The Moody Blues, at the height of their popularity and creativity, put on a concert that totally entranced their audience on a hot August night on England’s Isle of Wight. This is the legendary much talked-about 79-minute, 11-song performance that launched Classical Rock.
Now, Eagle Rock has released two terrific DVD’s on the group; “Live At The Isle Of Wight” and “Live At Montreux/1991,” that document their ground-breaking music.
Believe it or not, my very first job in the music business was working for The Moody Blues … or, as they liked to refer to themselves, The Muddy Boots.
Justin Hayward and John Lodge, the two main-Moodys, were among the nicest people I ever met in this halcyon business. They were just downright great guys.
Drummer Graeme Edge and vocalist Ray Thomas were great, too. Thomas was the more restrained; Edge, always over the top fun.
At the end of August 1970, shortly after the release of their album A Question Of Balance, The Moody Blues took to the stage of the Isle Of Wight Festival in front of an audience estimated at over half a million.
One of its most famous lineups occurred in 1970, with such acts on the bill as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Jethro Tull, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson, Sly and the Family Stone, The Doors, The Who and The Moody Blues.
The Blues formed in Birmingham, England in the early ’60s and were immediately successful, going to No.1 with their second single “Go Now” (performed while Denny Laine was part of the group).
As the sixties progressed, their music evolved into a lusher, more progressive sound, fusing classical music and hard rock.
With the arrival of Hayward and Lodge, their line-up came together and produced the masterpiece Days Of Future Passed, which contained their classic hit singles “Nights In White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon.”
Between 1967 and 1970 they released five albums, four of which hit the Top 5 in the UK with two of them going to No.1. They enjoyed similar success in the United States, where four albums hit the Top 20.
Today, The Isle Of Wight Festival still stands as one of the biggest events in rock history. The Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 DVD essentially traces twenty years of The Blue’s incredible live shows, proving that these songs stand the test of time.
The Live at Montreux disc features such classic tracks as “Question,” “Nights In White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon,” “Legend Of A Mind,” “Ride My See Saw,” “I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band),” and “Your Wildest Dreams”;
Bonus material includes a 20-minute documentary keying in on the behind-the-scenes machinations that took place before, during and after this remarkable event.
Years after my tenure with them, I had occasion to bump into Hayward at the studios of classic-rock station Q104.3. Not only did he remember me, but we posed for a picture. It is a very treasured prize for me. If you’re a fan, both these discs are required viewing.
Names in the News
Jim Kauffman, Mark Bego, Peter Abraham,Tom & Lisa Cuddy, Rod West, Victor Kastel, Jimmy Sabitini, Angelo Babbaro, Steve Walter, David Salidor, Donna Dolenz, Tyrone Biljan, Harrison Jordan, Ken Dashow, Theresa Chambers, Phil Gallo, Roy Trakin, Brad LeBeau, Glenn Friscia, The Inn At Saratoga.