Days of Future Passed was the breakout album that introduced music fans of the late 60's to the Moody Blues. It was a concept album, describing the entire life of an everyday person as the everyday life of a person. The atmosphere conveys a feeling that it is set in medieval times. Today, it is one of the most famous and loved albums from the era, often spoken of in the same sentence as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Pet Sounds.
The album was recorded with the London Festival Orchestra, and different tracks vary in how much they use the orchestration. This was one of the very first rock albums to use orchestral backing, which was regarded with great skepticism by the rock industry in general. Rolling Stone magazine accused the album of being pretentious and disastrous in concept, citing the brief spoken word segments at the beginning and end of the album, while praising the rock tracks highly. Other distinctions for this album include it being one of the very first rock albums to be recorded in Hi Fi stereo, as well as being one of the first rock concept albums.
The Moody Blues had previously had some small successes, but with the brilliant albums being released by other groups of their era, they were given a challenge to meet. The album was recorded in England in 1966. The band recorded the tracks and sent them to Peter Knight, who composed the orchestral backing.
The tracks blend together magnificently, and the album truly works as an album, rather than a collection of independent songs. The instrumentation is extremely varied over the course of the album, ranging from flutes to electric guitars to strings. Two tracks from the album became popular singles, Nights In White Satin (which became something of a prom anthem of the era) and The Forever Afternoon (Tuesday), a.k.a. Tuesday Afternoon. Many regard the latter to be the best track the Moody Blues have ever recorded.
The album was released in 1968, and lasted on the Billboard charts for two years, eventually peaking at #3. The way the music blends from orchestral pieces reminiscent of Brahms or Bernstein, to sixties psychedelic, to folk, to pop, to rock, is done so well that it has remarkably withstood the test of time, and is very listenable and accessible even today. It is consistently placed on newly created lists of "most progressive" or "best classic rock" albums. All of the members of the band contribute vocally, and the voices mesh together remarkably when they are all present. Over all, not bad for a group of nineteen year-olds.
- The Day Begins
- Dawn: Dawn Is A Feeling
- The Morning: Another Morning
- Lunch Break: Peak Hour
- The Afternoon:a) Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?) b)(Evening) Time To Get Away
- Evening: a)The Sunset b)Twilight Time
- The Night: Nights In White Satin