[Review] The Moody Blues: The Magnificent Moodies (1965)

The Moodies began as a British Invasion band, and this is the first act, featuring Denny Laine.

Kronomyth 1.0: The quality of Mersey is not strain’d.

The Moody Blues became a brief sensation in the Winter of 1964 when “Go Now!” topped the UK charts. The following Summer, the band released a full album, The Magnificent Moodies, featuring one side of covers and another side of original songs from Denny Laine and Mike Pinder. Early appearances on British television evoked The Beatles and other British Invasion acts, with the young lads in suits and Laine looking very much like his future employer, Paul McCartney.

There are signs of things to come in the high harmonies, but you’d really have to strain to effect any comparison between this and Days of Future Passed. Denny Laine was the centerpiece of the band in the beginning; when he left, Mike Pinder’s contributions were pushed into the background to make room for Justin Hayward and John Lodge. Initially, however, Laine and Pinder proved to be a pretty good songwriting team. “True Story” and “Stop” are nearly up to the quality of The Hollies and The Beatles, and “Thank You Baby” could have been a contender with different production. (Producer Denny Cordell was only 22 years old, making him younger than most of the bandmembers. That said, he does a solid job on this recording.)

While it wouldn’t be fair to call the first incarnation of The Moodies a one-hit wonder, it’s unlikely they would have had a long future with Denny Laine singing 80 percent of their songs. For example, I would have liked to hear Ray Thomas handle more of the vocals (he does a nice job on the Porgy & Bess number, “It Ain’t Necessarily So”) or Clint Warwick’s voice come up in the mix (their duet on “I’ve Got A Dream” is a highlight). It’s hard to name another debut that has so little to do with the band’s legacy; maybe the first Renaissance album. As was customary at the time, a different version of the elpee was assembled for American audiences and packaged as Go Now. Subsequent reissues of The Magnificent Moodies include extra tracks from the first Moodies lineup; The Magnanimous Moodies, as it were.

Original LP Version

A1. I’ll Go Crazy (James Brown)
A2. Something You Got (Chris Kenner)
A3. Go Now! (Larry Banks/Milton Bennett)
A4. Can’t Nobody Love You (Philip Mitchell)
A5. I Don’t Mind (James Brown)
A6. I’ve Got A Dream (Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich)
B1. Let Me Go (Denny Laine/Mike Pinder)
B2. Stop (Denny Laine/Mike Pinder)
B3. Thank You Baby (Denny Laine/Mike Pinder)
B4. It Ain’t Necessarily So (Ira Gershwin/George Gershwin/DuBose Heyward)
B5. True Story (Denny Laine/Mike Pinder)
B6. Bye Bye Bird (Sonny Boy Williamson)

Expanded CD reissue bonus tracks
13. Steal Your Heart Away (Parker) (2:16)
14. Lose Your Money (Bot Don’t Lose Your Mind) (2:01)
15. It’s Easy Child (Sandler/Bennett/Redd) (3:15)
16. I Don’t Want To Go On Without You (Berns/Wexler) (2:50)
17. Time Is On My Mind (Ragovoy) (2:59)
18. From The Bottom of My Heart (I Love You) (Mike Pinder/Denny Laine) (3:22)
19. And My Baby’s Gone (Mike Pinder/Denny Laine) (2:18)
20. Everyday (Denny Laine/Mike Pinder) (1:44)
21. You Don’t (All The Time) (Denny Laine/Mike Pinder) (2:18)
22. This is My House (But Nobody Calls) (Mike Pinder/Denny Laine) (2:36)
23. Life’s Not Life (Mike Pinder/Denny Laine) (2:36)
24. He Can Win (Mike Pinder/Denny Laine) (2:25)
25. Boulevard De La Madelaine (Mike Pinder/Denny Laine) (2:56)

1992 Expanded CD reissue bonus tracks
13. Steal Your Heart Away
14. Lose Your Money (But Don’t Lose Your Mind)
15. It’s Easy Child
16. I Don’t Want To Go On Without You (Come Back)
17. Time Is On My Side
18. From The Bottom of My Heart
19. And My Baby’s Gone

The Players

Graeme Edge (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Denny Laine (guitars, vocals, harmonica), Mike Pinder (piano, organ, vocals), Ray Thomas (percussion, flute, harmonica, vocals), Clint Warwick (bass guitar, vocals). Produced by Denny Cordell except A3 by Alex Wharton.

The Pictures

Photography by Nicholas Wright. Design by Shirley Scott-James.

The Plastic

Released on mono elpee on July 23/26, 1965 in the UK (Decca, LK-4711). Although it didn’t appear on the other UK charts, NME listed it as the #5 top-selling LP in Britain in August 1965. Go figure.

  1. Re-issued on mono elpee in Germany (Decca, PD 12030) {white-on-black boxed logo label}.
  2. Re-issued on mono elpee in February 1970 in the UK (Decca, LK 4711) {red boxed logo label}.
  3. Re-issued on mono elpee in Australia (Decca, LK 4711) {blue label}.
  4. Re-issued on mono elpee in 1973 in Japan (London/King, SLC-485).
  5. Re-released on expanded compact disc in 1988 in the US (London, 820 758-2) and on June 1, 1989 in Japan (London, P25L 25026) with 13 bonus tracks.
  6. Re-released on expanded compact disc in 1992 in Germany (Repertoire, RR-4232) with 7 bonus tracks.
  7. Re-released on 24-bit remastered compact disc on July 15, 2006 in Japan (AMR Archive, AIRAC-1228).
  8. Re-released on 180g vinyl elpee in 2015 in the UK (Esoteric, ECLECLP 2474).

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