Few performers can enjoy a career both as a solo performer and as a member of a group, but to Justin Hayward, that’s all part of the job. The legendary voice of The Moody Blues, is currently playing a solo tour which stops off at Cardiff’s St David’s Hall this Sunday evening (September 11).
Justin’s back on the road with The Moodies next month, but he’s currently enjoying presenting a more intimate show for his fans. “I get to bring my lovely acoustic guitars that I made the records with,” he tells Andy Howells, “I’m doing quite a few things that were deeper album cuts for The Moodies and I’m doing songs from Spirits from The Western Sky which was a solo album I had out a couple of years ago.”
Swindon born Justin got into the music business shortly after leaving school in the mid 1960s, “Before The Moodies, I was in a lot of groups,” he recalls, “I answered an ad in The Melody Maker which said “Named artist needs guitar player! I was only 17 and went up for an audition in East London and Marty Wilde opened the door! I got the job and I was with Marty for 18 months to two years before I joined The Moodies. That was a baptism of fire; I owe everything to Marty really!”
Justin was then enlisted in The Moody Blues as a songwriter by keyboard player Mike Pinder. The band subsequently recorded their landmark album Days of the Future Passed within a year.
“Days of Future Passed was made as a demonstration record by Decca and none of us dreamed it would have any success,” recalls Justin. The album spawned a single, Nights in White Satin, which became a worldwide hit, except in America “The Americans didn’t release it,” says Justin, “They released a song called Tuesday Afternoon, which thankfully got in the charts and actually took us to America. FM radio was just starting in America and Days of Future Passed and Nights in White Satin were perfect for the FM format, because Decca were so fastidious in their recording and the training of their engineers it was recorded beautifully.”
As well as his work with The Moody Blues, Justin has also had great success as a solo performer but even his recording of another pop classic, Forever Autumn for Jeff Wayne’s musical version of War Of The Worlds didn’t seem like it would be a hit in the beginning. “I had a call one day from Jeff,” recalls Justin, “He said he had a song and would I consider it? It wasn’t the greatest demo I ever heard. A guy who worked at The Moody Blues record shop was at my house and was listening to it and said “That’s a great song and perfect for you, Justin!”
“I met with Jeff at Ad Vision in London and did Forever Autumn. The next day; I did another song called The Eve of the War which turned out to be the theme of the whole album. I heard absolutely nothing for about a year, and then I had a call completely out of the blue from a promo guy at CBS who said “You know that thing you did with Jeff Wayne? It’s in the charts and if you do Top of The Pops it will get in the Top 30! Forever Autumn’s been a great gift to me, a bit like Nights in White Satin, I can go anywhere in the world and sing that song and people will know it.”
Justin, who will be joined on stage on Sunday evening, by guitar virtuoso Mike Dawes and singer/songwriter Julie Ragins, will also be presenting some new material in the form of a song from a new movie entitled The Wind of Heaven, and promises there will be much to enjoy about the show, “There’s something for everybody who likes The Moodies, the old albums, the things we did in the 80s through to my solo albums and of course, The War Of The Worlds!”
To book seats, visit www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk or call the Box Office on 029 2087 8444