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Justin Hayward at 60: Built to Last Justin Hayward at 60: Built to Last
by Melanie Rose White
2006-10-15 10:04:46
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Who would you say belongs in the World's Most Exclusive Club? The ten wealthiest people on the planet? The five living U.S. presidents? Or, how about a very few 60's rock bands. More specifically, bands that still tour regularly with most of their lineup from the early days intact.

Photo by Melanie Rose White (www.moodies-magazine.com)When it comes to bands, it's hard to think of many who would gain admittance to this small club. The Stones, for sure, are high on the list. And, thanks to their 40-plus years of crowd-pleasing concerts, the Moody Blues would easily earn their membership.

On October 14, Justin Hayward, front man for the Moodies, turns 60. What makes this milestone remarkable is not so much the candle count on his cake, but the longevity of the group he showcases. In 1966, Justin joined fellow Birmingham bandmates John Lodge, Ray Thomas, Graeme Edge, and Mike Pinder. Of the five, John and Graeme are still touring with Justin, accompanied by four backup musicians.

The Moody Blues are currently in their third week of a month-long tour in the UK (including a three-night run at the Royal Albert Hall) and Belgium. In December they head back to Europe and Asia for more shows. The band is typically on the road two or three times a year, usually playing in the States to enthusiastic audiences of some of the most loyal fans any musician could court.

Justin started performing under contract at age 16 when he signed on with skiffle artist and producer Lonnie Donegan. Although Justin most often appears on stage with the Moodies, he also enjoys an active solo career as a songwriter, guitarist, and singer. This spring he toured with Jeff Wayne's musical extravaganza War of the Worlds, where he played the role of the Sung Thoughts of the Journalist and sang "The Eve of the War" and his European hit, "Forever Autumn". Future solo projects include more WOTW productions and collaboration on an album by Alan Simon. Previously, Justin had worked with Alan on the Gaia project—an environmental call to action.

Ten years ago, during his birthday week, Justin's most-recent solo CD, The View from the Hill, was released, and a tour throughout America followed in 1997. At the time Justin commented, "Music can make the world a better place," an ideal reflected in many of the Moodies introspective lyrics. Justin has even said that he believes rock 'n' roll helped bring down the Berlin Wall.

The Moody Blues have managed not only to maintain their popularity during the last four decades, but also to attract new generations of admirers. In 1986, "Your Wildest Dreams" won Billboard's Video of the Year award. In the '90s, legions of fans rediscovered the band after watching "The Moody Blues—A Night at Red Rocks with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra" on public television in the States. This broadcast led to the highly successful worldwide orchestra tours, which continued into the new millennium.

Photo by Melanie Rose White (www.moodies-magazine.com)Since then, Justin and the Moodies have continued to prosper. Two studio CDs—Strange Times and December (a collection of holiday songs) have been released. Several DVDs have been filmed, including one taped at the Royal Albert Hall and another at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Critics gave the latter high marks for sound and its "you-are-there" quality.

In 2004, the Moody Blues performed for the first time in Monte Carlo, where Justin now lives. Prince Albert and Princess Caroline were in the audience at Le Sporting Club, along with an international crowd of fans. A few days later Justin hosted a private reception for those who traveled halfway around the world to support their favorite band.

Last year, the Moodies were guest stars at a one-off show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville where they joined legendary bluegrass artists from the award-nominated Moody Bluegrass CD. That weekend, Justin also teamed up with bluegrasser Harley Allen and local veteran Jonell Mosser at the famed Bluebird Café for a special in-the-round performance. Justin's appearance was kept hush, but his fans still managed to fill the café beyond capacity. Volume 2 of Moody Bluegrass is in production now.

With the Moodies, you sometimes look to the past to find something new. This spring, Universal Music's Polydor label released five Super Audio CDs of the original "Core 7" albums recorded by the band between 1967 and 1972. The SACDs include original album tracks and bonus cuts and aim to duplicate what you hear in a studio. The remaining SACDs of these classics should be ready soon.

www.moodies-magazine.com As part of its "Classic Artists" series, Impact Films is getting set to release a four-hour DVD documentary on the Moodies. Included will be an interview with the current band and with Mike Pinder (one of the original five band members), nine tracks from previous bands the guys were associated with, and an unreleased track from the Moody Blues.

In a recent online letter, Justin wrote that he's in a songwriting groove again—good news indeed for longtime and casual fans alike looking for a new studio album. "It's so good to have half a dozen new songs waiting in the wings. A plan is forming about how to record them," he said.

Justin and his band mates—now all in their 60s—are still vital and relevant in the music world. If you would like to decide for yourself, you can see the Moody Blues in concert on December 6, 2006, at Jäähalli in Helsinki.

In the dark of the mystic night, music is born
In the hands of the troubadour, the piper of dawn
And it's heard of a foreign shore, over the sea
In the land that we dream about, peaceful and free
Waiting for me

—From "Troubadour" by Justin Hayward

The longer the shadows
Become in my life
The colder the breeze seems to be
The days roll on by
Still I can't quite believe
That someone's not waiting for me

—From "It's Cold Outside of Your Heart" by Justin Hayward

Melanie Rose White is a staff writer for Higher & Higher, the unofficial Moody Blues magazine: www.moodies-magazine.com

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James2006-10-14 15:29:40
Great piece of writing. It made me dig out my Moody Blues Greatest Hits album - Nights in White Satin is the best.

Moodybluewyse2006-10-14 19:58:27
Wishing you a wonderful day and many more happy, fun years of music, love, and joy.
Rock On!!!!!!!!!!!
You guys are the best and always will BE THE BEST!!!

Judy2006-10-14 21:50:27
Excellent piece, Melanie! You've done Our Guy and the Moodies' fan community proud! Happy Birthday, Justin! Looking forward to LOTS more from this awesome songwriter!

Kathy Tucker2006-10-14 23:23:13
Great work, Melanie!
You've done Justin proud, & what a lovely tribute. Thanks for this. I'll be sharing this with lots of friends! ---Kathypoo

bob bradshaw2006-10-14 23:51:33
great article melanie!! you've done good !!

Carole Brownell "Moody Ta2006-10-15 00:36:45
Thank you for a great article Melanie. Happy Birthday Justin! Wishing you all the best always and thank you for the years of happiness you have given all of us.


Ken Barnhart2006-10-15 01:07:16
As always, a wonderful article, Melanie. Happy Birthday, Justin, and a big thank you for all the beautiful musical moments.

patrick hudson2006-10-15 01:21:35
very well written article. thank you so much for it.

Karen Owens2006-10-15 05:59:58
BRAVO, MEL! VERY WELL WRITTEN, INDEED! And, as always, straight from the heart.
Happy Birthday, Justin! Here's to great health and many more!

Val Weston2006-10-15 15:07:10
Superb writing, Mel, as always. Thanks for putting into words our great affection for a great man and a great band. Justin is 60! Hard to believe. He still sounds fantastic, and I wish him all the best.

Thanos2006-10-15 15:34:38
Very good indeed!

Maggie (English Sunset)2006-10-15 16:22:17
Thanks for a great article, Melanie. Well written and informative!

Grace Hill2006-10-15 21:36:00
The title of your well written article says it all-Justin Hayward at 60: Built to Last. Thanks, Melanie, for putting into words how dynamic a writer and guitarist Justin is. 60 more years!

Peter Coolen, The Netherl2006-10-15 22:29:29
Nice article Melanie but one remark though, the Moodies in Belgium? Amsterdam is as you might know the capital of the Netherlands and there the band has three shows this week.....

Gary2006-10-15 22:29:39
Happy Birthday to The Troubador! Age is just a number, after all...Justin Hayward is ageless, and his music is timeless! Great article, great tribute to a fine artist and a fine man!

moodyballetdancer (~ Bonn2006-10-16 02:29:24
Excellent report, Melanie...as are all your comments and contributions on H&H. The Moody Blues (and Justin in particular) are so deserving of the wonderful press they gather from fans and media. Long may they tour and long may you be able to report on it! Thank you!

Helen2006-10-16 15:08:00
Good article. Thanks.

Toni--moodylady2006-10-16 18:59:21
Justin, you still look great at 60!!! Hope to seew you soon!!!

Pedro Jover2006-10-16 19:41:59
I hope they come to the Argentina some day...

SvendDk2006-10-16 20:11:43
Great article!
Justin deserves it all!!!

Crispy2006-10-16 22:58:32
Thanks Melanie for the wonderful article. And Justin said-on his big day- It's just another day! And we all have them. It was great to spend it with him.
Happy Birthday again, Justin!

Valerie McCarthy - Essex2006-10-17 18:07:23
Hope you had a great 60th Justin. Got to see you guys at Ipswich on the 6th - keep on rocking

Kay in Texas2006-10-17 18:56:21
What a fantastic article about Justin and the Moodies! Thanks, Melanie, for writing this heartfelt tribute, and thanks to the guys at HIGHER & HIGHER for letting us know about it through their Web site.

Cheryl2006-10-18 01:08:17
Really nice article, Melanie!

Sandy2006-10-18 20:02:52
Great article and very deserved praise for Justin, John and Graeme.

Roger2006-10-19 20:06:29
Excellent article and most wonderful praise to Justin! Still exceptional music in 2006 as it was in 1968!

Bravo et joyeux anniversaire à vous M. Hayward

moodymoose772006-10-19 21:35:18

Marian2006-10-20 20:47:03
Justin come please to Poland

Cathy Moore2006-10-21 09:19:09
Great article and pictures, Melanie. Hope to see you and Justin again soon.

Grace karali2006-10-22 16:01:01
Grace karali, agreek moody fan.Nice coments about sweet and not old yet justin.and nice news for anew album cd.The good and the talends songwriters made songs after years.so that i expective from justin,but please make abigerr tour and paly inGreece,on the future.See justin on stage some day.by from athens.Happy birthday justinandthis isfor you:MAY THE LOVE,BEATY AND MAGIC YOU HAVE IS GRACICUSLY GIVEN FILL YOUR DAYS.Grace.

Grace karali.2006-10-22 16:03:40
Nice artcle for justin.and great justin have new songs.Happy birthaday,and this for you justin.MAY the love,beat and magik you have is gracicusly given fill your days.Grace.

Joe S2006-11-04 07:42:22
Happy birthday Justin ! Your article is well worded and hits the nail on the head with the moodies. Thanks for the great writing Melanie..

Lilly Mller2007-08-02 19:08:09
When are you coming to TX?

Tim Wilson Dundalk, Mary2007-12-10 01:09:35
I can never say enough great things about Justin Hayward. He is, if not the greatest singer/songwriter that I've ever heard. It is great to be a Moody Blues fan and I will always be proud of that.

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