In 1967, the Moody Blues recorded the album “Days of Future Passed,” with The London Festival Orchestra. This album, which reached the #1 spot on the US Cash Box Top 100, features some of the band’s most well-known songs, including “Nights in White Satin,” which reached #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 #9 on the UK Singles Chart.
Written by Justin Hayward, who had recently joined the band, “Nights in White Satin” is an emotional song inspired by the end of one love affair and the start of another. According to Hayward, the song is “quite autobiographical” and was written in his Bayswater bed-sit after someone gave him a set of white satin sheets.
Hayward’s songwriting talent was evident from a young age. Before joining the Moody Blues, he signed a deal with Lonnie Donegan’s publishing company, which gave Donegan a significant share of the royalties for this and other songs Hayward wrote at the time. Donegan was a star in the 1950s and is famous for his skiffle sound, which influenced The Beatles and The Who.
The Moody Blues’ “Days of Future Passed” is a concept album based around different times of day, with songs such as “Dawn Is A Feeling” and “Tuesday Afternoon.” “Nights in White Satin” represents night time and is the last song on the album. Hayward was inspired by Moody Blues keyboard player Mike Pinder’s composition “Dawn Is A Feeling” and wanted to do a song for “The Night.”
The orchestral parts of “Days of Future Passed” were performed separately by The London Festival Orchestra and edited between and around the Moody Blues parts. Despite the album’s credit, the orchestra did not actually accompany the group. The original idea was for the group and orchestra to record a rock version of Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” which their record company would use to demonstrate enhanced stereo sound technology.
“Nights in White Satin” has endured as one of the Moody Blues’ most beloved songs, and the comments on the video demonstrate just how much it means to people. As one commenter wrote, “This was when music was music from very talented people.” Another added, “Lord, please let 60’s music reign in Heaven!!” The song has touched people’s hearts, with one commenter writing, “I can feel his pain and anguish so much in his voice of lost love. Being heartbroken is worse than physical pain.” Another simply described it as “a classic from the vault of many classic hits from back in the day!”
The audience’s positive reactions to the song were evident at the time of the album’s release and continue to this day. “Nights in White Satin” has become a staple of classic rock radio and is frequently covered by other artists. It’s a testament to Moody Blues’ talent and the enduring power of this beautiful song.
So, if you haven’t already, listen to “Nights in White Satin” and see why it’s still so beloved after all these years. Share the video with your friends because this was truly when music was music.