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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of The Moody Blues

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Album Review

With the release of the Moody Blues entry in Universal Music Group's 20th Century Masters/The Millennium Collection series of budget-priced best-ofs, the veteran British group has in its catalog a compilation for every level of interest and financing. For those who want it all in one package, there's the four-CD box set Time Traveller; less complete but still comprehensive is the two-CD Anthology; the CD-era single-disc hits collection is 1997's 17-track The Best of the Moody Blues (not to be confused with the 1985 LP Voices in the Sky/The Best of the Moody Blues); and for those on a budget, there's this 11-track overview of the group's hit singles. Chart watchers will note that while nine of the Moody Blues' 13 American Top 40 hits are included, three — "Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon)," "Isn't Life Strange," and "Sitting at the Wheel" — are missing, while two less successful singles — "Ride My See-Saw" and "Blue World" — have been included. (It's barely worth mentioning that the Moody Blues' first hit single, "Go Now," made by a very different lineup of the group, is not here, either.) Maybe that's the difference between a best-of and a greatest-hits: You can substitute a popular song like "Ride My See-Saw," which wasn't that big of a hit, for a less-well-remembered but higher-charting song. In any case, those who miss the other hits can go for one of the more expensive sets (though, come to think of it, "Sitting at the Wheel" isn't on The Best of the Moody Blues, either). It's also worth noting that the Moody Blues, who scored only four Top Ten hits between 1965 and 1986, while releasing 11 gold or platinum albums during the same period, have always been more of an album-oriented band than a singles act, and potential fans might be better advised to seek out one of their better regular albums, such as Days of Future Passed or Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, rather than a singles compilation. But for those who know the group through its infrequent appearances on Top 40 radio, this relatively inexpensive disc is the one to own.


Formed: 1964 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although they're best known today for their lush, lyrically and musically profound (some would say bombastic) psychedelic-era albums, the Moody Blues started out as one of the better R&B-based combos of the British Invasion. The group's history began in Birmingham, England with Ray Thomas (harmonica, vocals) and Mike Pinder (keyboards, vocals), who had played together in El Riot & the Rebels and the Krew Cats. They began recruiting members of some of the best rival groups working in Birmingham, including...
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