Perfect Sound Forever

THE MOODY BLUES


Orchestrating Timothy Leary's Psychology
By David Chirko
(February 2021)



The Rock Band

The Moody Blues, or "Moodies" (as they are affectionately known to their multitudinous acolytes), are a rock group from Birmingham, England, who formed "On May 2, 1964"1 (Lucraft, 1972, p. 6). Rock music critic Bruce Eder (1997) put them under the art/progressive2/pop rock and British Invasion rubrics. Further, he avers, that after starting out as an R&B (or beat/Brum Beat 3) ensemble, they--recording with the London Festival Orchestra on their LP Days of Future Passed4--morphed into a band creating "rock songs...bridged by sweeping orchestral passages" (p. 256). Moreover, he asserts, they became "pop mystics of the Summer of Love, their music blossoming... in pseudo-classical glory" (p. 256). Through their keyboardist, Mike Pinder, the Mellotron5 soon assumed the orchestrating, which helped ratify the group as the progenitors of classical-rock. Like the Byrds, at one point (who also begat various other kinds of hyphenated rock), they were notably psychedelic 6; espousing, to some extent, acid rock 7. Thus the use of drugs, like LSD, played a major role in the evolution of their sound.


The Meeting

The Moody Blues were enamoured with Timothy Leary - advocate of psychedelic, or psychodysleptic, drugs, such as LSD, psilocybin, marijuana, and mescaline. It was November of 1969 during a love-in8 with the Jefferson Airplane at Elysian Park in Los Angeles which "brought them face to face with the subject of Legend of a Mind, when... Leary turned up with a train of followers. As the band started... the song, Leary sprang... to the stage... rattling a tambourine" (Hughes, 2014). Later, they all embraced. This began a camaraderie that endured until Leary's passing.


Timothy Leary, the Scholar

Timothy Francis Leary, Ph.D. (1920-1996), was an American psychologist9. He had a private practice and taught at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, not far from his hometown of Springfield.

In his last book, Design for Dying (1997), Leary adumbrated his approach to a self-defining psychology. He advocated that the therapist and patient, or client, work together as equals on a team, to eschew the therapist becoming dictatorial. The therapist would, in essence, be but a coach, helping the client in his change. Leary loathed the behavioristic approach to psychology because it was too authoritarian, controlling, and deindividualizing. Such a conceptualization led to an extirpation of personal responsibility and self-determination for the patient. He remarked, "This sort of egalitarianism would get me into tremendous trouble later, when it was applied to individual autonomy over brain-change drugs" (p. 76). He alluded to two of his earlier books, Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality and The Existential Transaction. Described therein, the system called The Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality--which elaborated on the earlier work of Sullivan (1953), and Horney (1950), and presaged Berne (1964)--was one where the guide, or "map," as Leary called it, assisted the client, purveying said client with tools for examining their own makeup and roles. Their behavioral reflexes were then mapped, and they had the choice to alter them vis-a-vis where they wished to be on this map. What the client examined were interpersonal signals they sent out at various moments, like where they put their bodies and how they reacted to exact situations. Responsibility and autonomy could then be achieved and whatever occurred in any relationship would be seen as that which functioned to lessen anxiety.

Leary embraced group over individual therapy, whereby the client's interpersonal reflexes could be manifested and witnessed. "Set and setting" were pertinent here, as Leary explained that how one performed in a social scenario was derivative of two aspects: the "set," that is, their very personality structure and, "setting," the behaviors and effects of the other individual(s) they were in an interaction with. The Moody Blues often took such an introspective look at the motives of humankind and the corresponding reactions in the behavioral world, in their music and themes.



Timothy and the Moodies, the Substance Sages

Regarding set and setting (as mentioned under "Timothy Leary, the Scholar," above), these processes also described and determined the major facets and path of one's experience with a drug. Herein, "Set denoted the attitudes and expectations of researcher and subject; setting the physical environment" (Shapiro, 1973, p. 196).

Leary went to Mexico in 1960 and discovered mushrooms that contained psilocybin, which became an afflatus for his career. He then begat the Harvard Psilocybin Project. Leary intended to demonstrate that, in controlled situations and with miniscule amounts of psilocybin, one could ameliorate the function of the brain. He demonstrated on prisoners, proclaiming the drug's efficacy. His colleagues were incredulous, saying he was tendentious because of his own personal views. They also asserted that they garnered proof that he wasn't completely transparent regarding the results of his experiments (Sun Signs, n.d.).

"Drop out, turn on, tune in" was Leary's aphorism, which espoused the use of LSD, et al. It was incorrectly altered to "turn on, tune in, drop out." In The Art of Ecstasy (1967), by researchers and authors William Marshall and Gilbert W. Taylor, we are apprised that when Leary said, however seriously, to "drop out," it meant to quit school, because education can "narrow your mind" (p. 90). Leaving one's job was encouraged as well. "Turn on," to Leary, meant to embrace the sacrament which altered your body. He believed he had developed a religion. Some Moody Blues fans thought their cherished band had that kind of supernatural power too. For instance, their flautist/vocalist Ray Thomas reported that one fan "gets down on his knees in front of me... He says: 'I want you to do the laying on of hands.' Someone... told him that after one of us had done this he was going to Nirvana and Krishna would take over his body" (Hughes, 2014). "Tune in" referred to coming back to normal life. Subsequently, this three-point cycle would be repeated.

Regarding the Moody Blues' use of LSD and other psychedelic drugs, rock scribe Malcolm Dome (2020) explains that, "Hayward [guitarist/vocalist] says 'all of us apart from John [Lodge]10. He never participated. Usually, they were... the psychedelic type... Anyone who listens to what we... recorded will immediately know we'd been on acid.'" Hayward maintains this lasted for about 18 months and was executed assiduously. They then opted for hash. He further remarks that they respected drugs; because of their possible deleterious effects, "None of us were ever controlled by drugs, whereas the people that were fell by the wayside and died" (Hughes, 2014). Therefore, there are no reports of the Moody Blues (or Leary) ever suffering from the ill effects of drugs. It's true that certain mind-altering drugs facilitated the Moody Blues' creative development, while their spiritual mentor, Leary, created a responsible forum for the younger generation to discuss and, of their own free will, consider taking such drugs (let me now say that I am not at all personally advancing the use of any drug here).

Carli Clegg (2018) presented Good Morning America from 1980, where Leary declared to hostess Joan Lunden that one should be an adult, not a kid, in order to take drugs. He said that he acquiesced with First Lady Nancy Reagan's slogan "Just say no," but altered it to "Just say k-n-o-w," that is, know what you are then doing when taking psychedelic drugs, where responsible maintenance is key. He noted that the be-ins,11, love-ins, and Woodstock, where the use of LSD was ubiquitous, were never havens for obstreperous behavior. Therefore, socially speaking, its results were relatively innocuous.



LSD, etc., and Their Negative Affects

Psychologist Gary VandenBos, Ph.D. (2015), explains that LSD is "lysergic acid diethylamide: a highly potent HALLUCINOGEN that structurally resembles the neurotransmitter serotonin" (p. 613). Further, that it was first developed in 1938 by Albert Hoffman, a Swiss chemist, who inadvertently consumed LSD or LSD-25 (the number, incremental, for compound identification) in 1943, thereby ascertaining its psychoactive effects. He also remarks that, in the 1950's and 1960's, LSD was applied adjunctively to depth analysis or psychotherapy (psychedelic or psycholytic therapy), to treat mental illness, with inefficacious results. Marshall and Taylor (1967) said that lysergic acid is derived from ergot, a black fungus sometimes seen in a rye plant. Moreover, that Hoffman annexed an extra strand from the diethylamide group to a lysergic acid molecule and, voila, LSD was born (p. 54).

Substance abuse counsellor Elana Sures (2003) explains that short-term side effects of LSD include exhaustion and tolerance. Also, a person can often become nauseous, tremble, feel numb, and experience a muscular weakness. Further, she admonishes that because of an experienced distorted reality, some users may be putting themselves in a precarious situation when swimming or driving for instance. She speaks of a user feeling a pronounced isolation and anxiety when on a "bad trip." Nevertheless, she asseverates, LSD does not remain anywhere in the body and "does not cause long-term damage to the brain" (p. 27). Rebecca Newton (1992) says that if one is a chronic user, there is a chance of psychological dependence and a "long-term risk of flashback" (p. 15).

The DSM-5 (2013) has a nosological category for flashbacks, termed Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). It states that, for diagnostic purposes, the symptoms cannot be attributed to other medical disorders like brain lesions, delirium, epilepsies, major neurocognitive disorders, or schizophrenia. If reality testing is not intact another medical or psychotic disorder might explain the condition's perceptions. The occurrence of the disorder in relation to frequency of LSD use, they say, is not known but: "Initial prevalence estimates... is approximately 4.2%" (p. 531). Also, marijuana or alcohol use and a dark environment can instigate the disorder. Moreover, suicidality is also very low among LSD users. John H. Halpern, M.D., et al. (2018), puts the figure at 1 in 50,000 for regular users who would undergo chronic hallucinations. There is Type-1 HPPD, "brief flashbacks," and Type-2 HPPD, where symptoms are chronic and fluctuate over time. Genetic factors may be a risk factor and many persons can suppress its disturbances and function satisfactorily. Some in the drug community, however, vigorously oppugn the notion of flashbacks, believing such are not plausible, "ascribing first-person accounts to psychosomatic suggestion" (Mikkelson, 2005). Notwithstanding, there were those, like media darling and anti-drug campaigner Art Linkletter, who tried to partially blame Timothy Leary for the suicide of Linkletter's daughter, who may have once taken LSD and purportedly had a devastating flashback before she took her own life12.

Psilocybin is a compound made from any one of hundreds of species of mushrooms. Sures (2003) says that although it is milder than LSD, heightened depression and anxiety can sometimes eventualize when using (p. 27). Newton (1992) affirms that psychological dependence is feasible when employed continually. Perceptions are altered and one becomes relaxed. Also, discomfort in the abdomen, dizziness, numbness, sweating, and tiredness can occur (p. 15).


The Positive Effects of LSD

LSD will be the hallucinogenic drug I will now mainly focus on here, because it is the drug Leary became famous for--in the most positive sense, which profoundly influenced the Moody Blues.

In 1966, just before the new lineup of the Moody Blues became solidified, scientists at the Institute for Psychedelic Research, San Francisco State College, California (established by directors Robert E. Mogar, Ph.D. [psychology] and Willis W. Harman, Ph.D. [electrical engineering], et al), gave LSD and mescaline to 16 professional men. These people were confronted with unresolved issues related to their jobs, involving some 44 tasks. 91% were at least partly solved because the subjects could operate more independently, with less time, when on substances (Shapiro, 1973, p. 196). However, the uproar over Leary advocating such drug usage put the kibosh on further academic advancement (Hofmann, 1965, pp. 1, 3).

Peter Laurie, a Briton who was once a freelance journalist for Sunday Times (London) and Vogue, and who penned numerous scientific texts, points out the subjective effects of LSD. He states that: sense impressions are perfervid, i.e., colors more intense, and sounds, more audible. An LSD user may believe such sensations involve only their body and that they can disconnect from their own body, too. The sense of time is altered, as they may think this is the first time they sense something commonplace.

Laurie then alludes to the text The Doors of Perception (1954) by British philosopher and author Aldous Huxley (whom Leary corresponded with; see Horowitz & Palmer, 1977). Here we find that perception of pain and coordination of muscles is lessened; learned behavior patterns, role playing, and logic evaporate; shapes and colours swirl in patterns when the eyes are closed; powerful hallucinations, stemming from personal fantasy images to connection with an unreal world, are common; what was emotionally repressed is then addressed and behavior happens, bereft of any emotional barriers, as they become most sensitive to all personalities; repressed memories are unearthed and become very real to the person.

Laurie also says that the personality of one on a trip is not exceptional, however, this differs with the individual. Further, the ability to perform on the Porteus Maze Test, "claimed to be one of the very few tests that reliably distinguishes psychotics from normals" (1969, p. 102), is reduced. To Laurie, as big and eerie a world there is inside one's head becomes tantamount to the one on the outside.

Vincenzo G. Longo, Italian neuropharmacologist (1972), declares that a person on LSD "can control his images and visions" (p. 115). Further, he states consciousness is still present and the experiential effects are, though never really emphasized in the literature, at the discretion of the subject. The subject's mood is contingent on their expectations and personality. Moreover, chronic use, addiction, and fatalities, are uncommon.

Robert Edward Lee Masters, Ph.D., an experimental and clinical psychologist/psychotherapist and sexologist was, along with his wife Jean Houston, Ph.D. (psychology), one of the founders of the human potential movement13. The following are some of the aspects of the LSD psychedelic experience they (1966) expatiate on. Visual distortions, where what is witnessed in the non-drugged state is magnified, along with total love for everyone. Communication can become illusory, as the subject, now increasingly sensitive, displays bodily expression that is more demonstrative. They can be acutely empathetic--even with objects. Empathy leads to a belief in their powers of ESP, like telepathy, clairvoyance, and the psychometric. All troubling issues from before are dissolved.

After departing the first stage, or "sensory level," the external world of distorted perceptions are no longer paramount and become normalized during the trip into what Masters and Houston call the "recollective-analytic" level, wherein "there is a... deepening of the emotional tone of the experience" (1966, p. 184). Consequently, the subject's boundaries between conscious and unconscious states no longer exist. Deeply repressed memories are thus unearthed and allotted meaning. Age regression can even occur. The subject's conflicts, objectives, and patterns in life are formulated. Their experience is now purposive as they travel and embark upon the "symbolic" level where they strive for fulfillment through symbolization and dramatization. Then finally, the "integral" level is attained, where everything is realized and made whole, as the ultimate goal of a person on the drug, is achieved.

Regarding mysticism, Masters and Houston (1966, p. 313) say traditionalists define the ultimate "via negative," meaning not explaining this by what it is, but by what it is not. However, unlike traditional mystics, psychedelic mystics, like the Moody Blues who became "pop mystics" (as mentioned under "The Rock Band" above), don't view the spiritual in a negative way--that was never their style. Psychedelic mystics don't withdraw from life either, but reach out to everyone, embracing a fuller experience of life itself.


Two Songs Where Music Met Magic

The Moody Blues recorded two songs devoted to the ideology, legacy, and protest of the persecution, of Timothy Leary. I will now take an in-depth, analytical view of the music and lyrics of each piece.

"It's about a friend of ours, who was victimized... in America... The best of it is he...normally beats them. And that's... beautiful."
--Ray Thomas, Intro, "Legend of A Mind," The Moody Blues Caught Live + 5 LP (1977)
"Legend of A Mind"
Words & music by Ray Thomas
Recorded January 13, 1968
From the album In Search of the Lost Chord
Produced by Tony Clarke
Released July 1968

According to British music journalist and expert on progressive rock Geoffrey Feakes (2019, p.38), at the time of this recording, the band was comprised of the following regrouped lineup, known as the "Mark Two" roster (1966-1978):



The Music

Feakes (2019) emphasizes the Moody Blues' use of acoustic guitar and Mellotron in this piece, which supplies a sonic backdrop to the psychedelic vocalization, abounding with choral echoes. Of note is Lodge's bass performance, so complementary to Edge's ebullient drumming and Thomas' resolute lead vocal. Thomas' flute solo in the middle of the opus, alternating from left to right to left, reaches a climax and melds enchantingly with the reverberative chorus. The music galvanizes Leary's star status (pp. 41-42).


The Words

Timothy Leary's dead
No, no no no, he's outside, looking in


Did it later become coincidence that Leary's last book (as mentioned under "Timothy Leary, the Scholar," above) was on how one should prepare for death? Actually, Doyle (2020) explains that the song's arranger, Mike Pinder, in an interview from 1996, states that the above two lines were meant to be presented as an encomium to Leary. Further, it was really metaphysical; Pinder adds, "It used him as an out of body experience and looking back at life at a normal level."

Feakes (2019) says "The call and response chorus...added to the LSD guru's fame and mystique" (p. 42).

Timothy Leary's dead
No, no no no, he's outside, looking in

He'll fly his astral plane
Takes you trips around the bay


Thomas explains, "I saw the astral plane14 as a little psychedelic-painted biplane that you'd pay to have a trip around San Francisco Bay on. Everybody around that time was starting to read The Tibetan Book Of The Dead15, so I included a reference to that too" (Hughes, 2014). Here Thomas is alluding to "Timothy Leary's dead." (See previous remarks by Pinder, above)

Brings you back the same day


An LSD trip usually lasts about six to nine hours, and Sures (2003) maintains that LSD remains operative in the body for up to 12 hours (p. 27). Thus when one returns from the trip, it's "back the same day." Timothy Leary
Timothy Leary


One cannot say Timothy Leary's moniker enough, so it is reiterated for emphasis and as an exclamation to extol his magnitude. In fact, three years before Leary died, he visited the Moody Blues backstage after a show at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, Thomas recalls: "He... said: 'I'm gonna tell you something... that... song of yours made me more famous than I did!'" (Hughes, 2014).

Timothy Leary's dead
No, no no no, he's outside, looking in

Timothy Leary's dead
No, no no no, he's outside, looking in

He'll fly his astral plane
Takes you trips around the bay
Brings you back the same day

Timothy Leary

Timothy Leary

Along the coast you'll hear them boast


The "coast" would be the western seaboard in California; located slightly to the east of San Francisco (where the Institute for Psychedelic Research was located [as mentioned under "The Positive Effects of LSD," above]). Leary moved with his family to Laguna Beach in 1967 and visited San Francisco, just under 400 miles away, where his devotees would "boast" about him.

About a light they say that shines so clear

The "light" is often what one experiences in a trip, like Laurie described (as mentioned under "The Positive Effects of LSD," above).

So raise your glass, we'll drink a toast
To the little man who sells you thrills along the pier


The common phrase "raise your glass, we'll drink a toast" indicates celebration. "Little man" would mean Leary who, though 72 inches tall, but weighing merely 150 lbs. (Niktos, 2015), was of seemingly slight stature. "Sells" would mean vigorous promotion. "Pier" would be the platforms on pillars one would stand on over a body of water, in the San Francisco Bay area.

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


With "up," "down," "flies so high," "swoops so low," the sweeping, all-encompassing effects of LSD are depicted, as Masters and Houston speak of (as mentioned under "The Positive Effects of LSD," above). Specifically, visual distortions and the magnification in the trip of what was normally experienced in the undrugged, everyday life of a person. "Feet... on the ground," refers to coming back from the flight.

He knows exactly which way he's gonna go

Leary, the psychologist, through the therapist/client dyad, would know what the recipient would want because he worked with them on an equal level, therapeutically, via his Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality (as mentioned under "Timothy Leary, the Scholar," above). Keep in mind that, for safety reasons, a "guide"16 often assists the person taking LSD. Relate this to Leary's set and setting models involved in his therapeutic process (as mentioned under "Timothy Leary, the Scholar," above).

Timothy Leary
Timothy Leary

He'll take you up, he'll bring you down
He'll plant your feet back on the ground
He flies so high, he swoops so low

Timothy Leary
He'll fly his astral plane
He'll take you trips around the bay
He'll bring you back the same day

Timothy Leary
Timothy Leary
Timothy Leary
Timothy Leary
Timothy Leary



...he faced criticism...for...exhorting youth to take LSD. Richard Nixon dubbed him 'the most dangerous man in America,' and...media personalities and medical professionals decried the...damage his message inflicted.
--Biography.com Editors, 2020
"When You're a Free Man"
Words & music by Mike Pinder
Recorded May 1, 1972
From the album Seventh Sojourn
Produced by Tony Clarke
Released December, 1972

Regarding the lineup for this song, Feakes (2019) states (p. 71) it was the same as on the earlier song, but with fewer instruments, and comprised of:


The Music

Feakes (2019) describes the atmosphere of this work as halcyon, because the oboe, strings and acoustic guitar possess a gossamer feel. Hayward's guitar is liquid jewel in the middle and near the close he adds a tincture of distortion. On the rhythm section, Edge and Lodge purvey their usual artistry. Pinder's lead vocal bewrays a tranquil view of himself, juxtaposed to his world (p. 75).


The Words

Time quickly passes by
If only we could talk again
Someday, I know I'll see you smiling


Here "time...passes by" elicits the mood of a lost connection. "We could talk again," expresses a yearning to be with their colleague, in person. "See you smiling," is public weal being restored, when a grinning Timothy Leary, the enslaved soothsayer, was manumitted.

When you're a free man again

Regarding "you're a free man again," Greenberg (1992) apprises us that "Leary, was considered a danger to the democratic process... It is rumored that... Governor... Ronald Reagan, had his minions find a way to remove the potential for a Leary Candidacy... Leary was arrested on a drug charge, whisked away to prison, and...nullified to enter the race." The Biography.com Editors (2020) say in their Newsletter that this was in 1970, for possession of marijuana, wherein he got a ten year sentence.

Leary couldn't have been aware that Pinder dedicated this piece to him when he penned it, as he was exiled in Algeria and "In 1972, President...Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell, persuaded the Swiss government to imprison Leary, which it did for a month, but refused to extradite him to the United States" (Leary, n.d.).

The Pop History Dig (n.d.) tells us that Leary had then fled to Afghanistan, where he was caught by the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. In the United States, there was a $5 million bail which he was held on and he was sentenced to 15 years of incarceration in 1973. The Biography.com Editors (2020) tell us in their Newsletter that Leary was immured again and let go by state decree in 1976.

High on a mountain side
We laughed and talked of things to come


Reminiscing was treasured by Pinder. "High," in whatever context, with the serenity of a "mountain side," anticipates the encouraging future as they "laughed," foreshadowing "things to come."

Someway, I know I'll see you shining
When we're all free men again


Here, unlike the previous song (played when they first met), Pinder alludes to his personal meeting with Leary. "Someway...shining" shows Leary's indomitable and ebullient presence. Envisioned also were also the swirling colours and shapes one sees during a trip, what Laurie described under "The Positive Effects of LSD," above. "When we're all" refers to the inclusion of Leary, the Moody Blues, and mankind.

You left your country for peace of mind
And something tells me you're doin' alright


By 1967, for instance, Leary told Canadians that he had been arrested four times in the last fourteen months and attempted to spread his message in Canada, which probably was a way he wanted to achieve "peace of mind," but he was detained by police and returned to the United States (Marshall and Taylor, 1967, p. 94). "Doin' alright," means Leary's spirit could not be broken.

How are the children and Rosemary?
I long to see you and be in your company


Rosemary Woodruff was the fourth (1967-1976) of five wives Leary had. He had two children with an earlier wife, and another adopted child with a later wife (Stephan, n.d.). "See you...be in your company," of course, illustrates Pinder's longing to be with Timothy, his old friend.

Someday, I hope I'll see you smiling

"Someway" (above) becomes "someday," to state that something is accomplished as the time is near.

When you're a free man again

I often wonder, why
Our world has gone so far astray?


"Wonder, why," says Pinder is in a pensive mood. "World...astray," means people have shirked personal responsibility, which Leary tried to restore with his psychology (as mentioned under "Timothy Leary, The Scholar," above).

Someway, I know I'll see you shining
When we're all free men again

You gave love freely to those with tears
Your eyes were sad then you saw the need
You know that love lasts for eternity
Let's be God's children and live in perfect peace


The way Masters and Houston described (as mentioned under "The Positive Effects of LSD," above), a person in their illusory state, like Pinder says about Leary in the lyric, can feel and thus offer "love" to everybody, being lavishly sensitive and empathetic "to those with tears." Naturally, what follows is that Leary's "eyes were sad" but he "saw the need," meaning he was disconsolate and wanted to share his support with those interested in psychedelics. And "love lasts for eternity" means this is all done for the permanent goodness of life.

Not only be "God's children," Greenberg (1992) tells us that "Leary even poses that You yourself could be God in 'You Can Be Anyone This Time Around'."17 On "Live And Let Live," as Greenberg stated, LSD was a religion for Leary, albeit a miniscule dot on a tablet.

Peace, perfect peace, perfect peace, peace

Adhering pertinaciously to the map, or guide, outlined in Leary's The Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality (as mentioned under "Timothy Leary, the Scholar," above), the client, music lover, rock star, whoever, would achieve an unharried calmness devoid of conflict, because such is a "perfect peace." This, after they, now ultimately responsible and whole, examine their own makeup and role(s).

Someway I know I'll see you shining
When you're a free man
When we're all free men again, yeah
When you're a free man


"Yeah," is annexed to the cry of "When we're all free men again," for final emphasis.


Conclusion

The Moody Blues were titillated by the magic of psychologist Timothy Leary, who advocated the safe use of psychedelic drugs, like LSD, which most of them had experimented with before meeting him in 1969. Many of us, perhaps, first heard of Leary through the music of the Moodies. I know that these two entities galvanized my intrigue with psychedelic phenomena, helping me to shape the development of my abstract art--sans the use of any drug.

Leary's book The Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality, was reflected, to some degree, in the two songs by the Moody Blues analyzed in this essay: "Legend Of A Mind" and "When You're a Free Man." Implied therein, eschewing authoritarianism, as the mentally reciprocating listener or client is freely individualized and empowered, at a concert, or in the consulting room.

However, anybody, including youth, should examine themselves and be careful and responsible--not the Moody Blues or Leary--for their pharmacological choices advocated in the songs, best undertaken with a knowledgeable trip guide. This is similar to the way one of Leary's patients, via their personality, or set, would be guided to interact with him, through his behavior or setting.

Timothy Leary and the Moody Blues delved and described new worlds of consciousness. This was witnessed in a trip's recollective-analytic level, where one becomes more sensitive and empathetic, as emotions are more deeply felt. Psychedelics and music can have that effect. People would then experience, through gloriously enhanced perceptions, more about what love and life are--even with their sometimes-disturbing facets. This is so valuable in today's downtrodden world, so bereft of spiritual and social amenities.



Notes

1. The exact date the Moody Blues officially formed as a group ranges from May 1st to May 4th, 1964. This issue is contested by many, so space does not allow the listing of sources here.

2. Philosophy Professor Bill Martin, Ph.D. (1998), describes progressive pop, progressive rock (sometimes expurgated to 'prog'), art rock, classical rock or symphonic rock, as different cognomens identifying the same genre. He says it was pioneered in Great Britain and the United States in the mid- to late 1960's. The style developed from psychedelic or acid rock groups, discarding traditional pop, and espousing other compositional methods and use of instruments, connected to folk, jazz, or classical genres. The music is sonically and poetically pleasing, as the recording studio became the instrument and the scores less danceable, and just listenable.

Prog is a blending of various phraseologies, veering from eclecticism to formalism, that is, styles characteristic of a previous time in history--versus meaning, in the music--defined purely by its form. Elongated solos, lengthier albums, and fantastical lyricism become de rigueur. When not pretentious, it embraces the more aesthetic, classy and philosophical facets of taste--sometimes even married to lowbrow.

3. Under "Beat groups," at Wikipedia (n.d.), it states that this genre emphasizes a throbbing rhythm. The Moody Blues, because they were from Birmingham, were known as a "Brum Beat" group--first of their kind to become internationally renowned.

4. Days of Future Passed was the first of the Moody Blues' "core seven" albums, recorded 1967-1972. According to Feakes (2019), who remarks (implying the Moody Blues themselves attested), "It lays claim to be the first, true progressive rock album" (p. 29).

5. Under "Mellotron," at Wikipedia (n.d.), it explains that this instrument looks like a piano, but is a tape-replay keyboard. It is polyphonic. Pressing a key pushes a measure of magnetic tape against the capstan, pulling it across the playback head. The key is then released as the tape is retracted by a spring to its original position. Various segments of the tape can be played to emit other sounds.

6. Under "Psychedelic," at Wikipedia (n.d.), it says that this term was first designated to describe certain drugs. It means the opening of the "psyche," or mind, to fresh and, heretofore, never before experienced sensations. Further, It was inaugurated in 1957 by Humphry Fortenescue Osmond, M.D., a British-born Canadian, later American, psychiatrist.

As Paul Kantner of the Jefferson Airplane once remarked, "Nobody can define psychedelic music. Psychedelic is when the person that is listening to it is on acid" (Palmer, 1995, p. 157). Under "Psychedelic music," at Wikipedia (n.d.), from various authorities, we learn that the genre is unlike regular pop because it features drones and modal melodies, song structures that are disjunctive, time signature and key changes, with surreal lyricism. Studio techniques entail backwards tapes, delay loops, panning, phasing and reverberation. Various instruments, like sitars, synthesizers and theremins are employed. The Moody Blues utilized some of the aforementioned tricks of the trade and hardware in their sound.

7. Under "Acid rock," at Wikipedia (n.d.), it avers that this is a style name, which emanated from the term lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. Moreover, it was based on garage punk music from the mid-1960's. This result is raucous, utilizing simple chord structures and riffs, fuzz tone, wah-wah, etc., sounding as if the music was recorded in a garage. The Moody Blues' oeuvre did contain some such elements, but overall they espoused a more sophisticated, classical approach.

The Free Dictionary By Farlex (n.d.) tells us that acid rock is variously defined as "A style of rock music ...having a prominent repetitive beat and lyrics that suggest psychedelic experiences." It is "characterized by electronically amplified bizarre instrumental effects" Further, it is "notable for...distortion ...and stridency of sound"

8. "'Love-in' (Bergman coined the word)" (Simels, 1993, p. 11). Peter Bergman was part of the Firesign Theatre pop/comedy troupe. The term describes where throngs congregated to listen to music, ingest drugs, make love, meditate, and protest the war in Vietnam--in a peaceful atmosphere. It was first staged in 1967.

9. Interestingly, Mike Pinder "dabbles in...psychology" (Lucraft, 1972, p. 7). No doubt he perused some of Leary's psychological texts. Thomas, according to Hughes (2014), copiously read Leary, but to what degree the other members of the Moody Blues explored psychology, including Leary's, is anyone's guess. Pinder would be replaced by keyboardist Patrick Moraz, after the release of the Moody Blues' album Octave, in the late 1970's.

10. John Lodge is an Evangelical Protestant. Clive Price (2000) says that, although Lodge follows one path, he investigates other philosophies. He quotes him affirming, "Some things would come along--the excesses--and I'd question them and say this can't be right." However, the remainder of the Moody Blues, Lodge adds, were okay with his theological stance.

11. British music critic Barney Hoskyns (1997) tells us that Richard Alpert, as well as Michael Bowen and Allen Cohen, editors of the San Francisco Oracle newspaper, developed the concept for "a 'Human Be-In'--a 'gathering of the tribes'" (p. 118), which would encapsulate the diverse segments that comprised the hippie revolution. They were perturbed that denizens of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco were frowned upon by Berkeley radicals across the Bay. The anti-war, political activism of the latter was not harmonious with those passive, apolitical psychedelic types who encroached on their iconoclastic terrain. All of the counterculture elements united--hippies and yippies--at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco at the first Be-In, January 14, 1967. Performing were the Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and other rock luminaries. Timothy Leary and poet Allen Ginsberg were just a couple of the speakers. Ecology and communal living were issues that were exalted and LSD use was rampant amongst the 20,000-30,000 spectators.

12. Billschannel (2009), presents Timothy Leary, in a 1980 television interview from The Stanley Siegel Show. Therein, Art Linkletter, who unbeknownst to only Leary, called in by telephone (Siegel, in the beginning of the interview, exclaimed that he wasn't endeavoring to sandbag Leary and then contradicts himself later on when he confessed that he was!). Linkletter spoke of his 20-year-old daughter Diane's Saturday, October 4, 1969 death (from jumping off a sixth-floor window of her West Hollywood apartment building), prompted by flashbacks after taking LSD six months earlier. For proof, he said that it was an "absolute fact" Diane, before she died, spoke to her boyfriend and brother about flashbacks. However (as mentioned, under "LSD, etc., and Their Negative Affects," above), the statistical likelihood of experiencing flashbacks is minute. Linkletter also stated, "I do not blame Dr. Leary for all of this. I think he was an important part of it." He thus scapegoated Leary, sardonically contending that he was the intellectual guru who galvanized youth to experiment with LSD, even saying that he wished Leary had died. Further, he explained that his daughter earlier apprised him that she adhered to Leary's drug philosophy. Therefore, he asserted that her painful and discombobulated life was instigated by taking LSD. He, as well, indicted the counterculture, Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane (see Appendix A), Ginsberg and Aldous Huxley. Linkletter would have, unequivocally, included the Moody Blues in his screed, but perhaps he wasn't familiar with them then.

Mikkelson (2005), describes how Linkletter reported the LSD connection within hours after Diane's death, getting the specious, disarming news from his son Robert--prior to his daughter's autopsy. Moreover, the cause was ruled a suicide and no LSD was found in her system, meaning she never took the drug the night before. Mikkelson further asseverates, "We don't...know if she'd...ever taken LSD...in her life, since the only accounts... she had come from...family in the aftermath of her death."

In The Morning Record, "Linkletter said he believes his daughter took LSD again Friday night and had a 'bad trip'" (1969, p. 1). But, he told Good Housekeeping magazine that his daughter, six months prior to her death, apprised him she wouldn't try LSD again, so, whether or not she did take the substance again, he states, "I don't think she did, although I can't be sure" (Nichols, 1970, p. 94). He had no direct contact with Diane for the last 24 hours of her life. Contradictions aside, Linkletter inculpates those who produce and market LSD of murder, rejecting any thought of a suicide. However, on the morning of her suicide, Diane expressed to her friend, screenwriter and director Edward Durston, an incertitude over her career and identity, acting dejected, not as if she was hallucinating on any drug. Did Robert Linkletter really get a phone call from his sister, just before 9 a.m., saying she was having flashbacks, and had taken the drug, Friday, the night before, and then converse with Durston immediately afterwards, before Diane jumped? Durston never places this in his account of events to police. It appears that Art Linkletter wanted to eschew the stigma of another family suicide (his son-in-law took his own life a few months earlier), and to protect his daughter's identity, as well as free himself from any parental responsibility, while preserving traditional family values.

13. The human-potential movement, or human-growth movement, burgeoned from 1960's counterculture. It was defined as, "an approach to psychotherapy and psychology that emphasizes personal growth, interpersonal sensitivity, and greater freedom and spontaneity in living" (VandenBos, 2015, p. 507). German-born former psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, and gestalt therapist Fritz Perls was also instrumental in its creation. Thus gestalt and humanistic psychologies, et al, were indicative of this approach. VandenBos, apprises us that the counterculture was a social movement proposing alternative values and mores contra-distinct to present cultural norms. It was associated with the milieu of drugs and hippies, where work and family values were scorned (p. 260).

14. Through astral projection one supposedly embarks upon a trance state, departing the physical body and then functions in "the astral plane (i.e., a hypothesized level of existence accessible to the consciousness or spirit, which acts as a link between the physical and spirit or divine worlds)" (VandenBos, 2015, p. 83). The out-of-body experience was actually a dissociative phenomenon in which a person has had a near-death experience or is under the influence of hypnosis or hallucinogenic drugs. The person believes his mind, spirit, or soul has left the body and perceives or behaves independent of it.

15. As a corollary to the previous note, Swiss psychiatrist, former psychoanalyst and founder of analytical psychology Carl Gustav Jung wrote an introduction to the 1935 German translation by Louise Gopfert-March of The Tibetan Book of the Dead. This was a Western explanation of the Tibetan Buddhist concept of death. Psychiatrist and historian Henri Ellenberger (1970) quotes Jung, who explains that "The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a description of what the soul will experience between...death and...the next reincarnation, and...also tells the soul how it can reach final illumination and thus escape reincarnation" (p. 720).

The Psychedelic Experience (1964), a guide for LSD trips, penned by Leary, Metzner & Alpert, is somewhat based on the Evan-Wentz 1927 English translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead (which Huxley had introduced to Leary). According to Leary, Metzner & Alpert (see Appendix B below), The Tibetan Book is " a key to the innermost recesses of the human mind, and a guide for initiates, and for those who are seeking the spiritual path of liberation" (p. 11). They affirmed that LSD use expunged the ego-defenses; maintaining an approximation of the stages of a death and a rebirth in The Tibetan Book and the psychological death and rebirth Leary discovered in his research. The three authors believed that that way a person is symbolically dead to his past, the old ego, which prepared them for a spiritual rebirth.

16. Remember the guide, "John" (Bruce Dern) giving Paul Groves (Peter Fonda) LSD in the 1967 Roger Corman directed movie The Trip? John assures Paul that he is there for him, and that if the trip gets turbulent and he wants out, to just say so and he would be brought back with Thorazine--an antipsychotic major tranquilizer, or neuroleptic. Interestingly, during Paul's trip, there is a carnival-like dream sequence, "Guilty," where he encounters a priestly figure, his friend "Max" (Dennis Hopper), whom he doesn't recognize. The former shows him a cavalcade of traditional slides of prominent people--veritable messengers, of the day--including Timothy Leary. Each slide depicts an aspect of Paul's life he has to come to terms with.

17. On the 1970 Timothy Leary album, You Can Be Anyone This Time Around, the personnel listed are: Timothy Leary: rap, Stephen Stills: guitar, John Sebastian: guitar, Jimi Hendrix: bass, and Buddy Miles: drums. The songs featured are: "Live And Let Live," "You Can Be Anyone This Time Around," and "What Do You Turn On When You Turn On."



Appendix

A) In 1974, six years before the interview of Timothy Leary on The Stanley Siegel Show (WABC in New York), Grace Slick, with several other members of the Jefferson Airplane, became the Jefferson Starship (and by 1985, Starship).

B) Richard Alpert, Ph.D. (psychology; from Stanford), a.k.a. Ram Dass, was from Massachusetts, where he taught at Harvard. He was also a therapist/clinical psychologist who had earlier begun psychoanalysis. He assisted Timothy Leary at Harvard, where they were both fired in 1963, because, as Marshall and Taylor (1967), and Sun Signs (n.d.) explained, their research experiments entailed dispensing LSD and other psychedelics to prisoners (as mentioned under "Timothy and the Moodies, the Substance Sages," above), psychologists and students. Note that Andrew Weil (1963) contended Leary was dismissed because he missed lectures and for leaving campus without promulgation. He also affirmed that Alpert gave psilocybin out indiscriminately to an undergrad in an apartment off-campus. Up until then, Alpert mollified academic authorities so Leary could go on with that research and often financed him.

Ralph Metzner, Ph.D. (psychology; from Harvard) was born in Germany, also taught at Harvard where he made the acquaintance of Leary and Alpert. He was, as well, a psychotherapist. Metzner was first to coauthor extensively and officially the psychedelic phenomenon and later was involved in writing books with Leary and Alpert.


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David Chirko is a Professional Affiliate Member of American Psychological Association.
See his website at chirkoart.ca


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