauded and even now are hailed as innovators on the genre along with The Nice and King Crimson, somehow The Moody Blues get forgotten about, at least here in the UK.
But the Moodies have a good claim to have been the first prog rock band and to have pretty much invented it. And they were massively popular, a fact that also gets forgotten. From 1968’s In Search Of The Lost Chord to 1981’s Long Distance Voyager, every album they released made the UK top 10 with 3 hitting the top spot. In the same period they had 2 chart toppers in USA and 3 more that made #3 or #2 top.
It was 2003 before they released an album that didn’t chart either side of the pond. In total they sold 70 million records which is more than Yes or ELP, King Crimson and The Nice, so I wonder why they seem a little written out of history.
Perhaps they were not as complex as some, favouring melody over technical shredding, but they were certainly ambitious, being one of the first bands to use the Mellotron. The earlier records are very hippie and very druggie and far out. And are none the worse for that. Maybe they became too middle of the road in the 80s and that lost them credibility. You see their records in all second hand record shops for next to no money, often with elaborate sleeves and artwork. It’s worth picking up any of their output from the 60s and 70s or if you already have them in your collection, digging them out and revisiting the music once again.