Fifty years ago, Justin Hayward and John Lodge stepped into The Moody Blues and forever altered the British band’s history.
Largely an R&B outfit its first two years of existence, the band changed course in 1966 and recorded a song from one of the new guys – “Fly Me High,” a groovy toe-tapper written by Hayward.
The song wasn’t a hit, but it was a precursor to what followed on The Moodies’ landmark 1967 concept album, “Days of Future Passed,” with songs such as “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon,” cementing the band’s legacy.
To celebrate the milestone anniversary of singer-guitarist Hayward and bassist Lodge, they and original drummer Graeme Edge are on the month-long “Fly Me High” tour that is rolling primarily through the South.
The show – which includes four additional musicians backing up The Moodies – will unfold at The Fox Theatre on Saturday.
Hayward, who lives in the South of France when he isn’t zig-zagging around the world, chatted earlier this week from his hotel room in Orlando during a day off between concerts.
On being in The Moody Blues for 50 years:
“When I came to the band in the summer of 1966 I thought, I’ll give it a couple of months. Who’d have known? None of us had any money, I at least had an amplifier and some songs and my purpose was to get (the other musicians) to not be a. R&B band.”
On his relationship with Lodge and Edge:
“I think it’s an interesting relationship. I had a brother who died at 41 and people say, ‘(Being in a band) must be like family.’ But it’s not, curiously enough. It’s a relationship that is unique in that you had your 15 minutes of fame together. They’re kind of stuck with me. It is a curious relationship. It’s not something you kind of choose, but when you’re together you have this common purpose. It’s not friendship, and it’s not like a marriage, but you’ve shared something very deep together… We don’t hang out together at all (when not touring). They see enough of me!”
On touring in the South:
“It’s always been good to us, there. It’s a part of the world that’s very beautiful. I first traveled there in 1968 and was 20 years old and saw the moss hanging from the trees — it’s a very romantic part of America. My daughter studied American history at university and (the South is) steeped in history. As a kid, I just thought America was N.Y., L.A. and Lubbock, Texas, where Buddy Holly was born.”
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