On Dec. 9, 1972, the #1 album in the US was the Moody Blues’ Seventh Sojourn. It was the band’s first #1 on the Billboard Top LP’s & Tape charts and they would reign there for four weeks (until Carly Simon’s No Secrets replaced them on Jan. 13).
Seventh Sojourn was the most “rock ‘n’ roll” album from the band, but it still included the lush (synthesized) orchestral sounds that fans loved and expected—as well as their distinctive vocal harmonies. Technically, this was the band’s eighth album, but it was the seventh release for the five core members who had recorded Days of Future Passed in 1967: Justin Hayward on guitar, John Lodge on bass, Graeme Edge on drums and percussion, Ray Thomas on flute, harmonica and tambourine, and Mike Pinder on keyboards and mellotron (and on this LP a new synthesizer called The Chamberlin).
All five musicians contributed to the vocals, giving their songs a lush sound—at times heavenly, at other times haunting. The band had become known for its questioning and philosophical lyrics, and Seventh Sojourn was no exception. Themes ranged from world dilemmas and individual freedoms to personal relationships and the meaning of life.
The album generated two singles. “Isn’t Life Strange?” was released as the six-minute LP-version and reached #29 on the Billboard Hot 100, while “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)” peaked at #12. Both songs were written by John Lodge and the latter was a specific message to worshipping fans who thought the Moody Blues had all of life’s answers—they didn’t.
Success had given the band fame, riches, their own personal record label (Threshold Records – they were the second band after The Beatles to get their own label, which led the way for The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and others), but success also isolated them. As Justin Hayward would later reflect, “(I)nstead of making our world better and easier, it had made it smaller and more difficult.”
The band broke up after the album’s supporting tour to pursue individual music interests. They would get back together in five years to record Octave.