Days of Future Passed (found original mix of Moody Blues album; 1967)
Days of Future Passed is a highly acclaimed album by the art-rock group The Moody Blues; notable for being one of the earliest known examples of a progressive rock album; it spawned two hit singles, "Tuesday Afternoon (Forever?)" and "Nights in White Satin." However, when the time came to re-release it in the late-70's, the master tapes had deteriorated to the point where only essential parts of the original album remained until 2017.
In 1972, The Moody Blues single "Nights in White Satin" had entered the top 10 charts in the U.S. This led to a renewed interest in the album Days of Future Passed. By 1978, Decca wanted a new stamper to be made, as the current one had worn out. However, according to the album's recording engineer Derek Varnals, the master tapes for the original 1967 stereo mix were now found to be unusable, suffering from sticky tape syndrome. According the Varnals, the practice of baking tapes to combat sticky tape was not commonly known about in the late-70's.
So, in August 1978, Varnals remixed the album again in stereo. The album's producer, Tony Clarke was not present. Rather than risk using the final 4-track masters which also might have the same sticking problem, Varnals used a synchronized 16 track tape, used 5 years before for the quadraphonic mix. However, this also meant that some elements only found on the 4-track tapes, would also be missing from mix. All the orchestral links were re-synchronized on the new mix as all the links and the band recordings were on separate tapes.
Differences between the original 1967 stereo mix, the 1972 Quadraphonc mix and the 1978 remix are as follows:
- "Dawn Is A Feeling" has a rougher, more sudden, transition from the orchestral interlude, and has less but a cleaner reverb on the bridges to make them stand out from the verses and chorus.
- The orchestral sections in "Lunch Break (Peak Hour)" go on for another 20 seconds before the song fades out.
- In "Tuesday Afternoon (Forever?)", the Mellotron flute mixes better into the flute in the orchestral ending, making it sound like one flute is playing throughout.
- "Evening (Time To Get Away)" has lost all the recorded backing vocals (with Justin Hayward's backing vocals sticking out) from the band, leaving John Lodge singing the high notes alone (adding an eerie vibe to the whole album let alone the song itself). Additionally, in the same song, the words "evening, time to get away" are repeated twice before the song's rough ending (it sounds like a hard and fast cut was used to end the song). In the vinyl mix, they were repeated thrice and a slow fade-out was used to end the song.
- Also in "Evening" is a Mellotron part that is lost on the bridges [in the 1972 mix], though it is identical to the riff being played in the middle section [in the 1967 mix]. Due to the lost Mellotron middle section (1972 mix), you can hear the following: acoustic guitar, tambourine, possibly a french horn on the top layer and the drum kit. The original mix has all of these parts muffled by the Mellotron.
- "The Sunset" lost a piano part that played along with the string drones. The song also has a very different, but cleaner reverb on the words, "through the night."
- "Twilight Time" no longer has Justin Hayward's backing vocals that fade in the middle of the second verse, stop for a brief moment during the lead-up to the bridge and fading in and out with the late Ray Thomas' lead vocals until the end of the song; instead, the backing vocals are at a consistent volume throughout except for the verses that are the lead up to the bridge of the song.
- "Nights in White Satin" has a different intro; it was fixed to make it in step with the orchestral interlude, rather than offset, as per the original mix. Also, the original mix featured a noise filter over the drums, giving it a more ghostly, ethereal sound, while the drums in the CD version are unfiltered, giving it a rawer but crisper sound.
Notably, there's a rumour that the original tracks were never lost, but that internal issues and politics lead Polydor to create a new mix and claim that the original tracks were too deteriorated to use. This rumour is supported by the apparent existence of a CD that was said to have been floating around Polydor's studios around 2006, containing the vinyl mix (originally intended to be included in the 2006 SACD remix). NOTE: The Moody Blues' own website does not mention this rumour at all and sticks to the deteriorated masters story.
The compilation album Time Traveler contains an excellent quality version of "Nights in White Satin's" vinyl mix, supporting the idea that a good quality master still exists somewhere.
Sometime in mid-November of 2017, The Moody Blues released the original 1967 Vinyl album version on CD to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the deluxe edition of Days of Future Passed. Through the band's e-store and you can own the 2 CD and it includes a DVD version of 50th Anniversary of Days of Future Passed with a 5.1 surround sound remix (moodybluestoday.com). According to The Moody Blues' website, due to advancements in technology, the original masters were fully restored to their original arraignment that was released in 1967.
Both the 1978 release and the 2017 (original 1967 version) albums are available on Spotify for streaming. (NOTE: The 1978 release of Days of Future Passed is labelled as either "Days of Future Passed Expanded Edition" or "2006 Remastered next to the song title. The original 1967 masters are labelled either as "Days of Future Passed (Remastered 2017)" or "2017 Remastered next to the song" and the 2017 restored version appears first in the album's Deluxe version on Spotify while you need to hunt for the 2006 Remastered version on same album. That is because the band has it hidden with a ton of BBC Session versions of the same songs.
The 1972 Quadraphonc mix was reissued in 1997 on the DTS CD format. It was reissued again on DVD-Audio in 2001, SACD in 2006 and 2017 as part of the 50th Anniversary Edition on DVD.
- http://web.archive.org/web/20120103232318/http://www.freewebs.com/rainbow_glo/6910derekvarnalsqa.htm Travelling Eternity Road's WebTalkWill it be a thread of love you weave?