By Marshall Terrill, Special to GetOut
With more than four decades in the music industry, singer-songwriter Justin Hayward has been deemed a musical marvel by peers, critics and fans alike.
He joined The Moody Blues in 1966 and penned several of the band’s most notable hits, including “Tuesday Afternoon,” “Nights In White Satin,” “Question” and “Your Wildest Dreams.”
The English-born rocker is also a noted solo artist and will lead his band through a slew of popular Moody Blues hits as well as introduce songs off his newest album, “Spirits Of The Western Sky,” when he takes to the showroom at Talking Stick Resort on Friday, May 30. Hayward, who was taking a break from his current all-acoustic tour, spoke to GetOut from his home in Europe.
Q: The Moody Blues were so different from any other band of the 1960s. Was it a natural or conscious decision to fuse classical music and rock music together?
JH: We were gifted that by our label, Decca Records. The first album we made, ‘Days of Future Passed,’ was based around a stage show we’d been working on. We played those songs live a few months before the recording. Then we had this opportunity given to us by Decca to record this ‘demonstration stereo’ album, which included ‘Nights In White Satin’ and ‘Tuesday Afternoon.’ They had such success with the album… they usually focused on singles and wanted to break into the LP market. We were the group that did that for them for the first time. After that, we were lucky in that Decca chairman, Sir Edward Lewis, said to us, ‘Listen, just do what you want to do. We don’t know what you’re doing, but do what you think is right.’ They gave us very little royalties, but lots of studio time. I wish I could say there was this great master plan when we started, but it just turned out that way.
Q: You’ve always maintained a solo career in between Moody Blues projects. Why is that important to you?
JH: Because I don’t think the Moodies recorded enough. I came to the group as a songwriter, which I thought was going to be my real purpose in the band. I just had a lot of songs hanging around, and I’ve always adored working in the studio. In the periods when the Moodies were apart or dormant, I was able to make a few albums and singles. I’ve been lucky that I’ve had several labels approach me and ask, ‘Have you got any music? It would be nice to put out a new album.’ I did three or four albums for Decca and different independent companies. They asked, and I thought it was a good idea. It’s very nice they’re willing to back me and give me their support. My new label, Eagle Rock, has given me wonderful support with my new album. It’s not about the financials but about their own personal taste and what they want.
Q: What can you tell me about your new album, ‘Spirits of the Western Sky’ and will you be performing selections from it at your upcoming concert at Talking Stick Resort?
JH: Yes, I will perform five or six songs from ‘Spirits.’ It’s a from-the-heart album. I’ll be doing the songs in an acoustic format, as I wrote them with Mike Dawes on guitar. He’s just a sensational player, and I’d recommend people showing up just for him. He opens the show for me, and you won’t see guitar playing like his ever again. It’s a nice show, which will also include Moodies favorites. I truly enjoy doing it. By the way, I love Phoenix, and it’s this sort of magical place. I’ve always felt comfortable, safe and secure there. I’ve never played Talking Stick before, but the place looks very nice, and I’m very much looking forward to playing there.
If you go
What: Justin Hayward in concert
When: 8 p.m. Friday, May 30
Where: Talking Stick Resort, 9800 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale
Information: (480) 850-7734 or DannyZeliskoPresents.com
• Read more at PressPassBlog.com, the source for Phoenix metro concert news.