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c_s_1987

The Moody Blues vs Procol Harum

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Who here likes either or both of these bands? Out of these two pioneers of progressive music, which is your favourite? :)

My interest in the Moodies and Procols has been developing over the last year or so, and I have liked every song I've heard from either of the two bands so far. At the moment I prefer Procol Harum, although that is partly because I have heard more of their songs. :)

The same poll on a different website inspired me to replicate it here. :grin:

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I like songs by both groups a lot. But, on the other side of that coin, there are many songs by both groups that I really don't like, a lot. I guess for both of them, it just comes down to individual songs, because I don't like either band enough tosay I prefer one over the other.

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Alright, I'm going to post two different things from a certain website I like, but I won't name it since y'all get mad at me whenever I quote it. First, the Moodies...

I'd like to notice this one little peculiar thing about the Moodies' music. The Moody Blues are often dubbed 'prog-rockers' and put into the same bag with bands like [Jethro] Tull, Yes, Genesis, etc., etc. Now I really don't know that much about the exact genre terminology, but it seems to me this is no less than a fatal mistake. The Moodies were made of an entirely different dough than all of these mature 'proggers' (hey, good word! sounds almost like 'frogger', doesn't it?) First of all, their music never even approached the level of complexity that was absolutely necessary for being called 'prog'. Their instrumentation, even though it did heavily rely on keyboards and/or orchestral arrangements, was deeply rooted in happy British pop of the early Sixties, with bands like the Hollies providing inspiration for most of the Moodies' songwriters, while Yes and company usually ventured into a much deeper past - medieval music and stuff like that. Second: the famous 'conceptuality' of the band (practically every album they made, at least in their 'golden years', had a central theme) was generally understandable - sometimes too naive, sometimes thoughtful and intelligent, but always clear and explainable to the average listener, unlike the twisted, mystical, and often purely nonsensical 'concepts' of prog-rockers. So were the lyrics: sometimes unbearingly banal and derivative, but sometimes quite fascinating - and always straightforward and, once again, easily understandable. Both of these factors certainly contributed to the Moodies' sell-out status in the late Sixties/early Seventies, but both of these factors also contributed to their (also very popular) image of lame artsy guys with lots of pretension and bombast but little real talent, an image mainly fostered by Rolling Stone, whose staff has probably hardly ever gotten further than Graeme Edge's lame 'poetic' introductions at the beginning of each album, and the likes of it. You decide who to side with.

And now for P.H.:

Procol Harum are not a prog rock band by any means. Prog rock demands technical perfection and total mastership as one of its required components, and prog rock is always combined with meaningless, but overbloated lyrics. Procol Harum were not technically perfect, and their lyrics had meaning. Yes, you heard right. Keith Reid, the band's official lyricist, was probably one of the greatest, if not the greatest, rock poets in existence. You can hear a lot of influences in his words, Dylan not last of them, but ultimately he developed his own style which nobody was able to top. And he wasn't that pretentious, except for a couple of their lengthy suites like 'In Held Twas In I'. His lyrics usually dealt with small topics of little significance, or, at least, they were stylistically narrowed. But the imagery is just fantastic, you gotta admit it. Listen to their debut album and tell me I'm wrong. The lyrics, in fact, constitute a large part of Procol's attraction - rather like Dylan's. However, the melodies attached to these lyrics aren't usually less superb. Most of the complaints about them probably result from the fact that Keith was primarily a poet, not a lyricist: he wrote poetry, and poetry doesn't need to have a diverse rhythmic structure. All the more, one has to admire the band's talents in adjusting his compositions to their music (Elton John fared much worse while struggling to fit Taupin's words into his song structures).

And if you want the real pioneers of prog, go look up The Nice.

So, that's all I have to say. Cheerio!

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Moody Blues, far and away above Procol... concept albums were great - being a late teenager in the late '60's / early '70's I spent many evenings listening to each and every one of the MB's albums. Then would switched track and listen to Pink Floyd's Careful with the Axe Eugene and Several Species of Small Furries Animals Gathered in a Cave and Groovin' to a Pic. "Now you know how nice it feels"

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The Nice.

:bow:

And in fact, when you think about it, the Moody Blues weren't really all that progressive for their time. Really, the the only special things about Days Of Future Passed (apart from some amazing songs, don't get me wrong) were the fact that it was played with an orchestra and the keyboards on "Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)" (aka Tuesday Afternoon). The orchestra arrangements weren't even all that well done. The use of the mellotrons (have I got that right?) was, I suppose, progressive, but the music itself was fairly run-of-the-mill for the time.

However, I don't think one really can point to a single band or even a few as the pioneers of prog rock.

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The Moody Blues and Procol Harum don't play in the same league. Much of the Moodies' music is to me muzak, while most of Procol Harums albums are timeless masterpieces. Listen to these songs for example:

Repent Valpurgis from Procol Harum

The Wee Small Hours of Sixpence from Shine On Brightly

Still There'll Be More from Home

Power Failure from Broken Barricades

Pandora's Box from Procol's Ninth

Beyond the Pale from Exotic Birds and Fruit

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I agree with you Dappled. I like The Moody Blues a lot but I would never try to compare these two groups. Their just not even close. I listened to TMB alot and still like them in a pop fashion kind of way. They were played a lot on AM radio and the music was good.

On the other hand Procol Harum was rarely heard on AM stations. I couldn't imagine an AM station playing "Nothing That I Didn't Know" on the air waves. We usually listened from an album or on FM. Where I'm at FM reception is real ify.

I could never compare these two groups. I like both for differnt reasons.

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Procul Harum is a Legendary Band that no one knows about. The Moody Blues is a legendary band that everybody knows about. That's basically it. People above are right not to want to compare these groups, but The Moodies have a more storied past with their lineup changes and subsequent writing style switches, and a bigger fan base, but probably, Harum gets the same amount of respect as they should.

when you're in the shower or in your bedroom listening to the radio as a kid and were pretending to be singing songs from one of those bands, which songs did you like to pretend to sing more?

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I don't really listen to Moody Bluez, but Procol Harum is one of my favorite bands. I wish I knew the names of more of their songs, I had their greatest hits tape in my car for the longest time.

My favorite song is probably the one that goes "An Ode by any other name" anybody know what that one is?

I also really like the one that starts off with "your multilingual business friend" idk what that one is either..

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The Moody Blues and Procol Harum don't play in the same league. Much of the Moodies' music is to me muzak, while most of Procol Harums albums are timeless masterpieces. Listen to these songs for example:

Repent Valpurgis from Procol Harum

The Wee Small Hours of Sixpence from Shine On Brightly

Still There'll Be More from Home

Power Failure from Broken Barricades

Pandora's Box from Procol's Ninth

Beyond the Pale from Exotic Birds and Fruit

I quite agree with you dappled, great choices you made here, thanks for posting them!

I won't turn off the Moody Blues, but if I didn't ever hear one of their songs again, I would be just fine. As for Procol, well that is the music of my youth and what a great sound! :cool:

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Haha, I just got done listening to Repent Walpurgis! I love how they throw in a Bach Prelude out of nowhere. I just listened to the whole album, man, it's great. I really think anybody who wants to diss the P.H. should listen to Grand Hotel first. :rockon:

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