"This man said, ‘I’ve brought my wife for a night out and you’re the worst band I’ve seen in my life. You’re crap.’” How the Moody Blues finally came good with Days Of Future Passed

Moody Blues
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As the lavish Moody Blues album Days Of Future Passed turned 55, back in 2022, Prog chatted with John Lodge, Justin Hayward and other key players about the making of the alnum, taking us on a journey into a past that has helped forge the band’s future...

It’s 1966, and pop culture is in transformation. Fashion, art, spirituality and politics make up the UK’s Swinging 60s scene where societal norms are shifting and minds are expanding on a yearly, monthly and weekly basis. In the music world, boundaries are being busted thanks to acts such as The Beatles’ and The Beach Boys’ imaginative compositions and voracious appetite for new recording techniques and equipment. 

But one band in particular aren’t swinging. One band, who’d been riding the crest of a popular wave just two years earlier with their international hit cover of Bessie Banks’ R&B song, Go Now!, are decidedly static. Birmingham five-piece The Moody Blues – featuring Denny Laine (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Mike Pinder (keyboards, vocals), Ray Thomas (vocals, flute, harmonica), Graeme Edge (drums, vocals) and Clint Warwick (bass, backing vocals) – seemed to strike it lucky with their second single release, scoring a British No.1, then a US No.10 followed by a slot on a successful British Invasion package tour and an album on the Decca label, The Magnificent Moodies. 

Having relocated to London, by the end of ’65 the band played the NME Poll Winners concert to 10,000 excitable youngsters and supported The Beatles on their December UK tour. Less than a year on, their management company had folded and disappeared with all the Go Now! royalties and record advance money – leaving the band in debt to Decca – and follow-up singles weren’t connecting so well with the media or the audience. The Moodies definitely had the Blues – and even being managed (very briefly) by Brian Epstein wasn’t making much of a difference.

Warwick was the first to make a change, leaving the group in July to spend more time with his wife and young kid. Next was Laine, in September. Prompted by the Decca debt that they’d inherited and the sense that they should soldier on, Pinder, Thomas and Edge immediately sought two replacements. The first was easily found: Thomas’ friend John Lodge, a young bassist who had fleetingly been in the earliest Moodies line-up, formed by himself, Pinder and Thomas from the ashes of Thomas’ Mexican-suited Brumbeat rock’n’rollers El Riot And The Rebels. Lodge – nicknamed Rocker because of his fast playing and love of boogie-woogie – left the band to finish a course in engineering with a view to going into car design. “They’d said, ‘We’re going to London, do you want to come with us?’” recalls Lodge, speaking from his current home in the US. “But I wanted to complete my studies, so I said no. Eighteen months later Ray called me up and said, ‘Rocker, have you finished your course?’ and I said yes. He then said, ‘Denny’s left the band, could you come and join us? Get down to London straight away and bring your songs!’ So I went down, re-met Graeme, who I knew from Gerry Levene And The Avengers, and that was the start of something new…”

Moody Blues

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Next they needed a lead guitarist, and possibly a lead vocalist too. One night Thomas was in Soho club the Bag O’ Nails with Eric Burdon, who was recruiting for a new Animals line-up. Burdon put a stack of rejected applications Thomas’ way, and a few stood out. But one in particular made an impression – a younger musician, Swindon-born songwriter and guitarist Justin Hayward

Since his mid-teens, Hayward had worked with rock’n’roll star Marty Wilde and his wife Joyce in The Wilde Three, and he was published and managed as a solo act by Lonnie Donegan. His style came more from folk clubs and a love of The Everly Brothers; the 19-year-old had a country- tinged troubadour sensibility. Hayward had been based in Blackheath, south London, but without a steady income had part-time moved back home.

“I’d fired off a demo and a letter to Eric Burdon, because I knew his secretary,” Hayward tells us over Zoom from a tour break in France. “I didn’t expect to hear back, it was just on the off-chance. But then I was in a music shop in Swindon, Duck Son & Pinker’s, and the guy behind the counter said, ‘This bloke says he’s from The Moody Blues and wants to talk to you.’ And it was Mike Pinder. I said, ‘How did you find me?’ And he said, ‘Your phone number’s on the letter you sent to Eric. I spoke to your mum and she said you’d be down here.’”

Pinder – who was sadly unavailable to talk with Prog for this feature – asked Hayward to come and meet him in London. Hayward, of course, knew the group from the success of Go Now! but their activities had dropped off his radar. “Mike, Graeme and Ray wanted to stay together,” Hayward says. “Mike was the most important musically, and he wanted to move it forward. I really liked him and he really liked me.” 

Collecting Hayward by car to take him to the band’s shared pad in Esher, Surrey, Pinder had a 7” record player in the vehicle and put on Hayward’s debut single for Pye, a hyperactive folk-skiffle number called London Is Behind Me. “He’s the one for us,” Pinder thought – and later, Edge, Thomas and Lodge agreed, recognising their own material had started taking tentative steps in a less R&B/beat direction with tracks such as the dramatic From The Bottom Of My Heart and the more whimsical Boulevard De La Madeleine. Hayward also had a Vox AC30 amp, “which was more than they had,” he laughs.

“When the five of us were together at last, I think the other three guys were happy that me and Lodgy were there,” Hayward says. “We looked quite nice, a couple of pretty boys and some serious blokes. It was fun and funny. We had a lot of laughs.”

It’s at this time that another enormous and defining change occurred in the group: the introduction of the Mellotron. A piano-style musical computer where pre-recorded tape loops were fixed to each key, it was being used in social clubs and cabarets across the UK to give any venue access to a pantheon of lead instrument sounds (on the right side of the board) and backing, rhythm tracks (on the left) – effectively, the one-man band idea turned up to 1,000, and the birth of sampler keyboards. 

Mellotrons were the UK version of the portable analogue-sampler Chamberlin organ, developed by US inventor Harry Chamberlin in the 50s. They were bulky, weighed a ton and were very expensive – around £1,000 when they launched in 1962 (nearly £20k today). Made by Streetly Electronics in Birmingham, Mike Pinder had worked as a tester in the factory for 18 months. Pinder hada B3 Hammond, the standard keyboard for many blues and beat bands at the time, but seeing musicians such as pioneering blues organist Graham Bond add the new instrument to his collection, and having experienced the range of sounds you could access –recorded by then-IBC Studio engineers Glyn Johns and Allen Stagg – he really wanted a Mellotron.

Moody Blues

(Image credit: Amazon)

Pinder told Rolling Stone in 2018: “I grew up listening to the music of Mantovani and the layers of rich and melodious string arrangements that were his trademark. The Mellotron enabled me to create my own variations of string movements. I could play any instrument that I wanted to hear in the music.”

By chance, a call came through that a Mark II was up for grabs, and for cheap, from the Dunlop Factory Social Club back home. Pinder snapped it up and it was a hit with Hayward, who said, “It was wonderful, it just made my songs work.” The Mellotron went out on the road with the new Moodies line-up as, uniformly suited and booted, they crammed into a van to fulfil a batch of dates booked into northern clubs during the autumn of ’66.

The band were musically in flux, skint and the Mellotron lent some unpredictability to shows with its wonky, temperature-affected ways. The group did two 45-minute sets, the first of which was R&B and included Go Now! but that was, according to Hayward, “lousy”. The second was 45 minutes of new material that brought Thomas’ flute-playing to the fore. “He played from the heart,” says Lodge, “and it was beautiful.”

“Unfortunately our material went down like a lead balloon,” Hayward remembers, “apart from in the West Country where there was a group of girls that really liked us, and we appreciated their support.” 

But generally, the enthusiasm for the group was getting as stale as 1am scampi-in-a-basket. Hayward recalled, “Our price had dropped to £25 [a night] and we had to put on a bit of a cabaret, adding a few jokes and so on… not really our strong point.”

“One night, after our set at the Fiesta club in Stockton, one of the crowd came and knocked on our dressing room door,” says Lodge. “We thought, ‘Here we go, photos, handshakes’, but it was a man who said, ‘I’ve brought my wife for a night out and you’re the worst band I’ve seen in my life. You’re crap.’”

Torn off a strip by the general public, deflated, and with Hayward’s “bottom lip trembling” the band loaded their gear into the van and drove back down south in silence until they reached Scotch Corner, about 30 minutes later. Graeme Edge piped up from his kipping position at the back of the van, on top of the Mellotron: “That bloke’s right, we are crap,” he said. 

The next day the matching blue suits were ditched; it was time for a new visual, as well as musical, identity. “We said, ‘Let’s get clothes that feel right for the music,’” Lodge says. “Over time, we went to places like Dandie’s in the King’s Road. We got some great outfits! We had to assert our individuality and this is also what drove our music, that expression of personality.” 

The Moodies decided to try to get their act together – “we were going to give it a few months, and see if things worked out once and for all,” says Hayward. The timing coincided with a Belgian promoter, Ricky Stein, reaching out to them to play at his clubs. They’d be based in Mouscron, a city in the north of the country with a thriving live circuit. Close to the border with France, it was a gateway to the rest of Europe for many international rock acts in the 60s such as Jimi Hendrix and the Small Faces. The promoter also extended the offer for the band to stay as long as they liked in the restaurant-hotel Hélène’s, and to use the club for rehearsals.

This is where the Moodies got a rare chance to bond and have fun. They’d sneak across the French border for nights out (“We got to know the border guy and he showed us how to work the gate,” says Lodge) and the band travelled to Paris – where they had large, supportive crowds – for a live show at the Olympia with Tom Jones, and to appear on French TV to play Hayward’s Fly Me High and Pinder’s Really Haven’t Got The Time. The newer material had pace and a bit of zing – possibly down to what caused the ‘high’ in the former’s title – the acoustic guitar becoming more of a feature alongside the band’s harmonies, Mellotron notes and percussive rhythms. Hayward’s song Cities was also being pushed into their set, subtly shifting their direction with a gentle, ecological-themed pop tune. 

Moody Blues

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Back in the UK by the start of 1967, the band had a new live agent, Colin Berlin, but the Decca situation, their debt, hung over them. A single was released in January, Life’s Not Life, confusingly featuring the old line-up, then in March the Moodies entered Decca’s West Hampstead studio with house producer Tony Clarke to record Fly Me High as a 45 backed with Really Haven’t Got The Time

Clarke was a Coventry-born former A&R man for Decca who had been assigned by the label to work with the group. He was calm and affable, but had no production experience. Nevertheless, he eagerly applied himself. Edge told Coventry Live: “Like the band, Tony was young and enthusiastic. We could have stuck with traditional guys but Tony was open to the music and hearing our ideas.”

Clarke told Classic Artists: “I was a staff producer doing sessions every day, you do whatever comes at you.” Nonetheless, as Clarke and the band worked together more, his influence became invaluable – later he would be dubbed ‘the sixth Moody’ for his 12-year run with them. Released in May, Fly Me High didn’t chart, but Hayward felt the song was “a real step forward, and Decca loved it”, and it gained airplay support from radio DJs. 

In the meantime, the Moodies’ old tour mates, The Beatles, had released their psychedelic masterpiece, Strawberry Fields Forever, on February 13. The flute sample intro brought the magical Mellotron sound to millions of new ears. It was Pinder who had enthused to John Lennon and The Beatles about the instrument. “We [The Moody Blues] were always inspired by them,” he told Rolling Stone. “The Beatles were the ultimate explorers [of sounds]. That’s why I had to tell them about it. The Mellotron allowed musicians to explore musical landscapes – and who better to do that than… The Beatles?”

Another feature of Strawberry Fields was The Beatles’ now-familiar use of orchestral instruments such as brass and strings, although they hadn’t utilised a full orchestra on a record – yet. At the end of May, the fully orchestrated opus A Day In The Life appeared on the groundbreaking album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. A conceptual and sonic game-changer for acts and label alike? You bet. 

“To be part of the musical scene in London during that period was amazing, and The Beatles were our leaders, undoubtedly,” Hayward told MusicRadar in 2014. “They showed us the way. Sgt. Pepper and Strawberry Fields and other songs they did at the time – they gave us the freedom to try anything.”

That spring, inspired by the pop scene around them, the Moodies’ sound began to evolve. The band had a variety of live dates and BBC sessions, a chance to promote some new songs alongside the old songs. They had found muses in their youngest members, Lodge and Hayward – particularly Hayward who seemed to always be ready with a song (“I wouldn’t say I have inspiration,” he says. “If I knew we had a session coming up, I’d just put my mind to it.”). At songwriting sessions, everyone could contribute and they’d work together. 

“It was great because we all brought different pieces to the band,” says Lodge. “Ray was a Welsh tenor. He could sing a song but he didn’t know anything at all about chords or structure. But he’d sing it, and we’d work out the structure. It was exciting to do that.”

Sessions often took place at the Moodies’ home in Esher. “[Each member] was really encouraging,” says Lodge. “We’d sit down at this coffee table and we’d talk and talk and talk, maybe not even about songs – the tales that the coffee table could tell [laughs]. But then somebody would say, ‘I’ve got this song’, and play it and we’d say, ‘Oh, I could do this, I could do that.’ All The Moody Blues songs came together that way.” The camaraderie would continue before, during and after recording. “We travelled to the studio together and came back together, and we used to play football in the studio to relieve ourselves of pressure,” he recalls. “And it really worked, because when you say to a musician, cold, ‘Play this’, they may play it, and exactly right, with no feel. But being relaxed, feeling the bond, you’ll get the emotion.”

One time, Hayward turned up with something he’d written the night before after coming home from a gig. He’d been devastated by a break-up, but had found a new love. He’d also been given some white satin sheets by a girlfriend, and used this as a narrative device for what would become one of progressive rock’s earliest and most-loved benchmarks, Nights In White Satin. “I sat on the side of the bed with my old 12-string guitar and that just sort of came out…,” he says. “I’m still writing letters that I don’t send, I’m just looking in my email drafts now [laughs]. I took it to the rehearsal room the next day and played it for them and they were like, ‘It’s alright…’ But then Mike said, ‘Play it again,’ so I did, and he played ‘da da da-da-da-da-daaa’ on the Mellotron. Then everybody went, ‘Oh, that’s good!’”

Nights… is where Hayward’s courtly love-troubadour side really showed. “I was never, never afraid to be romantic,” he says. “I must have looked a right plonker a lot of the time, but that was my job and my style. I only do things from the heart.”

Nights… sat well alongside a song that Pinder had written on his upright piano in his Barnes flat one morning as the sun rose. Called Dawn Is A Feeling, it was “flower-power-influenced,” Pinder stated. “The ‘smell of grass’ was lying in a field… I liked the sentiment of it, and it took five minutes to write.” 

However, the first Moodies release featuring the Mellotron was neither of these, but Love And Beauty, out in September ’67. Written by Pinder, it was backed with Hayward’s Leave This Man Alone. With a slight chanson/French feel to it, the song was more in keeping with the psychedelic and baroque pop of the day – The Hollies’ King Midas In Reverse, Floyd’s See Emily Play, the Kinks’ Two Sisters – with the Mellotron strings lifting it up.

It was good, but its sales weren’t touching the sides of the Decca debt. Hearing Nights In White Satin, Decca’s executive producer Hugh Mendl spotted some sort of crossover potential with the label’s renowned classical department, and a meeting was called with the Moodies to propose an idea. The label had a marketing mission: to flog records made using their lush stereo mix technique, Decca Panoramic Sound, and the radiograms to play it on. Stereo wasn’t new, but mono mixes were popular because they were easy to achieve in the studio and (mostly) sounded good coming from one channel, such as a radio, TV or a Dansette record player with one frontal speaker. 

Stereo promised sonic width, depth and height, even through single speakers, and the Decca Panoramic Sound – soon shortened to Deramic, fitting a new label for the releases, Deram Records – boasted a “wrap-around sound… from side-to-side, back-to-back, wherever you are”. To promote the technique, six easy listening vinyl LPs would be released in the autumn of ’67, with an …In The Night series of recordings. So how about they work with a pop band and create a budget-price demonstration record that showed off the Moodies’ music, augmented by Decca Studio’s in-house musicians, the London Festival Orchestra, tapping into a younger market?

“It was to be based around Dvořák's Symphony No.9, From The New World,” says Lodge. “They wanted us to put lyrics to the melodies. We’d had no hits with them in our new line-up, but we got on with these older, classical-type guys. We felt we could accommodate them.”

a press shot of moody blues

(Image credit: Tony Gale\/ Pictorial Press Ltd \/ Alamy Stock Photo)

Decca Studios was a grand and imposing space. Built in the 1880s, it had been a concert venue and a conference hall. In 1928 it became studios and Decca Records took it over in 1937. It had been the site where The Beatles had notoriously failed their audition for the label on January 1, 1962, and it was where David Bowie, The Zombies and Marc Bolan had recorded their first singles in 1964 and 1965. The studio prided itself on its world-class classical recordings and even Abbey Road was keen to get intel on their famed mic trees and dynamic range recording techniques.

The Moodies looked at working to the brief and took the job on because “we had no other offers,” Hayward says. “We were struggling and we had nothing. God forbid we might have to get a proper job, but we’d do anything to pay for food and the petrol bill.”

Some members of the group did have classical leanings. Lodge recalls being a small child and having ‘quiet time’ at school: “We’d sit in the hall and put classical music on a record player,” he says, “then we also had the CBSO [the City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra]. We’d go to the town hall to listen to them – and the 1812 Overture was my favourite, I liked the dynamism and the cannons going off [laughs].”

Hayward remembers: “It was a time when you’d go round people’s houses, get a bit out of it and listen to Holst’s The Planets suite – if you listen to Jupiter on that record you might hear Days Of Future Passed. Graeme had that record and was into that, and intellectual stuff… Me, I just wanted to groove.”

Their team was made up of producer Tony Clarke, engineer Derek Varnals, executive producer Mendl and arranger Peter Knight. Knight was a 50-year-old orchestral director of note and had worked in the West End and for Granada TV. He would go on to be the orchestral director of The Morecambe And Wise Show for nearly a decade from 1969. His pop and rock CV was slim, with Petula Clark, Sammy Davis Jr and the first Scott Walker album under his belt, but he was keen to not be pigeonholed. Knight surprised everyone by expressing a liking for The Beatles and The Kinks, and after seeing the Moodies play a live club show where Pinder’s Dawn Is A Feeling and Hayward’s Nights… topped and tailed the gig, he spoke to the group about changing tack. “He said, ‘Justy, I don’t think you’re gonna get the two musics to merge together. But I really like your songs. How about we approach Hugh Mendl and we suggest that we do it the other way round?’”

Mendl was filled in, and agreed to pursue “what [the band] would like to do,” he told Classic Artists. 

Graeme Edge later pointed out: “[Hugh Mendl] had something to lose, we had bugger all.”

Conversations between the group with Mendl, Michael Dacre-Barclay – Decca’s head of special projects at the time – orchestrator Peter Knight and producer Clarke grew a concept of a day in the life of an every-man’ that would be called Days Of Future Passed. The band would record their own parts, with the orchestration to take place after.

The band requested full artistic control with no label intrusion – just producer Clarke and engineer Derek Varnals – and a 24/7 lock-in. Previously timings would run 10am-10pm with tea and meal breaks for the lab-coated technicians – although the guys in shirts and ties were valuable counsellors for the band. “They taught us something really good,” says Lodge. “‘Make sure everything is exactly right, musically, lyrically. You have to stand by it.’ They said, ‘In 20 years’ time, if it’s not right it’ll come back to haunt you.’”

“They had wonderful staff engineers,” recalls Hayward. “Their whole ethos was doing everything in this big cinematic picture of wide and proper stereo.”

Looking at longevity, and posterity, Decca label head Sir Edward Lewis was also a supporter and mentor for the group. “He said that he’d wanted us to be the new Mantovani,” says Lodge, a statement that must have thrilled the Mantovani-loving Pinder. “He’d signed him in the 30s and by the 60s he was still selling tons of records. That’s where he saw us.”

“These people had faith in us,” Lodge says. “We respected them and we didn’t want to let them down. The integrity, and the truthfulness, went into the record.”

That October, over two days, the group arrived with fairly succinct song ideas – Hayward’s were already completed – and they seriously hunkered down, writing to deadline, then recording. Clarke recalled: “I remember locking people in a microphone cupboard until they had written a song. Ray loved it. He was allowed tea and biscuits.”

For the lead-in track, Edge composed a poem, Morning Glory, and Mike Pinder narrated it, recording with some intensity “lying on his back in the dark,” says Hayward. “I know because I was with him, staying very quiet [laughs].”

Pinder’s Dawn Is A Feeling was a bluesy ballad with an eerie chill to it before Thomas’ chirpy Another Morning skipped in, augmented by bright flute and a military finale.

Peak Hour was Lodge’s first composition for the record and his “forte”, a fast and frantic dash to the workplace that broke down to a slow hymn of self-reflection before zooming off again. It’s balanced by Hayward’s dreamy Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?), which morphs into another Lodge composition, the melancholy (Evening) Time To Get Away. The penultimate two-parter has a cool raga vibe for Pinder’s The Sunset, then Thomas’ Twilight Time brings a mod-club stomp with pounding piano. To finish, Hayward’s Nights In White Satin, an emotional folk ballad-turned-towering romantic opus thanks to Pinder’s Mellotron and the group’s plaintive massed harmonies (“A natural strength we had,” says Hayward. “Ray’s voice on the bottom, then Graeme, then me, then John on top”) – and this was all before Knight’s swirling orchestral additions. 

“It was a very grand number,” Derek Varnals recalled. “Gentle but dramatic. It was a battle to get it to sound ‘sweet’.”

“We did it in three and a half hours,” Clarke said. “By the end, the control room was packed. It was the first time in my life I thought something was
a stone cold hit.”

And the final piece was another poem by Edge, Late Lament, that lent a poignant, existential – and slightly Twilight Zone – air to the work: ‘Cold-hearted orb that rules the night/Removes the colours from our sight/Red is grey and yellow white/But we decide which is right/And which is an illusion.’

Once the Moodies’ parts were down, Knight tuned in and extracted melodies and themes to link the band and the orchestra. His score was utterly beguiling, thrilling and sometimes a bit frightening, with elements of Gershwin, Rachmaninov, Mendelssohn, Holst, Martin and Blane’s The Trolley Song and maybe, just maybe, a trace of Dvořák's Largo and Allegro from Symphony No.9. Clarke, meanwhile, had invented cross-fading on the recording desk. This gave a near-seamless mix of the two worlds, and it became integral to the Moodies’ sound thereafter.

On completion, that Sunday the group and their partners were invited to a playback at the studios. Hayward recalls, “Tony and Derek had mixed it on the Saturday night. We sat in the studio in the dark and they played it on two big Tannoy speakers. I thought, ‘Oh, great. Nobody’s ever gonna hear it. There’s no hits on it. But it’s nice.’ And we went up the pub.”

Moody Blues

(Image credit: Moody Blues Press)

Days Of Future Passed was not the record that Decca were expecting when the group and a small team of executives met to hear results. “We had a playback, and they didn’t understand it at all,” says Lodge. But the group would also find unexpected support from the head of Decca US: Walt McGuire, or ‘Uncle Walt’ as Mike Pinder called him. “[The label] was going mad,” Pinder told Classic Artists. “Walt said, ‘Give that to me, I can sell it in America.’”

In the US, radio was huge and with the arrival of FM stereo, McGuire could see Days Of Future Passed – and the lead track Nights In White Satin – as perfect partners. 

In the UK, however, radio was going to be an issue as there was – and continues to be – an obsession with the three-minute pop song, which Days… did not contain. “The alternative people got it,” says Lodge. “John Peel, Kenny Everett… and Brian Matthew. Radio Caroline and Luxembourg liked it. But college radio in the US gave
us massive support, as did the big US DJ, Scott Muni, who became a good friend.”

The Days… material would also impact on the band’s live bookings. “We stopped getting some gigs because promoters realised that the music wasn’t necessarily for dancing to,” says Lodge. “We had to tell venues, and clubs, and universities, ‘People can sit and listen…’”

Released on November 10, 1967, as a budget-price demonstration record, sales of the album were slow. Then Nights In White Satin, put out on the same day, climbed to No.19 in the UK – the group’s first Top 20 hit since Go Now!. The Moodies’ profile was about to be built once more, although it would take a few more years. 

In October 2022, John Lodge announced he’ll tour Days… in its entirety in 2023 clearly evaluating its legacy. “At the time, we didn’t think about it having one,” says Lodge. “We just carried on making records, and going to America… then 20 years later we’re getting people coming up to us telling us what Days Of Future Passed meant to them. Then you think, ‘Well, we must have done something different.’

“Now, I can see it as groundbreaking,” Lodge admits, “We set out to write our own music and we kept to that, and we did it. That was the success of it for me. Days Of Future Passed has meant so much to me, and the band. It’s a day in the life of not one person, but of all of us, I think.”

In his sleeve notes on the album’s back cover, Hugh Mendl wrote: “In Days Of Future Passed The Moody Blues have at last done what many others have dreamed of and talked about; they have extended the range of pop music, and found the point where it becomes one of the world of the classics.”

Fifty-five years on, and as the first milestone in The Moody Blues’ impressive progressive catalogue, it opened the portal for other prog bands to dive through and inspired countless peers and future musicians, with King Crimson’s Ian McDonald citing, in 2001, that Days… was the inspiration for acquiring a Mellotron. As for merging rock with classical music? That’s a well-established genre now, symphonic rock.

Hugh Mendl’s statement stands: Days Of Future Passed lives on in the world of classics. 

Jo Kendall

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.