Apologies to all for the lack of newsworthy posts this weekend. The Lynnrockets were busy attending a lavish Halloween party at the Belcourt Castle in Newport, Rhode Island. New Englanders take their Halloween rituals very seriously in light of the Salem Witch Trials and the large Irish population (Halloween is actually an Irish Pagan ritual). The castle itself is the third largest mansion in Newport and is a private residence with only one occupant remaining and is presently for sale. Perhaps this is the Rhode Island property that Sarah Palin was rumored to be interested in. The photos above are from this weekend’s party.
Now for the music byte…
The first incarnation of The Moody Blues formed on 4 May 1964, in Erdington, Birmingham, England. Ray Thomas, John Lodge, and Michael Pinder had been members of El Riot & the Rebels, a regionally-popular band. They disbanded when Lodge, the youngest member, went to technical college and Pinder joined the army. Pinder then rejoined Thomas to form the Krew Cats and enjoyed moderate success. The pair recruited guitarist/vocalist Denny Laine, band manager-turned drummer Graeme Edge, and bassist Clint Warwick. The five appeared as the Moody Blues for the first time in Birmingham in 1964. The name developed from a planned sponsorship from the M&B Brewery and was also a subtle reference to the Duke Ellington song, “Mood Indigo”.
Soon, the band obtained a London-based management company, ‘Ridgepride’, formed by ex-Decca A&R man Alex Murray (Alex Wharton), who helped them land a recording contract with Decca Records in the spring of 1964. They released a single, “Steal Your Heart Away” that year which made it onto the charts. But it was their second single, “Go Now” (released later that year), which really launched their career, being promoted on TV with one of the first purpose-made promotional films in the pop era, produced and directed by Wharton. The single became a hit in the United Kingdom (where it remains their only Number 1 single to date) and in the United States where it reached #10.
Denny Laine left The Moody Blues in 1966, well prior to hitting stardom. He then formed and toiled with a number of obscure bands through 1970. In 1971, Denny joined Paul McCartney to found the group known as Wings, and would stay with them for a full ten years until they officially disbanded in 1981; Denny provided lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals, keyboards, bass, writing and co-writing skills, as well as being a solid solo performer. Together with Paul and his wife, Linda, they formed the nucleus of the band, being called that “strange, 3-winged beast”. It was with Wings that Denny enjoyed the biggest commercial and critical successes of his career, including co-writing the smash hit “Mull of Kintyre”.
Here are the early Moody Blues featuring Denny Laine as lead singer performing, Go Now.