Days of Future Passed Revisited

Sometimes the darkness is all in our heads or our fogged memories.

I came across the lyrics to the Moody Blues Days of Future Passed and found the opening spoken verses tinged darkness. When the album first came out (1967-68) I do not remember it being so dark, but then again, darkness and light, indeed darkness and love were a swirling mix in those years; at least where I was hanging my psyche.

Cold hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colours from out sight
Red is gray and yellow, white
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion

Pinprick holes in a colourless sky
Let insipid figures of light pass by
The mighty light of ten thousand suns
Challenges infinity and is soon gone
Night time, to some a brief interlude
To others the fear of solitude

I began to wonder if Days of Future Passed was indeed as dark as my memory hinted or was this another case of time and place where lyrics were refocused by the listener. Would this be an appropriate offering for Halloween week or another muddled memory. You decide which is right, but I would offer than this feeling does justice to the dark week.

First, I read the lyrics for the entire album and discovered that I had never done that before. I wondered why such a seminal album that had a huge impact when it was released never got a liner notes read from me. Most albums back then certainly were so inspected and resurrected. It turns out that it may have been the orchestration that had the impact and not the words.

This from CDUniverse.com:

Days of Future Passed is the Moody Blues' true contribution to rock history: the most cohesive integration of rock songs with orchestral music ever produced. Asked by Deram Records to create a rock reworking of Dvorak's "New World" Symphony, the Moodies instead wrote their own symphony, a song cycle that describes the emotions that accompany each part of the day, from dawn ("Dawn Is A Feeling") to night (the classic "Nights In White Satin"). The songs are connected by lush orchestral passages in which the basic musical themes are reworked.

The Moody Blues: Justin Hayward (vocals, guitar); Ray Thomas (flute, harmonica); Mike Pinder (keyboards); John Lodge (bass); Graeme Edge (drums). Additional personnel: London Festival Orchestra. Peter Knight (conductor).

Not so dark, these many years later. It was interesting to me to discover that the album really didn't hit big time until five years after its release (1967-1972). My memories are of a dark, rainy night on Lovell Street. Warm and snug in the attic with the album, several joints and fine friends from days of future past.

Maybe I should have gone with Slippin' Into Darkness as the anthem for this week, but you gotta remember, Timothy Leary's dead. He's outside looking in. All of these thoughts on a Tuesday Afternoon.
Original Album Art