028: The Moody Blues - To Our Children's Children's Children (1969)
“It was a very exciting time. Man had just gone to the moon and we thought of the album as a sort of time capsule - all our thoughts and feelings about living in such an epoch-making era.”
We are commemorating the 50th anniversary of two world-changing events: the Apollo 11 moon landing and the release of To Our Children’s Children’s Children, the Moody Blues album it inspired. Dense but accessible, spine-chillingly beautiful, and toweringly ambitious, To Our Children’s Children’s Children pushed the band’s sound as far as it could possibly go. The five of us on this episode think it's their very best creation, and we tried hard to convey why we love this music with all our hearts. We can't fully explain what it means to us in a mere two and a half hours, but we sure tried.
This is a supersized episode to match the album’s supersized importance in our lives.
We took a lot of information about how the album was recorded from Higher and Higher, a now-defunct Moody Blues fanzine, specifically the Summer 1995 issue.
The original album title was Legacy, which conveys the same idea but not nearly as poetically.
This fantastic album about space travel has actually been to space! The Apollo 15 astronauts took it with them on cassette.
“Fly Me High” also appears on a funny little compilation called The Singles +, which features all of the band’s singles from “Go Now” through “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” in their radio edit forms (including “Candle of Life,” which we neglected to mention was released as the B-side to “Question”).
“Higher and Higher” takes a long time to get going, so to keep the clip at a reasonable length, Producer Mike waved his magic wand and shortened the rocket intro. In reality it goes on for about three times that long.
Mike did a great job of explaining the Mellotron, but you might also enjoy this visual demonstration. The Mellotron was so weird.
We really love the image we inadvertently created of most of the band sitting around on the new planet, earnestly discussing cosmic love, while Ray Thomas bounces around outside yelling, “YOU GUYS HAVE TO TRY THIS ROCK CANDY, IT’S AMAZING!!!!!”
Quadrophonic sound was an early version of modern 4.0 surround sound and wasn’t very successful. It required a relatively sophisticated stereo system to play, plus quadrophonic mixes were very difficult to do on vinyl. It never really took off the way record companies thought it would.
Producer Steven Wilson, formerly of the band Porcupine Tree, just announced a release date for his remix of Jethro Tull’s Stormwatch. Because they can’t help themselves, Phil and John actually care very much.
Amanda was waving her hands in the air to demonstrate fulcrums while she tried to make that failed metaphor, but you guys can’t see that. The word she was looking for was “tilts.”
That strange mimed performance of “Candle of Life” can be found here. These are some of the points we noticed about it:
Ray Thomas pretends to play the flute. We’re still pretty sure there’s no flute in that song.
Mike Pinder is pretending to play the piano line on a Hammond organ.
John was evidently right about Lodge singing backup, which Amanda feels very silly about because it’s Lodge’s song and he’s the world’s greatest backup singer, OF COURSE it was him.
Ray’s pants are bizarre and amazing.
At one point Justin Hayward scratches his nose with one hand while pretending to strum his guitar with the other.
This performance makes no sense.
Amanda underestimated the amount of studio time it took to make this album. It was more like three weeks.
While we were talking about which other songs might have fit in place of “Watching and Waiting,” both Amanda and John thought “What Am I Doing Here” might work with slightly different lyrics, but neither of us brought it up. You can listen to it here and tell us what you think.
Since recording this episode, Mike has gone ahead and bought In Search of the Lost Chord, because it might be uneven but the best songs are too good not to have around. Although he still thinks it’s pretty ridiculous that the Lost Chord is apparently (spoiler) E major.
These are the albums ahead of To Our Children’s Children’s Children on the Billboard chart the week this one peaked. They’re good albums, although Amanda does take issue with In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.
Phil was right - Seventh Sojourn did indeed make it to #1 in the United States (but only #5 in England).
The stinger is based on this Looney Tunes commercial from the ‘90s.
At this point, you would be justified in thinking Amanda can only talk about T-Bone Burnett productions and Moody Blues albums from 1969, but she has a big surprise in store for her next episode.
Michael Pinder Exclusive: The Moody Blues Founder Admits to Seeing UFO Formations (Classic Rock Here and Now)
The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock by Dave Weigel (Amazon affiliate link)
The Labels that Built Prog: Threshold Records (Louder Sound)
The complete Higher and Higher archives (Tapatalk)
Discord & Rhyme roll call
Amanda Rodgers (host)
Chris Willie Williams (moderator)
To Our Children’s Children’s Children tracklist
Higher and Higher
Eyes of a Child I
Eyes of a Child II
I Never Thought I’d Live to Be a Hundred
Out and In
Gypsy (Of a Strange and Distant Time)
Candle of Life
Sun Is Still Shining
I Never Thought I’d Live to Be a Million
Watching and Waiting
Other clips used
The Moody Blues:
Fly Me High
Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)
Ride My See-Saw
Legend of a Mind
So Deep Within You
Sun Ra - Space Is the Place
King Crimson - Epitaph
Songs we mentioned but didn’t clip
The Moody Blues:
Nights in White Satin
In the Beginning
Nice to Be Here
I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)
Dr. Livingstone, I Presume
Hole in the World
Have You Heard, Pt. 1
Have You Heard, Pt. 2
Never Comes the Day
Lovely to See You
House of Four Doors, Pt. 2
Gimme a Little Somethin’
Please Think About It
Long Summer Days
King and Queen
What Am I Doing Here
The Beatles - All Together Now
The Beach Boys - We’re Together Again
Genesis - Looking for Someone
Simon and Garfunkel - Bookends Theme
Pink Floyd - Pigs on the Wing
Gustav Holst - The Planets
Yes - Starship Trooper
The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever
Radiohead - Exit Music (For a Film)
David Bowie - Big Brother
Nine Inch Nails - Closer
The Beatles - All You Need Is Love
Pink Floyd - Speak to Me
The Archies - Sugar, Sugar
Johannes Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor
Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 3
King Crimson - In the Wake of Poseidon
Justin Hayward - vocals, guitars, sitar
John Lodge - vocals, bass guitar, harp, acoustic guitar
Ray Thomas - vocals, flute, tambourine, bass flute, oboe
Graeme Edge - drums, percussion
Mike Pinder - vocals, Mellotron, piano, EMS VCS 3, Hammond organ, acoustic guitar, celesta, double bass
“Discord & Rhyme (theme),” composed by the Other Leading Brand, contains elements of:
Amon Düül II - Dehypnotized Toothpaste
The Dukes of Stratosphear - What in the World?? ...
Faith No More - Midlife Crisis
Herbie Hancock - Hornets
Kraftwerk - Autobahn
Talking Heads - Seen and Not Seen
The Moody Blues - Sun Is Still Shining (this episode only)
You can buy or stream To Our Children’s Children’s Children and other albums by the Moody Blues at the usual suspects such as Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, and Amazon [affiliate link]. Follow Discord & Rhyme on Twitter @DiscordPod for news, updates, and other random stuff. Follow Amanda @MagneticInk67, John @tarkus1980, and Phil @pamaddox. Mike and Will have recently left to colonize another planet and are therefore not on Twitter. Special thanks to our own Mike DeFabio, the Other Leading Brand, for production, editing, and fulfilling his life’s purpose by explaining the Mellotron to all of us. See you next album, and be ever wonderful.