2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Moody Blues ("The Voice," "Question") participated in a Sessions Q&A at the Rock Hall in Cleveland yesterday (April 12) as part of the week-long festivities leading up to this weekend’s Induction Ceremony at Cleveland’s Public Hall.
The “Ride My See-Saw” rockers sat in with Rock Hall VP of Education Jason Hanley and Sirius XM’s Alan Light on Klipsch Audio Main Stage Thursday evening for an hour-long discussion about their formation, influence, and impact on popular music over the last five decades. The interview was conducted before a live audience of fans, Rock Hall supporters, donors, and other high-rollers who crammed into the Hall’s glass-encased atrium on E. 9th Street, and was streamed live on the Rock Hall’s website and Facebook page.
The video stream will run on those sites—and on Sirius XM—all weekend long.
Joining Hanley and Light were longtime Moody members Justin Hayward (guitar, vocals), John Lodge (bass, vocals), and founding member Graeme Edge (drums). All three Moodies fielded questions from the hosts and their fans, who submitted queries beforehand via social media.
The Moodies will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Heart vocalist (and 2013 inductee) Ann Wilson. Other 2018 inductees include ‘80s rockers Bon Jovi (“Dead or Alive,” “You Give Love a Bad Name”), new wave pioneers The Cars (“Just What I Needed,” “Shake It Up”), guitar legend Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits (“Sultans of Swing,” “Money for Nothing”), super soul-singer Nina Simone (“I Put a Spell on You”), and “early influence” Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
Hayward, Lodge, and Edge gave candid responses about the band’s early days in Birmingham, their slow rise to fame, and their “second chance” at success in the MTV-dominated Eighties. Hayward recalled the words of a middle-aged mother to her son upon seeing the band members walking the street early one morning.
“See there son, that’s how you do it. If you want to make it in the world and buy a fancy lorry (car), you’ve got to get up early and work for it!”
What the woman didn’t know, said Hayward, was that the Moodies weren’t heading to work. They were on the way home from a long night out.
Edge—who wore a colorful ensemble with matching blue socks—remembered backing Sister Rosetta Tharpe in one of his earlier bands, and shared memories of “Go Now” singer Denny Laine, who went on to join Paul McCartney in Wings.
Laine will be inducted with the Moodies along with former members Mike Pinder (keys, organ, Mellotron), who retired in the late ‘70s, and Ray Thomas (flute)—who recorded and toured with the group into the new millennium.
Sadly, Thomas passed away in January.
Hayward and Lodge revitalized the Moody Blues upon their arrival in 1966, steering the group away from the simpler Magnificent Moodies R&B style to a more complex, emotionally-charged aesthetic that embraced orchestral sounds and keyboard technology (courtesy Pinder). The guys reminisced about how they hijacked sessions for their breakthrough album Days of Future Passed by transforming them from “symphonic rock” assignments from Decca label execs into a cohesive progressive rock masterpiece.
Several cuts from that album—such as “Nights in White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon,” and “Peak Hour”—still feature in the band’s concerts today.
The band’s latest concert film, Days of Future Passed Live, is being shown on repeat in the Rock Hall’s Foster Theater all week, courtesy Eagle Rock Entertainment. Recorded live in Toronto last year on the occasion of that LP’s golden jubilee, Days captures the Moodies playing the 1967 album front-to-back…and several other hits.
When Edge was asked what he’d have done if the Moodies hadn’t taken off, the white-haired gent paused for a moment.
“I’d have joined the navy!” he quipped.