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I've mentioned before that certain bands have just always been part of my life. Pink Floyd, the Beatles...etc. Another group that has always been around for me is the Moody Blues and to this day they are one of my favorites.
"Nights in White Satin" is definitely one of the most recognizable songs by the Moody Blues, even if many may not remember the rest of the epic symphonic album, Days of Future Passed, that is it from.
In 1967 when the album was released, I guess the group did a promo video (at least I think it is a promo video) for the song and of course it has ended up on YouTube, When I saw it, I thought I should write at least a little something about this classic song, especially because it is one of my favorites.
Here is the video:
Although an interesting piece, the video itself is not all that exciting, consisting primarily of probably mimed live views of the band. It does capture a little bit of the unique feel this song has though, and it is one of those time capsule type pieces that is a good representation of the times as well. Definitely worth checking out if you're as much a fan of the Moody Blues, the album or the song as I am.
The album, Days of Future Passed, was conceived as a complete symphony, blending true classical music with the Moody Blues' unique style of pop rock and roll. It is a great album, and one of the few albums I can say that I think has very well done symphonic parts. I'm not a big fan of strings on pop tracks as I think they are overused and over dramatic, but the Moody Blues pull it off perfectly, actually sounding symphonic and not like cheap pop song strings (the use of the London Festival Orchestra on the album surely helped). I think it is one of the classic albums of all time.
The song itself may be one of the greatest songs ever written. A deep track with intriguing and yet simple lyrics, plus a killer soulful chorus, it is just one of those songs that perfectly captures a feel as a complete work. Soft and folksy with great swells from the orchestra before building into the gigantic choruses, it has a great ebb and flow and excellent composition from the lyrics to the orchestral parts. Using something as large as an orchestra on a pop track, has to be done while walking a thin line. If the song is no good, then it feels like the orchestra is holding it together while if the song is excellent, but the orchestral parts are too much, then it feels like the orchestra is over the top, melodramatic and unnecessary. This song stands out above other tracks because 1) I think it is great writing and could easily stand on its own, and 2) the orchestra never sounds heavy or over the top, but perfectly fades in and out and crescendos when necessary, creating a dreamy and symphonic, sonic landscape that doesn't get in the way of the lyrics, but enhances their feel. The combination of lyrics, style and orchestra definitely gives that spine tingling sensation that comes from a really great song.
There is so much more I could say about this song, as it is certainly in contention for my favorite song of all time (if I had to choose), as well as the album and the band. With most if not all music, I think listening to it is better than anything I could possibly say. That way each person can draw their own conclusions and realize their own feelings.
Maybe in the future I will further analyze this amazing song, and album, but for now I will let the video speak for itself. It may not be all that exciting, but it does fit the music. It's simplicity is really all that is needed, because with a song this good, what more do you need?