Justin Hayward was born on October 14, 1946 in the upstairs bedroom of the house next door to his grandfather’s in Dean Street, Swindon, Wiltshire, next to the giant Great Western Railway Works. He was educated at Shrivenham School, Berkshire, and Commonwealth Grammar School, Swindon, where he gained five “o”-Level passes.
From the age of 5 he enjoyed singing, and he inherited his paternal grandfather’s collection of 78s when he was 6, which opened up the magical world of music to him as his grandpa had collected many hits of the 30s and 40s. He had a few piano lessons at 7, learned to play the ukulele at 9, and this progressed to a strong desire to own a guitar. With help from his parents and hire purchase, Justin had achieved this ambition by the age of 10.
While still at school, Justin played in youth clubs and in back rooms of pubs around Swindon, starting in the late 50s with his group The Woodpeckers, then with The Satellites, The Rebels Rock Group (who changed their name to The Off-Beats and played two full summer season bookings in 1961 and 1962), and thereafter, The Whispers, later called All Things Bright, who proved a great success throughout the West country.
In early 1965 Justin answered an advertisement for a guitar player in “The Melody Maker” and soon found himself one-third of The Wilde Three with Marty Wilde and his wife Joyce, appearing on stage at the London Palladium in April of that year as well as touring all over the UK and performing on a long tour of the Middle East. He recorded two singles with The Wilde Three – “Just As Long/Since You’ve Gone” and “I Cried/Well Who’s That” – before branching out on his own and recording two self-penned solo singles in 1966 – “London Is Behind Me/Day Must Come” for Pye Records and “I Can’t Face The World Without You/I’ll Be Here Tomorrow” for Parlaphone (the Beatles original label). To this day, he credits Marty Wilde as having encouraged him to write his own material. Soon after the release of his solo singles, Justin wrote to Eric Burden of the Animals and sent him some of his compositions. Eric passed them on to Mike Pinder of The Moody Blues in the Summer of 1966, so beginning a famous and acclaimed 36-year career, which started with the recording of Justin’s “Fly Me High” at the famous Decca Studios, engineered by Gus Dudgeon. Within a few weeks Justin had written many other songs for the band including “Nights in White Satin.”
The next seven years, and seven legendary albums, are of course well documented.
Outside of the band, in 1969, Justin was the voice of Gulliver on his good friend Lionel Bart’s demo of his musical Gulliver’s Travels, and after the Moodies took a break from touring and recording in 1974, Justin joined up with John Lodge and Tony Clarke (the Moodies’ producer) in the making of the beautiful hit album Blue Jays, and in 1975 they toured exclusively in the UK. The single “Blue Guitar” (recorded by Justin two years earlier with Eric Stewart, Lol Creme and Kevin Godley at Strawberry Studios Stockport) was released under the Blue Jays banner and achieved a high placing in the charts around the world. In the same year he worked with other artists on the album Flash Fearless -v- The Zorg Woman (Parts 5 and 6).
1977 saw the release of Justin’s first hit solo album, Songwriter, from which were taken three singles, “One Lonely Room/Songwriter (Part 2),” “Country Girl/Doin’ Time” and “Stage Door/Lay It On Me.” This was closely followed by his involvement with Jeff Wayne in the War of the Worlds project, which brought Justin a world-wide hit single in 1978 with the beautiful and timeless “Forever Autumn.” In that year he also found time to work with the Mandalaband (led by famous photographer and author David Rohl) and contributed to their album Eye of Wendor: Prophecies, and in 1979 he released a non-album single “Marie/Heart of Steel.” In the same year Justin received the ASCAP award for “Nights in White Satin.”
Also that year, the Moodies regrouped for their album OCTAVE and between that and their next album Long Distance Voyager, in 1981, Justin released his second solo album Night Flight, which was a mixture of his own songs and those of other writers, and produced by Jeff Wayne. Two singles were released from this album – “Night Flight/Suitcase” and “Nearer To You/It’s Not On.”
While continuing to busily tour and record with the Moodies, Justin still found time to record with other artists and in 1980 released a single with Marti Webb called “Unexpected Song.” In 1985 his third solo album Moving Mountains was released, which contained the singles “Silverbird” (the video, of which was filmed in Cornwall, is on his recent DVD) “Take Your Chances” and “The Best Is Yet To Come/Marie.” Co-produced with his friend Martin Wyatt, Moving Mountains has become a firm favorite on UK radio.
In 1989 Justin released yet another album Classic Blue, this time collaborating with Mike Batt and the London Philharmonic Orchestra to record his own interpretations of well-loved songs and from that album was taken the single “Tracks of My Tears/Railway Hotel.”
On October 15, 1996, Justin’s fifth solo album The View From The Hill was released in the USA. Recorded in Italy, at the studio he was later to take the other Moody Blues to record in, the album comprises seven self-penned tracks, together with collaborations with Dennis Lambert and Mickey Feat, and two songs written by Phil Palmer and Moodies’ keyboard player Paul Bliss. Justin happily describes the album thus: “To make beautiful music, in a beautiful place, with your best friends, is every musician’s dream – We did it! This album is a celebration of musical brotherhood and joy as I have never experienced it before.”
In March 1997 Justin was honored with the ultimate accolade when he was the chosen subject for “This is Your Life,” an overdue recognition for a lifetime’s work.
He has received four ASCAP awards, the BMI Million Plays award for “Story in Your Eyes,” an Ivor Novello Statue, as well as numerous other songwriter awards around the world. His song “Nights in White Satin” features regularly in the all time lists of favorite songs, including being in the top ten Songs of the Millenium, voted for by the public, on BBC TV.
As will be seen, as well as being a vocalist and lead guitarist for The Moody Blues and pursuing a successful solo career, Justin also enjoys the challenge of working with other artists and, when time permits, he likes to give his time to performing and recording for charitable organizations and to attending music industry functions. Such noteworthy events in recent years include:
- 1984 – participation in the finale of the “Live Aid” concert.
- 1985 – (with John) recorded a single called “Doctor in Distress” with carious artists in connection with the BBC series “Dr. Who.”
- 1987 – April 1st – performed in “The Hunting of the Snark” with Mike Batt and various artists at the Royal Albert Hall in London in support of the British Deaf Society.
- 1988 – October 13th – performed with Debbie Harry and Grace Jones at the World Wildlife fund-raising concert in the World Trade Center in New York.
- 1989 – February 13th – presented an award to Phil Collins and sung with The Brits Supergroup at The Brits Awards in London.
- 1990 – July 18th – (with John) performed at “The Prince’s Trust Rock Gala” at Wembley Arena in London.
- 1990 – May 5ht – (with John) performed “Across the Universe” at The John Lennon Tribute Concert in Liverpool.
- 1990 – December 6th – performed at “The Red Balloon Ball” in aid of The British Lung Foundation at Alexandra Palace in London.
- 1991 – June 4th – Performed in “Starry, Starry Night” with Mike Batt and carious artists in support of Save the Children at The Barbican Centre in London.
- 1991 – June 12th – (with John) presented an award to ZZ Top at The Third International Rock Awards in London’s Dockland Arena.
- 1991 – October 12th – Performed at “The Moody Blue Bop” in Swindon on behalf of a Fund or the Rainbow Room for cancer patients.
- 1992 – February 12th – Presented “Best Video Award” to Seal at The Brits Awards in London.
- 1995 – April 17th – Performed at “Tin Pan South” – Nashville Songwriters Association International at the famous Grand Ole Opry Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
- 1995 – November 21st – Performed at “Lily’s in The Field” – Irving Plaza, New York – benefit concert for orphan children in Bosnia.
- 1995 – October – performed at charity concert in Swindon’s Allied Dunbar Centre for the NSPCC.
- 1997 – June – performance at Liverpool’s Albert Dock with Liverpool Police Band and local children’s choir for “Summer Pops” concert in aid of children’s charity.
- 2002 – June – Two shows at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland to benefit ACT (Amazon Conservation Team)
Justin received his first ASCAP award in the 70s and after “Long Distance Voyager,” Justin received a joint ASCAP songwriting award with John for “Gemini Dream.” In 1988 a further ASCAP award for the most performed song in 1987 (“Your Wildest Dreams”) and in 1989 yet another ASCAP award for one of the most performed songs in the USA in 1988 (“I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”). Justin also enjoys contributing to the songwriting industry as a whole and was welcomed in 1983, into the exclusive S.O.D.S. (The Society of Distinguished Songwriters), and in January 1991, was elected to the decision-making council of BASCA. In 1989 he was invited to be one of the judges in the BBC’s “Song for Christmas” competition. In 2000 Justin received the Golden Note Award from ASCAP for lifetime achievement. The only other British recipients are Phil Collins and Sir Elton john.
Although he never achieved one of his main ambitions when younger to write the music for a Stanley Kubrick film, Justin has written songs for two films: “Eternal Woman” for the 1983 film She, and “Something Evil, Something Dangerous” (with Barrie Guard) for the 1988 film “Howling IV.” In 1987 he wrote the title track “It’s Not Easy” and the incidental music for the BBC series “Star Cops” with Tony Visconti and in 1988 wrote the music for the popular BBC cartoon series “The Shoe People” which was shown around the world.
In 1988 Justin recorded the song “Skimming Stones” for the Italian film soundtrack to “Tre Uomini e Una Gamba.” Notably, Justin’s “Nights In White Satin” has been utilized to fine effect in films that include “Casino,” “Shattered” and “A Bronx Tale” and “Tuesday Afternoon” in the movie “1969.” Most recently Justin is the featured guitarist on the soundtrack for the IMAX film “Amazing Caves” where many of his song themes are used.
In 1967 Justin said that he found his songs made up a kind of biography or diary of his life, as they were about people he’d known or people he’d only known in his imagination, places he had seen only for a moment and places he had lived in all his life. Now, his hope is that through his music he will have helped to make the world a better place.
When stepping back out of the spotlight, Justin lists his hobbies as music, walking, running, working-out, and horse-riding.