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Moody Blues’ Co-Founder Ray Thomas Dies Before Hall of Fame Induction

So saddened to see that Rolling Stone magazine has reported the death at 76 of Moody Blues co-founder/ flautist Ray Thomas last week. This is yet another example of  why it is bad form for the Rock Hall to wait unmercifully long to recognize these deserving artists.

When the subject of rock star excess and decadence is broached, the last band that could possibly come to mind would be Birmingham England’s Moody Blues. After all singer/ lead guitarist Justin Hayward, bass guitarist/ singer John Lodge, keyboardist Mike Pinder, flautist/ singer Ray Thomas, and drummer Graeme Edge spent their first seven albums searching for Truth with a capital “T” through music, love, and Transcendental Meditation. Yet by the time of their December 1972 album Seventh Sojourn  became a worldwide #1 seller, the enormous success that had supplanted the Moody Blues’ abject poverty immediately prior to releasing 1967’s Days of Future Passed  only five years earlier had transformed their lives. But according to Justin Hayward, it wasn’t always  good.

“I joined the band when I was nineteen,” confesses Hayward.” I did all of my growing up in the band. (By 24) I didn’t have any life ( outside the Moody Blues). I didn’t exist as a person.”

John Lodge remembers vividly a powerful moment on what became the longest, highest-grossing concert tour to date in rock history in 1973-74. “We’d chartered our own Boeing 707 and hired a keyboard player to play (on the huge four-engine jet ) in a disco floor…for just the five of us! We had our own butler. And I remember walking from the front of the 707 to the back restroom…past the organist playing, a bartender making drinks, past a sitting room with a fireplace, past two bedrooms. And when I was in the toilet I thought, “I’ve never been so lonely in my life! This is ridiculous. I don’t really want to be on this plane’ “.

Along with Jethro Tull‘s #1 seller Thick As a Brick   and Close to the Edge   by YES,  the third jewel in 1972’s triple crown of progressive rock, Seventh Sojourn,  comes from the Moody Blues. Rock historians are quick to point out that, with the Beatles two years gone, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin were vying for the unofficial title of World’s Greatest Rock Band forty-five years ago. Yet it’s the Moody Blues who were equaled only by  the Beatles in placing two albums in the Top Five sales chart simultaneously when Seventh Sojourn  went to #1 in the U.S. along with a grassroots radio revival of Days of Future Passed.

Moreover, the Moody Blues’ appeal was so worldwide that they embarked on the longest extended tour in history up to that time, revolutionizing the concert tour industry. However, the price of superstardom from such songs as “Isn’t Life Strange”,”Lost in a Lost World”,”For My Lady”,”New Horizons”, and “I’m Just a Singer in a Rock & Roll Band” turned out to be exceedingly high in karmic cost, as you will here from the Blue Jays, Justin Hayward and John Lodge. –Redbeard