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One-Step Forum Contest Runner-Up
(Prize: Any one of the 12 CDs listed at: 
http://members.tripod.com/~geo1000/MoodyArtifacts.html )

Submitted to the One-Step forum on Mon, 31 May 1999 12:29:34 EDT
From: Marqo3@aol.com


What The Moody Blues Mean To Me
        by Mark

I was a 16 year old boy when I dove head long into the mysterious,
titillating waters of the music created by the Moody Blues.  When I surfaced,
I viewed the world in a whole new way.  The scales that had blinded my eyes
for so long began to melt away.  My baptism in to the music of the Moody
Blues changed my perspective of life that surrounded me as well as the life
that was sheltered so deep within a 16 year old boy.  That was 30 years ago.
The Moody Blues continue to impact my life in ways no other influence can.

Before I share what the Moody Blues mean to me allow me to share the initial
Moody Blues baptism I experienced so long ago. I believe in divine
intervention.  Here's an example of a decision I made that helped mold me
into the type of man I am today.  I've shared this before, so bear with me.

The Cover Caught My Eye...
     I had never bought a record album without knowing, at least, one of its
songs.  I knew who the Moody Blues were because of "Nights In White Satin,"
"Tuesday Afternoon," and "Ride My See Saw"  but had not pursued them further.
     Then that April day in 1969 while thumbing through record albums at the
local Payless Drug store in Hayward, California I came upon "On The Threshold
Of A Dream."  I picked it up and stared at it.  I looked at the front, then
the back, then the front again.  The deep blue cover design intrigued me so!
Here's what I saw÷
 
· The Establishment Robot's tentacles grasping and choking off life; a rose
in its right tentacle and a tree with a face, on its left tentacle...
· Merlin the wizard, looking on with his magic wand÷
· A White Eagle swooping down upon its prey, the Establishment Robot
· Three ships sailing through foreboding waters÷
· A haunting castled nestled in the west.

        Though the cover intrigued me so, the determining factor to buy this
album "Sound Unheard" was the titles!  The title of the album and the titles
of the songs.  "On The Threshold Of A Dream" was not named after the group, a
member of the group or a particular song.  It had its own title.
      I began reading the title of each song with a keen curiosity.

1. In The Beginning  (Edge)

2. Lovely To See You  (Hayward)

3. Dear Diary  (Thomas)

4. Send Me No Wine  (Lodge)

5. To Share Our Love  (Lodge)

6. So Deep Within You  (Pinder)

7. Never Comes The Day  (Hayward)

8. Lazy Day  (Thomas)

9. Are You Sitting Comfortably  (Hayward, Thomas)

10. The Dream  (Edge)

11. Have You Heard (Part 1)  (Pinder)

12. The Voyage  (Pinder)

13. Have You Heard (Part 2)  (Pinder)
 

     It seemed as though the Moody Blues had a message to share with me and I
had to hear it!  I remember taking this potential treasure to the register
thinking to myself,
 "You've never done this before.  You've never bought a record because of its
cover!"
    I just knew I had something special.  I set the bag in the passenger seat and
began the long journey home (about 2 miles.)  It seemed long anyway.  I kept
looking over at that bag promising myself I wouldn't open it until I got home.
     With anticipation building, I went straight to my bedroom and opened
this very unique package.  I pierced the cellophane and so began the journey.
 My interest peaked when I unfolded the album sleeve (which was unusual for
the time) and found a lyric booklet (which was also unusual.)  I had never
seen so much effort go into the lyrics before.  This was a 12 page,
oversized, script font lyric booklet!
     When I saw the photographs of the Moody Blues I knew this album was on a
higher plane than any other album I possessed!  These guys were not kids
trying to make a fast buck.  Nor was the uniqueness of this album the result
of a producer's ploy to sell records to the unsuspecting public.  These men
were serious about their music, their message and this album.  Their faces
and body language let it be known!  It was like they were challenging me to
step through the threshold and take the journey with them into the beckoning
forest beyond.
     Especially the one in the center (who I later found out was Ray Thomas.)
 He, and the man on the left (Mike Pinder,) had their arms crossed as if to
say,
    "Well?  Are you coming?"
Justin Hayward (2nd to the left) had his hands clasped together as if to say,
     "Come with us, let's do this together!"
And the two on the right, Graeme Edge and John Lodge, with their arms to
their sides, seemed to be saying,
     "We're waiting for you, let's go!"
 I accepted their challenge...  I got comfortable upon my bed and opened the
lyric booklet to follow along.  Then I listened...
     My beginning with the Moody Blues began with "In The Beginning."  The
first 60 seconds of pure travel assured me I had embarked upon an adventure
that would be "Soul Rewarding."  When I heard the "first man" question his
identity, I thought of myself.  I was startled when the "voice of the
establishment" came upon the scene rather abruptly and blurted out "Of course
you are my bright little star... you're magnetic ink!"  Then when his inner
man encouraged him to "face piles of trials with smiles... and keep on
thinking free..."  I knew I was hooked!  What a delightful discovery!
     The song that followed confirmed my earlier suspicions.  "Lovely to see
you again my friend, walk along with me to the next bend."   I was being
invited to travel somewhere I had never been before, and I was being referred
to as a friend.
     I was truly somewhere I had never been before.  Each song had it's own
melody, it's own rhythm, it's own lyrics but they were tied into a bigger
project, the whole album.  There were no breaks, no silence between each
song.  They seemed to entwine around each other.
     The music was so soothing, then exhilarating!  The mellotron, the piano,
the guitars, the flute, the percussion all blending together to reinforce the
message!  I noticed each member of the band was able to contribute to the
message by participating in the song writing.  The different voices who sang
each song led me to believe each songwriter was able to sing his own song,
making the message ever more entrancing.
     The vocals blended together so melodiously!  Their lush harmonies
ensnared me!  I loved the "Ah's" in Dear Diary and Lazy Day, the "oohs" in To
Share My Love and the "let Merlin cast his spell" in Are You Sitting
Comfortably.
    The instrumentation was riveting!  The guitar rifts in Send Me No Wine
amazed me. (I learned Justin's trick later.) The driving drum and guitar beat
in To Share My Love definitely drove home the message.  The yelling at the
end of the song also got my attention.  The guitar, mellotron, flute and
drums in So Deep Within You all had lives of their own.  I marveled at the
mastery of Never Comes The Day; so gentle, then so strong.  I heard the
gentle guitar and mellotron, followed by the definitive drums and hand
clapping!
     I simply floated away with the guitar-flute duet in Are You Sitting
Comfortably!  It was like a warm beam of light had permeated my body and had
lifted me to a higher plane.  I wanted to stay there forever! Then the volume
of the flute grew in intensity and took me into

The Dream

When the white eagle of the North is flying overhead
The browns, reds and golds of autumn lie in the gutter, dead.
Remember then, that summer birds with wings of fire flaying
Come to witness spring's new hope, born of leaves decaying.
Just as new life will come from death, love will come at leisure.
Love of love, love of life and giving without measure
Gives in return a wondrous yearn of a promise almost seen.
Live hand-in-hand and together we'll stand on the threshold of a dream.

     The poetry of Graeme Edge simply blew me away!  A poem on a rock and
roll album!  What a concept!  What a dynamic addition to an already
exhilarating album.  The haunting mellotron in the background gave it even
more impact.
     Have You Heard seemed like a door way into The Voyage.  The Voyage
lulled me into a state of euphoria, then jolted me with bolts of lightning.
(Unless you've heard it, it might be hard to understand what I experienced!)
The "lightning charges" were ones of energy!  Then the piano took me on a
definite road to freedom!  What a charismatic experience!
     Coming out of The Voyage the lyric was sung, "Now you know how nice it
feels..."  I did!  I had never seen, heard or felt anything like it before.
And the ending?  Like the beginning!  Or did it end?  I remember the
phonograph arm lifting up before any silence!!
     Though everything about this album impressed me so; the cover, the lyric
booklet, the photographs, the music, the vocals, the harmonies, the unity...
it was the message that I so appreciated!  At the impressionable age of 16, I
appreciated the message...

    Keep on thinking free...

    Even the score with you eyes...

    If only everybody found the answer in love...

    It takes more than one to give the life we need...

    I want to feel the love so deep within you...

    Give just a little bit more, take a little bit less from each other
tonight...

    Live hand in hand and together we'll stand on the threshold of a dream...

    Now you know that you are real, show your friends that you and me belong
to the same world, tuned on to the same word, have you heard?
 

     Now at 46, I still appreciate the message!  Not a week goes by without
listening to a Moody Blues CD.  It seems as though I can escape and face
reality in one setting.  The Moodies message and music remains just as fresh
and challenging as the first day I heard it!
       The Moodies are very special to me as I know they are to many
thousands of faithful fans.  I thank the Moodies for being such a dynamic
influence on my life.  I could write a book about the past 30 years with the
Moody Blues.  Each album would get it's own chapter!
     I could thank a lot of people for bringing the Moody Blues to all of us,
and I do!  There is one person who I especially am grateful to: Phil Travers!
 His cover painting caught my eye and allowed the Moodies to catch my life!
     Thanks Phil!

So what do the Moody Blues mean to me?  Words seem so inadequate when
attempting to discuss that question.  I view them as a precious treasure.  A
treasure not to horde to myself, but to share with others seeking a respite
from their life's wanderings.  A treasure of knowledge, wisdom and
inspiration awaits those who embark upon the Moody Blues journey.  This
endless treasure continues to inspire my life with great joy, peace and love.
 
The Moody Blues mean motivation to me.  They motivate me to continue on at a
steady pace.  To know it's all right.  I'm encouraged to slowly burn the
candle of life.  To love everybody with all my might and make them my friend.

The Moody Blues mean inspiration to me.  They inspire me to give a little bit
more than I take, to face trials with smiles and negotiate life's twists and
turns with the eyes of a child.

The Moody Blues mean reflection to me.  In those Moody moments when I immerse
myself in the music I reflect upon all those letters I've written and never
meant to send.  I consider how I've been doing my best and realize it's all I
can do.  I take note of my failures and realize that success may be one
failure away thereby blessing the days when I feel strong.

The best way to describe what the Moody Blues mean to me is Musical Mentors.
Through the years they have suggested a particular philosophy in which to
ponder.  I found myself asking the same questions while seeking the same
answers.  And do I dare say it?  They've almost been my spiritual guide.

These Musical Mentors have been with me for 30 years, that's two thirds of my
life.  They have helped me through life's struggles and celebrated with me
through life's triumphs.

Words fail to express what the Moody Blues really mean to me.  However those
who have experienced them in depth can relate.  Musical Mentors is the best I
can do for now.

Mark
 

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