The Moody Blues
Listen – The Moody Blues – Fly Me High – MP3
I hope everyone had a fine weekend.
I hope all is well on your end, and that you all dug last weeks podcast. I have a few more already put together and ready to go in the coming weeks.
The tune I bring you today is a 45 that I picked up about 25 years ago. At the time I was already a Moody Blues fan, but had only recently begun to dig the first version of the band, that being the Denny Laine led, decidedly R&B flavored organization that hit with a cover of Bessie Banks’ ‘Go Now’ in 1965.
Thanks to my mod/garage compadres, a few of whom (esp. Mr. Luther) were serious Anglophiles, I was picking up every Moodys 45 that I could get my hands on. A few of these were non-LP tracks recorded after the ‘Go Now’ LP but before Denny Laine left the band, and they were a great look at their evolving sound when they were outgrowing the R&B and soul influence and starting to get a little poppier, well on their way to the land of freakbeat.
It was during that period, while out digging that I happened upon an orange-label 45 by the band that I’d never heard of (or heard) before. When I got it home, fully expecting the voice of Mr. Laine, I was surprised when instead the instantly recognizable voice of Justin Hayward should emit from the speakers.
As it turns out, that song – the one you’re checking out today – ‘Fly Me High’ was the very first 45 by the Hayward-led version of the Moody Blues, recorded in March of 1967 and released two months later.
‘Fly Me High’ is – aside from being an excellent record, dig that ascending bass/piano line – a very interesting artifact of a band on the verge of changing course yet again. Their landmark LP ‘Days of Future Past’ was just about a half a year away. They would drop the compact power of the freakbeat sound (and to be honest, nobody started calling it freakbeat for another 20 years, but freakbeat it was nonetheless) for the more expansive, orchestrated psychedelia that would carry the band into the mid-70s.
It all makes me wish that Hayward had come along earlier. I can only imagine how cool a full album by the band might have been had they been able to craft an entire transitional album in 1966, bridging the early and the later periods of the band. Could it have been the Moody Blues ‘Revolver’?
The world will never know.