THE MOODY BLUES: Long awaited induction in Rock Hall happens Saturday night
The one act being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Saturday night in Cleveland who arguably should have been in already are The Moody Blues.
Eligible since 1989, they were nominated for the first time this year, and their fans made it known they belonged, registering just under one-million votes.
Formed in Birmingham, England in 1964, the original incarnation of the band with Denny Laine on vocals scored a minor hit with their cover of the Bessie Banks song "Go Now."
Unable to capitalize on that little bit of fame, Laine and bassist Clint Warwick left in 1966 and were replaced by Justin Hayward and John Lodge. They, along with founding members Graeme Edge, Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder, set off to create and record original material. That came to fruition with what is often called one of the first concept albums, 1967's The Days of Future Passed. It contains their signature song, Hayward's "Nights in White Satin," which is augmented by the instrument they helped make famous, the Mellotron, the precursor to the synthesizer.
Six more albums followed in the next five years, along with such songs as "Question," "Legend of a Mind," "Lovely to See You," "Isn't Life Strange," "Ride My See-Saw," "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)" and "The Story in Your Eyes."
Elton John on why The Moody Blues deserve to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
"They invented the Mellotron, more or less. It's down to them. You know, they've been around for a long time, and they were great when Deny Laine was with them. They should be there anyway."
The band never got caught up in their omission from the Hall. But when Justin Hayward received the news on a Saturday last December, he soon realized how special it was, as he recounted in January aboard the Moody Blues Cruise.
He says, "I was astounded. I was stunned really. I mean, it's curious how, you know, on the Friday night I couldn't care less really, but on the Saturday the whole world looked different. It was a great thrill, you know. I'm very proud and very pleased."
And for John Lodge, the honor is generational:
"I thought, 'What did it actually mean?' You know because there's all our icons up there in the Hall of Fame, everybody we love, and for me, I just had a vision of my grandson when he's older going with his children to Cleveland to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and going, 'Hey, there's my granddad up there.'
Keyboardist and singer Mike Pinder, who left the band in 1978, will attend, though he is not expected to perform with Hayward, Lodge and Edge.
Sadly, flute player and singer Ray Thomas, who retired in 2002, passed away in January, just weeks after being informed of the honor.
John Lodge on the last conversation he had with Ray Thomas:
"I spoke to him just before Christmas and of course we talked about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And he said to me, typical Ray, 'Hey Rocker, that means we're famous, doesn't it?' And I thought, 'Yeah, that's Ray.' And Ray said to me, 'John, I can't get there. But, I'd love it if you pick up the award for me.' And I said, 'Well, provided you write a few little words I can say on your behalf, of course I will.' To achieve the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you know, I'm glad Ray knew that -- to sort of put a closure on it."
When the honor of being elected for induction was announced in December, it was only going to be bestowed upon Hayward, Lodge, Edge, Pinder and Thomas. But Steve Van Zandt argued for, and the Hall agreed to, the induction of Denny Laine, which was fine with Thomas and Edge.
Ann Wilson, a member of the Hall with Heart, lobbied to induct the band, and she will do just that.
Rounding out the Class of 2018 are the late Nina Simone, the late Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Dire Straits, The Cars and Bon Jovi.
Highlights of this year's ceremony, Saturday night at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, will air on HBO on May 5th.