In a musical career that spans more than 50 years, Justin Hayward has contributed some of music’s most beloved and successful songs. His smooth vocals and tasteful guitar playing with The Moody Blues and as a solo artist can be heard on such hits as “Nights in White Satin”, “Tuesday Afternoon”, “Question,” “Forever Autumn” and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”.
Hayward is about to embark on a new, intimate solo tour that will take him all across the U.S. Dubbed “The Watching and Waiting Tour”, it’s a show that will also feature the talents of guitarist Mike Dawes and vocalist Julie Ragins.
Coinciding with the new tour, Hayward has also recently released an inspired new version and music video for the classic Moody Blues song, “The Story In Your Eyes.”
AXS recently spoke with Justin Hayward about his upcoming Watching and Waiting Tour stop at the Musikfest Café in Bethlehem, PA on August 26, his music and career.
AXS/Examiner: What can fans expect from your Bethlehem performance?
Justin Hayward: I do quite a lot of Moodies material as well as things we’ve never done on stage before. Things that really work well in this format with me, Mike Dawes and Julie Ragins. Deeper album cuts that the fans have never heard on stage. Of course, we’ll also do songs from my album, Spirits of The Western Sky. The album has been very well received, particularly the video we shot for it called Spirits… Live. It’s a great show and we love doing it. It’s a privilege for me to play with these two great musicians.
AXS: What do you enjoy most about these intimate shows?
JH: I get to bring my acoustic guitars from home and get to play the guitars I wrote the songs on. I can hear every nuance of the sound and it has the original flavor of the record. I also like to share the stories behind the songs.
AXS: Next year marks the 50th anniversary of your time with the Moodies. When you look back at it now what thoughts come to mind?
First of all, I think of how lucky I was. At the time, I don’t think any of us knew what was going to happen. I think in the back of our minds we all believed that everything would be OK for a couple of months and that we’d avoid having to do any kind of proper work. It continued like that for a few years. In fact, it’s still kind of like that today with the Moodies. It’s not about making any long-term plans. But when I look back to that time I realize how hungry we were. Everyone had nothing to lose and no possessions to try to keep. It really was a magical time.
AXS: What was so special about those early years?
It was an interesting time in the Sixties because we were one of the few groups to go to America without insisting on being stars and headlining. The promoters really liked us for that. It also meant that we would play with at least two other acts, so we got to know all of these wonderful musicians. It was great to be in their company. I remember we worked a bit with Jefferson Airplane and did a short tour with Poco, who were straight out of Buffalo Springfield. We learned a lot from them. Then the Seventies came along and it started to become more about one band with an opening act. I look back now and am amazed at just how many bands we played with and were lucky enough to witness.
AXS: I’d like to ask you about a few of songs from your career and get your thoughts on them:
“Tuesday Afternoon” (From from the album, Days of Future Passed)
It came out of a stage show that we were writing about. In the writing, I claimed the afternoon and said to the other guys that I already had a title. So I went down to where my parents lived, sat in the field and wrote the song. It was a song that I don’t think any of us took seriously at the time, but its since become a best loved song in the Moodies repertoire and my own catalog as well, which is very rewarding.