With this year marking the 50th anniversary since Justin Hayward joined the Moody Blues after answering an ad in Melody Maker, it’s an understatement to point out how many thousands of miles he’s logged on the road. Hayward has gone around the world a few times as part of the Moodys and as a solo act. The following are some of the more notable jaunts Hayward has embarked on in the past few decades.
Marty Wilde (1965)
“The first tour I did was with Marty Wilde, which was the Combined Services Entertainment Tour. So that means playing before servicemen overseas. That was when I realized why a lot of people hate the English, because we had bases in so many places all over the world since the Second World War. It’s never a great idea occupying other countries. It was a great tour and a kind of baptism by fire for me.”
On The Threshold of a Dream Tour (1969)
“The first [Moody Blues] U.S. tour was pretty special. To be quite honest, the idea of calling it a tour was a new thing because we just used to work all the time. We’d do a few days in the studio, if we were lucky enough to get some studio time from Decca. But specific tours I would say—now your time is split up into tours whereas before it was just going out from home and doing a gig. So the first Moody Blues tour of America was huge because we had enough money to go to American but we didn’t have enough money to come back. So we had to play there until we’d earned enough money to come back. We only did about five dates with Cream. We did a couple of weeks opening up for Canned Heat and we of course played the Fillmore East in New York and made it all the way across to the Fillmore West in San Francisco. But what was special about being on the road with Canned Heat was the fact that they went to working-class America, which I knew nothing about. The middle—the industrial heart of America and the Northeast and up into Canada. I thought music or rock and roll fans were confined to certain areas of America. I didn’t know before that it was the heart of America. They introduced us to a whole new audience. We owe them a great deal. It was very upsetting to me when the guy named The Owl died. He was a kind of genius.”
Isle of Wight Festivals (1968-1970)
“We did all three Isle of Wight festivals. I think each one became more legendary than the others. They were tremendous experiences and really marked a way how people saw music and how music was perceived and sold. I think it was the end of the peace, love and good vibes after that. It became a business really.”
Octave Tour (1978)
“That was the first one with [keyboardist] Patrick Moraz. I think it was special because a lot of people said it was over for the Moodys and to forget it. We came back really strong.”
The Other Side of Life Tour (1986)
“The Other Side of Life was the first tour I ever did where people actually recognized me in the street because of ‘Your Wildest Dreams’ and ‘The Other Side of Life.’ It was tremendous. People would ask if I was that Moody Blues guy (laughs).”
Justin Hayward will be appearing on May 24-26 at City Winery, 155 Varick St., NYC. For more information, visit www.citywinery.com or call 212-608-0555 .