Pluto Rocks!! The Classic Rock Connection – from the Moody Blues to Queen!

Pluto Rocks!!

If you can’t get the Moody Blues, Queen will do!

new horizon

In Mid-July the New Horizons space probe sent back spectacular photos of our solar system’s most mysterious planet (yes, I said planet, dammit!) Pluto. I blog about my initial reactions here.

The biggest reaction I got from my blog was from Moody Blues fans. Like hundreds (perhaps thousands or more) fans I trolled the interweb looking for any connection between the space probe and the Moody’s song from their 1972 album Seventh Sojourn (“New Horizons” was the second song on the Side A).

Nothing on a NASA-related site or a Moody Blues-related site showed any connection, other than fans like me wondering why not.

Too bad, it was a missed opportunity for both.

It would not have been the first time the Moody Blues were associated with space travel – it was a major theme in their 1969 album To Our Children’s Children’s Children.

I am a huge Moody Blues fan – ever since I started listening seriously to music as a child I loved hearing their songs on the radio. This was about the time “Nights in White Satin” hit the charts (around 1972) and was played frequently. Their greatest hits package This is… was an early purchase.

Moody Blues2

2015 is a great year for Moodies fans. March marked the 50th anniversary of their first hit “Go Now”, John Lodge released a solo album and Justin Hayward is doing a solo tour of the US (his St. Louis show on September 11th is sold out and I am begging on my knees-on-my-knees-Jacob-Marley for tickets).

Because of the Pluto probe, it should have also been a big year for the song “New Horizons”. But not one documentary or special I have seen – not one – feature the song.  Too bad, it would have been a perfect fit.

Imagine watching a special documentary on Pluto: with the stark image of the cold planet with these lyrics softly playing:

Where is this place that we have found? Nobody knows where we are bound,

I long to hear, I need to see; ‘cause I’ve shed tears too many for me,

But I’m never gonna lost your precious gift, it will always be that way,

‘Cause I know I’m gonna find my own peace of mind, someday…

 

It could have been the beginning of a wonderful two years for the band. Their publicity people could keep up the momentum until 2017 – which will be the 50th anniversary of the release of their iconic Days of Future Passed album. Rumors are already abound on the anniversary event. A one-time concert event with the “original” members is the most prominent – and the most likely.

Note that by “original” members I mean the iconic and most successful line-up. The 1965 Moodies who released “Go Now” fifty years ago had only three members go on to the more successful so-called prog-rock version of the group that is still around today. In fact, only one member – Graeme Edge – has stayed with the group all this time. The real original line-up was Graeme, Ray Thomas, Michael Pinder, Clint Warwick and Denny Laine (who was later the only lasting non-McCartney member of Wings). That group broke up but shortly reformed under the same name without Warwick or Laine. Their replacements were John Lodge (who played with Thomas and Pinder in prior combos) and Justin Hayward. This was the group that released Nights … In Search of the Lost Chord, Long Distance Voyager, The Other Side of Life, and more – totaling fifteen. Pinder left the group in 1978, Thomas retired and has since had a cancer scare (now in remission). Their last album was December, a Christmas collection – featuring only the remaining three. Their website spotlights only Haywood, Lodge and Edge.

All the members – current and former – have their own websites. Mike Pinder is still releasing albums! Most excellent!

The people at NASA and the Moody’s camp certainly missed a great opportunity here. Surely someone somewhere would have made the connection!

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But those looking for a classic rock connection to the mission to Pluto need look no further than Queen!

Queen’s guitarist Brian May was in graduate school when the band took off. After the death of Freddie Mercury, the group disbanded and May finished his doctorate in astrophysics.  During New Horizon’s flyby of Pluto, he was recognized by NASA as a science collaborator for the mission. He used the images sent back to earth to create the first stereoscopic image of Pluto.

You can read all about it on his web-page.

When I first head about Brian May’s association with New Horizon, I was not surprised. One of his first solo efforts was Star Fleet, which featured Eddie Van Halen and members of REO Speedwagon and background vocals by Roger Taylor, Queen’s drummer. I loved the video when it first came out on MTV (note to the kiddies: this was way back when MTV played music). You can see it here.

starfleet project

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Unfortunately, the photo showed no signs of the Mi-go. Well, the photos they are officially releasing, that is …

migo

But that can be the subject of another blog…

Copyright 2015 Michael Curry

 

 

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