KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Thirty Year Thursday – THE MOODY BLUES “THE OTHER SIDE OF LIFE”

[Welcome to Thirty Year Thursday, the weekly series on my favorite albums of 1986]

Artist: THE MOODY BLUES
Album: THE OTHER SIDE OF LIFE

The Moody Blues - The Other Side Of LifeAfter a string of seven classic albums from the late-‘60s through the early-‘70s, The Moody Blues took an extended hiatus that ended with the good-but-not-great Octave in 1978. Three years later, with Patrick Moraz (formerly of Refugee and Yes) replacing original keyboardist Mike Pinder, the band released the magnificent Long Distance Voyager, updating their instantly recognizable sound for the ‘80s and giving them their first chart-topping album in nearly a decade. After The Present in 1983, which wasn’t as commercially or creatively successful as its predecessor, they embraced some of the big-drums-and-heavy-synth sounds that permeated the second half of the ‘80s with 1986’s The Other Side Of Life. This was their final Top 10 album and also the last Moody Blues album I was truly excited about when it was released. In hindsight it’s not as strong as I remember, but the handful of songs I loved thirty years ago still sound good to me.

As usual, guitarist Justin Hayward and bassist John Lodge handle the majority of the songwriting, with Hayward’s hit single “Your Wildest Dreams” being the album’s most recognizable track. He also wrote its most progressive-rock song, the moody & atmospheric “The Other Side Of Life.” I’ve always loved his vocals on this one, especially during the chorus (“Baby, baby, baby let’s investigate, the other side of life tonight”). Lodge’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll Over You” is catchy and a bit silly, especially the lyrics (“Like a rock, I’m gonna roll over you”), but it’s still one of the high points of this record. He also delivered the lovely album closer, “It May Be A Fire,” with its beautiful soaring guitar figure that shares some DNA with the Jeff Beck/Rod Stewart version of “People Get Ready.”  The remainder of The Other Side Of Life is pleasant but mostly forgettable. I’ll never tire of listening to Justin Hayward’s voice so even lesser tracks are worth hearing. This is another one of those records that meant a lot more to me in 1986 than it does in 2016, but at least three of its songs would fit in nicely on a career-spanning Moody Blues anthology.

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8 comments on “Thirty Year Thursday – THE MOODY BLUES “THE OTHER SIDE OF LIFE”

  1. DanicaPiche
    February 4, 2016

    I like Thirty Year Thursday, Rich. Excellent idea. “The Other Side of Life” was an enjoyable first song of the day. I’m looking forward to listening to more.

    Like

    • Thanks, Danica. I’ve been enjoying this series as well since I get to revisit all of these favorites from 30 years ago to see how well they’ve held up over that time. I have a few other series in the works which I’ll start posting soon in addition to these weekly posts. Still digging out from the mess of the last several months so finding the time is difficult. At least Thirty Year Thursday is keeping me on a regular writing schedule.

      Hope you’re having a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        February 4, 2016

        It also makes me happy to see bands still playing and touring 30 years on, especially in smaller venues.
        Finding the time is an ongoing challenge, isn’t it? Routine helps and “stealing time” can help. Getting up early, if possible, brainstorming and drafting at lunch…20 minutes here and there adds up…aka the on-the-fly routine!
        I’m already looking forward to your new series.
        Thanks and I hope your week is lovely in between the hectic. 🙂

        Like

      • It’s amazing how many artists who were around 30 or more years ago are still out there on the road, recording new music and keeping their legacies alive. As long as they’re alive and able we should continue to support them since they won’t be around forever.

        I agree about the “stealing time” approach. Some days that’s easier than others, but as life gets complicated we can either let it get us down or we can make the best use of our time. That’s what I’m trying to do, although not always successfully.

        Thanks for the feedback & good wishes.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Phillip Helbig
    February 5, 2016

    I used to be a big Moody Blues fan. Although I listen to a much wider variety of music now, the only change in my top four, about 33 years ago, was replacing the Moody Blues with Jethro Tull. (The other three, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Rush, have always been in the top four.) After the top 4, there are about a dozen bands whom I consider really good, then maybe another 20 which are good. I’d put the Moody Blues in the group of 20 now, though the “core 7” (does any other band have a “core 7?) have a special place.

    Like

    • Phillip, I’m impressed that you’ve been mostly consistent with your Top 4 artists for so many years. For me it’s been Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd at 1 & 2, and after that there are probably about 20-30 artists tied for #3. The Moody Blues are lacking that one defining album but those “core 7” are all pretty essential. That output between ’67 & ’72 should have gotten them inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame years ago.

      Like

  3. galley99
    February 13, 2016

    I was 16 when Long Distance Voyager was released. That was the first Moody Blues album I owned, and still my favorite. I skipped The Present but picked up The Other Side Of Life when it came out.

    Like

    • So what did you think of The Other Side Of Life, galley99? Long Distance Voyager is a good one to start with. I was 15 when it was released and it was also my first Moodies album, although I had previously owned the 2-LP This Is The Moody Blues compilation of their earlier material. The Present was a slight letdown but it has some excellent songs, including one of my favorite Justin Hayward tunes, “It’s Cold Outside Of Your Heart.”

      Like

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