Thursday, February 29, 2024

Great Music Videos: 'Your Wildest Dreams' by Moody Blues

This is a really fun project--again, great idea, Matthew.

So this is yet another song that came out during our senior year at Heath, 1985-86. This one comes late in the school year--April 9, 1986--so it's an unabashedly sentimental song intersecting at an unabashedly sentimental time for 17-year-old, naturally sentimental me. So the point is that it almost couldn't miss with me if the song and video were any good at all. And, to this day, I think they are both just beautiful. 

First, check out Justin Hayward's simple, elegant and rich lyrics:
Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Reflected in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams
Once the world was new
Our bodies felt the morning dew
That greets the brand-new day
We couldn't tear ourselves away
I wonder if you care
I wonder if you still remember
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams
And when the music plays
And when the words are touched with sorrow
When the music plays
I hear the sound I had to follow
Once upon a time
Once beneath the stars
The universe was ours
Love was all we knew
And all I knew was you
I wonder if you know
I wonder if you think about it
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams
I would love to write something that clear and pretty some day. 

Second, there's the video itself. I cannot recommend enough the great Wikipedia page for this song. The most striking part about it for me was how Hayward heaps praise on the machine around his work for the success of this video--that the record company identified the song as a likely hit to be featured before he did and that it was Director Brian Grant who came up with the crucial idea to cast a younger band as the Moody Blues in their youth.

Let's talk more, in fact, about Brian Grant's great choices. 

I was around records and loud music from the very start. I'm the baby of four, and my siblings were all between 11 and 16 years old when I was born in 1968. I'm here to tell you that records and loud pop music were everywhere. 

My oldest brother was and is a huge Moody Blues fan. When I was 3, my mom would sometimes drop me off at his college apartment in Evansville. One of the tales that still gets told around our family gatherings is how I would sometimes go to retrieve one of Sam's or his roommates' records off the floor--except I would get in a hurry and try picking up the far end of the album while my toes were still on the near end and I would break the record in half. One album I absolutely remember being around (though not breaking) is Our Children's Children's Children. I loved studying that cover--especially the inner gatefold. Brian Grant's phantasmagorical opening to "Your Wildest Dreams" against the song's first sounds of whooshing, howling winds (adjectives from YouTube's closed captions) is brilliant in terms of recalling images from that and other albums of the Moody Blues' early years.

Then there's the thing about the younger band playing the Moody Blues in the flashbacks. They're called Mood Six, and they had formed in 1982 and had quite a lengthy career together. I think Grant is pretty clearly right (according to Hayward in the Wikipedia article) that the Moody Blues playing their younger selves would've been distracting. But I also wonder if finding an actual, existing band to play them (as opposed to casting various younger actors) was key for conveying the close and covenantal relationship that we viewers would've needed to believe the younger Hayward had with his bandmates back then, in order to be willing to leave behind his young love. 

There's also the clever back and forth between black-and-white and color scenes, as well as the just-enough sprinkling in of lighter images of other bandmates with the maharishi and groupies. But I need to actually get to work, and so let's go ahead and get straight to the woman. 

I'm unclear whether Janet Spencer-Turner is playing both the current and younger versions of Justin Hayward's first love. Whatever, she/they is/are great. When this video came out, of course, I had no woman from my past (or current) to be sentimental about, but this woman/these women was/were perfect for 17-year-old me to pine for being one day being sentimental about. The key moment of the performance(s) comes at about 4 minutes when the current version decides to break away from her family to go see the Moody Blues concert and the younger version looks at her with a sense of foreboding. It explains to us viewers that--again, back then--there was a reason why the woman chose not to go all in on accompanying Justin Hayward wherever his art took them. 

So, in conclusion: Wow. What a Great Music Video "Your Wildest Dreams" is! And what a terrific product of collaboration across disciplines and decades of experience. I'm thankful for everyone with a hand in it--Justin Hayward, the rest of the Moody Blues, Brian Grant, Mood Six, Janet Spencer-Turner and all of the rest of them. I loved it at 17, and I love it in same and different ways now at 55.


  1. You and I both felt the same way about this song and video at the time. I still think of this song often, but had forgotten about the video. Great to get the reminder.

  2. This is one of my all-time favorites. The psychology is really good as well. I was more nostalgic in my early 40's than I am now.