Justin Hayward – The Early Days – Facebook Image
Having chalked up over fifty years at the peak of the music and entertainment industry, Justin Hayward’s voice has been heard worldwide. Known principally as the vocalist, lead guitarist and composer for the Moody Blues, he is an enduring talent that has helped to define the times in which he worked.
Over the years, the band has sold over fifty-five million albums and received numerous awards. Commercial success has gone hand in hand with critical acclaim, and The Moody Blues are renowned worldwide as innovators and trailblazers who have influenced any number of fellow artists. In 2018, along with the other members of The Moody Blues, Justin was inducted into the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Born and brought up in Swindon in the UK, Justin’s interest in music started early when he was five years old, and his grandfather bequeathed him his large collection of 78 rpm recordings. “It opened a world of imagination to me,” says Justin. Having taught himself to play the ukulele, he soon progressed to guitar, and by his early teens, he was playing in local groups. Upon leaving school at 17, he answered an advertisement in Melody Maker newspaper and successfully auditioned for UK Rock and Roll hero Marty Wilde.
“I got the job playing guitar for Marty – it was a dream come true for me.” Justin credits Marty with encouraging him to become a songwriter; he made several recordings with Marty’s ‘Wilde Three’ and also appeared with them at the London Palladium. They remain close friends today: Marty is still my hero.”
Having started the ball rolling as a songwriter in his own right with a couple of solo singles, he joined the Moody Blues in the summer of 1966. Hitting his stride immediately with the single ‘Fly Me High,’ he followed it up with the classic hit songs ‘Nights in White Satin’ and ‘Tuesday Afternoon’ from the seminal album ‘Days of Future Past.’ This album went on to become a favourite of the NASA astronauts and was taken aboard the Atlantis shuttle space craft by Chief astronaut “Hoot” Gibson on many missions.
This purple patch showed no sign of abating as Justin created other classics, era, and genre-defining hits ‘Question,’ ‘The Voice,’ ‘The Story In Your Eyes,’ ‘I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,’ and ‘Your Wildest Dreams.’ These laid the foundation for the incredible success story of the Moody Blues and his solo work, which continues today.
When the Moody Blues took a break from touring in 1975, Justin worked on the Blue Jays album, followed by the hit single ‘Blue Guitar’ (recorded with the members of 10cc). Although the Moodies continued to record and tour at the highest level, Justin also found time to create several solo albums: ‘Songwriter,’ ‘Night Flight,’ ‘Moving Mountains’ and ‘The View From the Hill.’
Justin hit the Top Ten globally in 1978 with ‘Forever Autumn’ – created for Jeff Wayne’s ‘War of the Worlds’ album. Becoming their signature song, this was the spur to him taking to the stage – for five years, from 2005 – 2010, and starring in the spectacular live stadium production.
In the 1980s, he was made a member of the famous ‘SODS’ (The Society of Distinguished Songwriters); in 2012, and he was elected ‘King SOD.’ He also collaborated in 1989 with Mike Batt and the London Philharmonic Orchestra and recorded the album ‘Classic Blue.’
In March 1997, Justin was chosen as the subject for the TV show ‘This Is Your Life’ in the presence of many of his friends, including Marty Wilde, Lionel Bart and astronaut “Hoot” Gibson.
In 2005 he was presented with ‘The Golden Note’ award from ASCAP, the top honour for a British writer. He has appeared in Nashville regularly with other songwriters in showcase events. In 2013 The Performing Rights Society in the UK awarded him his second Ivor Novello statue for ‘Outstanding Achievement.’
While releasing solo albums and DVDs and working on many different projects, including new solo recordings, Justin continued to tour with the Moody Blues worldwide. Justin records in Italy and France, where he says, “Spending time making music in a beautiful place with your friends is every songwriter’s dream.” His album of new songs ‘Spirits Of The Western Sky’ – for Eagle Rock – was followed by several solo tours and a ‘live in concert’ DVD ‘Spirits…Live’, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Video chart.
“My solo tours give the perfect balance to the big production of the Moody Blues concerts. I’m so lucky to have both.” Spirits Of The Western Sky (Eagle Rock Ent.) was followed by 2016’s All The Way (Eagle Rock Ent.) – a compilation of Hayward’s most popular solo work and live performances of Moody Blues classics, and in 2021 Justin released two more new solo songs One Summer Day / My Juliette (Eagle Rock Ent.),
In 2022 Justin was featured in the on-stage revival of Jeff Wayne’s epic production ‘The War Of The Worlds Live,’ playing to sold-out stadiums across the UK.
In June of 2022, he was awarded an O.B.E in the late Queen Elizabeth’s birthday honours list.
To coincide with his 2023 solo tours, Justin released his brand new single ‘Living For Love’ on BMG Records.
He is consistently touring the globe as a solo artist – accompanied by Julie Ragins on vocals and keyboards, flute player Karmen Gould and guitar player Mike Dawes, one of a new generation of brilliant and exceptionally gifted young players.
“I have spent most of my life, so far, on the road.” says Justin, “and playing live and creating a small piece of magic in a room is like a drug to me, one that I never want to give up.”
His talent has helped soundtrack more than a generation and created a legacy that remains undimmed.