The Prog Interview: Inside the mind of The Moody Blues frontman Justin Hayward
As frontman of The Moody Blues, Justin Hayward played a key role in reinventing the band’s sound and leading them to global success. We find out more about his life and career
Justin Hayward has had a long and successful career since joining The Moody Blues in 1966. Through songs like Nights In White Satin, he’s established himself as one of the most erudite and copied composers of the last five decades.
But Hayward’s impact has gone beyond his tenure with the Moodies. The Swindon-born musician has also had an acclaimed solo career, as well as working with fellow Moodies member John Lodge on the album Blue Jays. And let’s not forget that prior to being recruited by The Moody Blues, a teenage Hayward had already signed a publishing deal with skiffle king Lonnie Donegan, and in 1965 he was hired by British pop star Marty Wilde to join his backing band. It was from there he made the jump to the Moodies. But let’s not forget when he became a member, the band were a fading R&B act. Together with fellow new recruit Lodge, he helped to turn things around and put The Moody Blues firmly on the path to becoming the icons they are today.
He also found wider fame through the hit single Forever Autumn on the original recording of The War Of The Worlds in 1978, and even spent time onstage in the touring production of the Jeff Wayne musical. Yet, despite all this high profile attention, Hayward has retained his privacy, and it’s something he’s strongly protected. All of this makes it surprising that he was the subject of TV show This Is Your Life in 1997. But what this did was accentuate his widespread appeal, proving to everyone that he’s well known in the mainstream, as well as being a pioneer in the progressive world with the Moodies, who’ve long been renowned for the way they helped to develop symphonic rock.
Today, Hayward combines a busy touring schedule with the Moodies alongside an active solo career, both live and in the studio.
Yet despite his high profile, little is known about the real man. For instance, where did his love for music begin, and what made him want to become a musician in the first place? And how does he feel knowing, despite being eligible for inclusion since 1989, the Moodies have been constantly overlooked for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame? What follows gives us an insight into who Justin Hayward is, and what inspires him to this day.