Song of the Week – Strange Times, Moody Blues

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

The Moody Blues were finally inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on April 14, 2018.  In the opinion of their multitude of fans, it was long overdue.  Other perennial “bridesmaids” have also crossed the finish line in recent years — Yes (2017) and Chicago (2016).  That leaves Todd Rundgren as one of the last artists that have been wrongfully omitted, though you may also have a favorite that is still in waiting.

But back to the Moodys.  One thing you have to say about them is that they have been very consistent with their sound.  They hit with “Go Now” soon after their formation in 1964 and settled on their classic lineup – Graeme Edge (drums), Mike Pinder (keyboards, vocals), Ray Thomas (vocals, flute, percussion, harmonica), Justin Hayward (guitar, vocals), John Lodge (bass, vocals) – by 1966.  This is the group that recorded their catalog of well-known albums, from Days of Future Passed (1967) to Seventh Sojourn (1972).  Beyond the ‘70s, the band in various configurations recorded high quality releases.  Some even yielded hit singles like “Gemini Dream” and “The Voice” (1981) and “Your Wildest Dreams” (1986).

Today’s SotW is the title track from the 1999 release, Strange Times.

This song is well played by the classic lineup, less Mike Pinder.  A highlight is their use of acoustic guitars and (as always) the harmony vocals.  The lyrics are hokey, hippy gibberish, but hey, this is the Moody Blues.

This was the last album that included the work of Ray Thomas.  Thomas died just after the New Year 2018, so he missed the band’s Rock Hall induction.  Too bad.

Enjoy… until next week.

Honey Lantree has died.

The Honeycombs were an English beat band from the early 60s, with jangly guitars and catchy tunes, good looking guys in suits and, surprisingly, a female drummer, Honey Lantree, who died in 2018 just before Christmas.

According to the NY Times obituary, Anne Lantree showed up for her guitar lesson, sat down at the drum kit in the studio and was such a natural that she was soon asked to join the Sheratons, an amateur band that then changed it’s name to the Honeycombs after Lantree changed her first name to Honey.

The Honeycombs were gifted with the perfect and enduring Have I The Right? by its songwriters, Alan Blaikley and Ken Howard. Have I the Right? is a pounding love song that I would say is not so much beloved by daylight, but is shouted along with, feet stomping, in any bar or pub that nears closing time. Which makes it near perfect, some of the time.

Have I the Right? topped out at No. 5 in the US and No. 1 in the UK. 

The Honeycombs had one other hit, That’s the Way, on which Honey shared vocals with regular singer Dennis D’ell.