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The Actor - the Moody Blues

Back to the idea of albums. After their UK number one "Go Now" and having failed to successfully follow it up, lead singer and guitarist Denny Laine left the Moody Blues in 1966 to be replaced by Justin Hayward with John Lodge also joining at the same time to complete the classic line-up.

They then released the groundbreaking "concept" album "Days of Future Past" which featured rock music merged with classical, provided by the London Festival Orchestra, and including "Nights in White Satin". The success of this album set them off on a recording journey that saw them produced 8 concept albums in the next ten years with phenomenal sales on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Moody Blues were the first major group to decide to make their living exclusively from album sales which is extraordinary considering the uneven quality of their songwriting output. The albums included lots of naf poetry and cod philosophy with songs from all five members of the group. What pulled them through was the consistently high quality of the work of Justin Hayward and John Lodge, particularly the former. I always thought that something extraordinarily sad must have happened to Mr Hayward in his youth, because of his enduring ability to somehow touch the heartstrings. Often his songs move in a heartbeat (literally) from the gentle delivery of a simple ditty to a moment of sublime intensity and moving emotion. He is always lyrically strong and his flights of musical ascension can leave the listener in a state of grace and peace.

Very Moody Bluesy you might say, full of portentous meaning, but that's the point, his songs are usually very down to earth with everyday life and love as their subject unlike those of his bandmates. And all the more powerful for all that. Take "The Actor" from "In Search of the Lost Chord" as a typical example specifically at the point where the song pauses after the words "...the only truth we know comes so easily...."

then the lovely moment - you're hit by a melodic sentence so beautiful that you feel that you have always known it, an expression of sadness deep from your past, the echo of lost loved ones that will always haunt you. I kid you not.

"The sound I heard in your hello....."

That's the moment, the uplifting line crescending in "hello", startling in its musical beauty; it is the epicentre of the whole song, making what came before and comes afterword an expression of light. Which is the point, the moment where he meets her is that same point in his life.

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