The Moody Blues may have delivered a tally of three top ten hits and nine top 40 appearances in their native UK, but especially in their second incarnation as a conceptual album rock outfit, they were always more than a singles band. On 20 August 1983, on the eve of release of their 11th studio album The Present, they entered the UK singles countdown with its lead track ‘Blue World.’ It remains their most recent top 40 single in their own country.
The swirling, atmospheric ‘Blue World’ was a Justin Hayward composition and lead vocal, one of his three individual credits on The Present. Another, ‘Running Water’, was the album’s third single, after the release of ‘Sitting At The Wheel,’ one of John Lodge’s three credits. The singles schedule was reversed in the US, where ‘Wheel’ was the flagship single and reached No. 27. Together, Hayward and Lodge wrote the album’s ‘Meet Me Halfway.’ True to the group’s usual democratic principles, it also featured two songs by Ray Thomas and one by Graeme Edge.
‘Blue World’ debuted on the UK chart at No. 47 and, a week later, peaked at No. 35, becoming the Moody Blues’ first top 40 appearance with a new song there since ‘I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock ‘n’ Roll Band)’ just over ten years earlier. In between times, in late 1979, the evergreen ‘Nights In White Satin’ had made its third visit to the top 20.
Also boasting the distinction of being the Moody Blues’ first 12-inch single in the UK, ‘Blue World’ reached No. 62 in America. On that side of the Atlantic, the band had one of their finest commercial and creative achievements still to come, when ‘Your Wildest Dreams’ climbed to No. 9 on the Hot 100 in 1986; inexplicably, this landmark in the group’s later history failed to chart in the UK at all.
‘Blue World’ is on The Present, which can be bought here.
Follow the official Moody Blues Best Of playlist.