Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 27

Today's featured birthday is for Mike Pinder, of the Moody Blues. Not the Moody Blues that gets played in JCPenny's these days, but the psychedelic symphonic band that gave the Beatles and Pink Floyd a run for their money. And it was all because of the Mellotron, the predecessor to modern sampler/synthesizer technologies. Pinder worked for the company that brought Mellotrons to England, and became an expert on the machines; purportedly, he introduced the machine to the Beatles, who would subsequently use one in "Strawberry Fields Forever."
He also knew how to exploit the machine's potential for his own music. When he started with the Moody Blues, they were another platoon in the British Invasion, with an R-&-B tinge. By the end of the 60's, their headphone music was part of the soundtrack of the psychedelic times. And Pinder's 'orchestra in a box' allowed them to bring their studio masterpieces on the road.
Here's a Pinder-composed song, performed on a Belgian TV show.

He left in the mid-70's, making his solo, proto-New Age music to this day. Meanwhile, the commercial and critical success of his tenure with the Moody Blues paved the way for King Crimson, Genesis, Pink Floyd, and any band that dares to sound like more than a couple of guys in a garage.
But I don't want to leave you with the impression that he was just a gearhead who was lucky enough to play with the toy first. Here's a Moody Blues song he wrote, as sung by the Four Tops:

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