CONCERT PREVIEW: Moody Blues singer/songwriter/guitarist Justin Hayward to play SteelStacks

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Best known as the voice of The Moody Blues (Their fans sometimes call them “The Moodies”), Justin Hayward talked about the beginnings of his career as a solo artist.
It was 1974. After becoming famous thanks to hits, such as Hayward’s compositions “Tuesday Afternoon,” “The Story in Your Eyes” and “Question,” The Moody Blues went their separate ways. “Fortunately nothing was said that couldn’t be unsaid,” Hayward said in a phone interview from Italy. “I had good success and met some wonderful people in the four years we were apart.”
Maintaining a solo career even after the British band reconvened in 1978, Justin Hayward’s albums include “Songwriter,” “Night Flight,” “Moving Mountains” and “Spirits of the Western Sky.”

What: Justin Hayward in concert with opener Mike Dawes.
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9.
Where: The Musikfest Café at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem.
Tickets: $65-$75.
Info.: Call (610) 297-7100 or visit www.steelstacks.org.

Last year, a compelling two-disc Hayward retrospective, “All The Way,” placed tracks from his work outside the group — such as “Blue Guitar” with members of 10cc and “Forever Autumn” from Jeff Wayne’s musical version of “War of the Worlds” — alongside recordings he made with The London Philharmonic Orchestra, solo live performances, unique versions of classic Moody Blues tracks and a new song written for a movie called “The Wind of Heaven.”
It arrived just in time for Hayward to hit the road with a trio that includes Moody Blues backing musician Julie Ragins. Playing in a stripped down setting, like the one he will be in Feb. 9 in Bethlehem, never fails to take him back to the moment songs like the gold-selling “Nights in White Satin” were written on an acoustic guitar in his “bedsitting room.” “I can hear every nuance,” Hayward commented.

Long before he replaced Denny Laine (who later joined Paul McCartney’s band Wings) in The Moody Blues in 1966, a 17-year-old Justin Hayward was signed to a contract by iconic English musician Lonnie Donegan. At the time, it seemed like a great career move. However, according to Hayward, all these years later the rights to the first eight Moody Blues albums are still owned by Donegan’s family.

The set will focus on his solo material and not-often-performed Moody Blues songs such as “Watching and Waiting” from the 1969 release “To Our Children’s Children’s Children” and “You Can Never Go Home” from 1971’s “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.” Hayward will tell the stories behind the songs as well.
In 2005 Hayward was presented with The Golden Note award from ASCAP, the top honor for a British songwriter. In 2013 the Performing Rights Society in the United Kingdom awarded him his second Ivor Novello statue for Outstanding Achievement.
“I owe everything to The Moodies,” Hayward said, noting that arrangements are being made for him, John Lodge and Graeme Edge to tour this summer. The Moody Blues have sold 70 million albums.

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