Moody Blues Front Man Reflects On Early Days As 50th Anniversary Concert Premieres On PBS
November 27, 2017
I’m just beginning to see
Now I’m on my way
It doesn’t matter to me
Chasing the clouds away.”
~Justin Hayward, The Moody Blues
Truth be told, it wasn’t cloudy at all the day Justin Hayward wrote Tuesday Afternoon, and at the time he had no idea how far he would go and the millions of people he would inspire along his way.
The now 71-year-old front-man of the iconic “prog” band, The Moody Blues, did this reporter and forever fan the honor of an interview last week to discuss the 50th anniversary of the band’s release of Days of Future Passed, one of the greatest progressive rock albums of all time, featuring Nights in White Satin and Tuesday Afternoon, among others.
Now, thanks to PBS, all fans will get a front-row seat for the band’s 50th anniversary performance of the entire LP live at Toronto’s Sony Centre when Great Performances – The Moody Blues: Days of Future Passed Livepremieres on PBS stations nationwide on November 25. (As it turns out, the premier also falls on this reporter’s 50th birthday.)
Great Performances’ concert special showcases the band in performance for the first time with a full orchestra in a spectacle that recreates their pioneering concept album. Recorded with a full orchestra, the show is narrated by British actor Jeremy Irons and features atmospheric projections, transporting viewers back to the psychedelic era of The Moody Blues’ classic 1967 record. The film also pays homage to the band’s five decades of musical influence and showcases their groundbreaking foray into progressive rock.
Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET. Throughout its more than 40-year history on public television, the show has showcased the best in all genres of the performing arts.
It is indeed a big year for Moody Blues fans as 2017 marks the first time the band has been nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. According to the Hall’s website, “Besides demonstrating unquestionable musical excellence and talent, inductees will have had a significant impact on the development, evolution and preservation of rock & roll.”
That decision will be announced next month, but as for the time of this writing, The Moody Blues are second only to Bon Jovi in votes among 19 potential nominees. Five are chosen each year.
But back in 1967, before The Moody Blues had for the first time fused rock with classical music, when Hayward was just 20 years old, he was sitting in a field just west of England and near Stonehenge with his little dog, Tuesday. (He said he named the dog for actress Tuesday Weld, on whom he had an enormous crush at the time.) “It was such a lovely day and the sky was so lovely. It was a fairytale day and my little dog loved the situation. It’s as simple as that,” Hayward said. “Me and Tuesday went back to where my parents lived and I sat in the field smoking a joint and wrote it.”
In reality, Hayward said, he had gone to stay with his parents temporarily because he was too broke to live on his own. “I was pretty broke. We were only making $30 to $50 a night to play. It’s such a silly little song. It was one of the throw away songs that ended up being on an album, but it was a particular favorite of Peter Knight, and he and London Records seized on it. The orchestral interludes were by Peter Knight. But it was the perfect single for American radio in the 60s.”