Moody Blues celebrate 25 years of rock 'n' roll


Justin Hayward, lead singer and guitarist for the Moody Blues, was in the recording studio in Los Angeles when we spoke recently, but he was getting ready "to meet a man about a movie."

Would he be acting in the film or doing a soundtrack? "A soundtrack," he explained. "It's not something that's new to me."

Projects like this haven't kept Mr. Hayward from continuing to work with the Moody Blues, who kicked off their new tour May 22 in Charlotte, N.C. and will appear tonight at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Four of the five original Moodies are still with the band.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of "Days of Future Passed," the album that produced such hits as "Tuesday Afternoon" and "Nights in White Satin." Mr. Hayward discussed this event and other things.

Q. Do you have any special plans to commemorate the anniversary?

A. We will certainly commemorate it ourselves. We are planning to do something, something orchestral. I don't think we would ever want to re-create "Days of Future Passed," because it's been done already. When we recorded the album, we had been asked to re-create Dvorak's "New World Symphony." We said no, we don't want to do that, but we will do something with our own music.

Q. "Nights in White Satin" is such a landmark song in the history of rock music. How did you feel after you'd written it?

A. Well, I felt very emotional when I wrote it. It was probably one of the quickest songs I've ever written. I wrote it sitting on the side of a bed in Bayswater, in West London. I had a really emotional feeling about it, and it seemed to touch a chord in me. I couldn't quite tell what it was about, but it was just a very strong feeling.

Q. How do you feel when you perform that song today?

A. I feel much more emotional about it now, because now I'm carrying along a lot of feelings that other people have about the song. It was just for me in the beginning, but now it seems to have become a part of people's lives. It means so much to so many people, and that is an amazing thing to share.

Q. A lot of your fans in the early days looked to you as visionaries and philosophers. Do you still get that reaction from fans?

A. I think so. I don't know whether it's still within us. At the time, we were given a tremendous freedom by Sir Edward Lewis at Decca Records. He indulged us like we were his children, and gave us everything we wanted. And I don't mean financially. We were the first band -- apart from the Beatles -- to have total, free use of the recording studio whenever we wanted. We could have any instrument from the orchestra; we could have whatever technical thing there was. It enabled us to record in an atmosphere of total freedom. . . . We never had to please anybody but ourselves, so we were totally self-indulgent about expressing our emotions, our religious experiences, our psychedelic experiences.

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