Moody Blues – Tuesday Afternoon

Tuesday Afternoon was on the classic concept album Days of Future Passed which was released in 1968. This song was released as a single and was the second single from Days of Future Passed (the first being “Nights in White Satin“). It was backed with a song called “Another Morning”.

Ever since I heard the intro on Strawberry Fields I’ve loved the mellotron. This song uses the instrument. I did read where it was hard to keep running because it used a series of tape loops and you played it by a keyboard.

Mike Pinder was the keyboard player for the Moody Blues and a founding member. He used to work for a company called Streetly Electronics, which made the instrument. He was one of the few musicians who could keep the  device operational, and The Moody Blues became the first high-profile band to use it in live performances. It wasn’t always smooth… one their first American tour, the Mellotron burst open, spewing its tape out the back. After a break Pinder repaired the machine and the show continued on.

The “London Festival Orchestra”, which was the name Decca Records gave to their collection of classical musicians, played on this track. The original idea for the album was to record a rock version of a classical piece called “New World Symphony” by Dvorak.

The song peaked at #12 in the Billboard 100 and #24 in Canada in 1968.

Justin Hayward: “I sat down in a field, smoked a funny African cigarette, and that song just came out. It was a Tuesday afternoon.”

Days of Future Passed [Expanded Version]

From Songfacts

Justin Hayward had a dog named Tuesday, but the song has nothing to do with the pooch. In his Songfacts interview, Hayward explained: “It just so happened we were sitting in the field together, that’s all. But it was a Tuesday afternoon and I did smoke a joint and it was down there where I come from in the West Country and this song just came out.”

On the album, this was listed as “Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)” at the insistence of producer Tony Clarke.

Hayward was earning a living playing music by the time he was in his late teens, so unlike most working stiffs for whom Tuesday afternoon was a time to knuckle down and get some work done, that part of the week could be quite relaxing for him. “I did think about that and about being someone who’s been lucky enough never having to do a proper job,” he told us. “I wasn’t hampered by any of that kind of stuff.”

This song uses a Mellotron. The instrument is a keyboard which triggers taped loops of a chosen instrument recorded at different pitches. It is not synthesized sound, but actual instrument recordings. In this song the recorded loops were strings. The strange and unique quality of the sound comes from the warble in the tape loops as they play back.

Tuesday Afternoon

Tuesday afternoon
I’m just beginning to see
Now I’m on my way
It doesn’t matter to me
Chasing the clouds away

Something calls to me
The trees are drawing me near
I’ve got to find out why
Those gentle voices I hear
Explain it all with a sigh

I’m looking at myself reflections of my mind
It’s just the kind of day to leave myself behind
So gently swaying through the fairyland of love
If you’ll just come with me you’ll see the beauty of
Tuesday afternoon
Tuesday afternoon

Tuesday afternoon 
I’m just beginning to see
Now I’m on my way
It doesn’t matter to me
Chasing the clouds away

Something calls to me
The trees are drawing me near
I’ve got to find out why
Those gentle voices I hear
Explain it all with a sigh