RIP Ray Thomas 12/1941-1/2018

I hadn’t had a chance to sit down and write about this loss. Ray Thomas was one of the founding members of the innovative, prog rock band, The Moody Blues. He passed away on January 4th from prostate cancer. The Moody Blues, originally an R&B band, were instrumental in defining the genre of prog-rock. Ray Thomas was the band’s floutist and a key songwriter for some of their amazing works. Rae will probably be remembered mostly for writing the song Legend of a Mind as well as the flute solo in it.

From Wikipedia:

Legend of a Mind” is a song by the British progressive rock band The Moody Blues, and was written by the band’s flautist Ray Thomas, who provides the lead vocals. “Legend of a Mind” was recorded in January 1968 and was first released on the Moody Blues’ album In Search of the Lost Chord. It was the first song recorded for the album.

The original promotional black-and-white film for the song was filmed on location at Groot-Bijgaarden Castle near Brussels in Belgium.

The song’s lyrics are about 1960s LSD icon Timothy Leary. Leary was an advocate for the use of LSD, enjoying its spiritual benefits, with one of his catchphrases being “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”

The song is perhaps best known for its opening lines: “Timothy Leary’s dead / No, n-n-no he’s outside looking in”,[1] which allude to Leary’s use of eastern mysticism (most notably the Tibetan Book of the Dead) to frame the psychedelic experience.[2]

The song’s lyrics describe both Leary and the effects of LSD, such as:

He’ll fly his astral plane
Takes you trips around the bay
Brings you back the same day[3]

as well as:

He’ll take you up,
He’ll bring you down.
He’ll plant your feet back firmly on the ground.
He flies so high,
He swoops so low.
He knows exactly which way he’s gonna go.[4]

The Moody Blues are one of my holy trinity of bands, and I have seen them a number of times. He passing marks another milestone loss. I’ll leave you with the video for Legend of a Mind.


    1. There is beauty to be found most everywhere. I guess it’s the way that great prog touches unites my soul, heart, and head that I was drawn to it and moved. Probably part of the empathic core as well. It’s also why I struggle to listen to “angry” music. I feel the violence and hatred and it makes me feel physically ill.

      Liked by 1 person

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