"Days of Future Passed" on The Big L
This Sunday at Nine
May 4, 2008
The Big L is a UK radio station located at 1395 AM, Sky Digital 0190. Their website is The Big L Online.
The show was dedicated to the groundbreaking 1967 album 'Days Of Future Passed.' Each song was preceded by Justin and John telling the story behind the song. This is a slightly paraphrased transcript.
Hosted by Mike Read.
Mike Read: Justin Hayward tells us about the first track on the album...
Justin Hayward: It starts out with Graeme's poem. I really love this song, it's a great sort of waking-up song. I actually put the album on in the mornings myself sometimes, to clear things out of my own head. It's a beautiful song that Mike asked me to sing, and it's called 'Dawn Is A Feeling.'
~The Day Begins~
~Dawn: Dawn Is A Feeling~
MR: 'Dawn Is A Feeling' seemed kind of empty, so they decided it needed some words to precede it. The words they added were intended to be put to music, but they did fine on their own as a poem. The album was originally supposed to be a demo for Decca, so their reps could demonstrate their Deramic sound system. John Lodge tells us about 'The Morning'....
John Lodge: It's a song of Ray's, and he wrote it on flute. It's wonderful when Ray sings you a song, because there's no chord structure. You have to count the tempo and find the chords. I remember when he first played it for us at his house. It just drifts along, it does have the feeling of the morning, kind of happy and childlike. The morning is a time for children.
~The Morning: Another Morning~
MR: The Moody Blues were one of the first groups, if not THE first group, to use the Mellotron. They actually bought it from the Dunlop Social Club in the Midlands. It was a big hulking thing and it took six strong men to carry it. John takes us to the next song on the album....
JL: It's a song called 'Peak Hour.' I wrote it in the back of a transit van, coming down one of the A-roads. We were coming back from a gig. It must have been the speed we were going at, I remember thumping the back of the seat with my feet to keep the tempo. I thought it would be great to have this rock & roll song, and in the middle have this organ, this church organ harmonic, and then come out all frantic at the end of it. It's really what rush hour is like.
~Lunch Break: Peak Hour~
MR: It was Decca who suggested the title for 'Days Of Future Passed.' The next song is 'Tuesday Afternoon,' or 'Forever Afternoon.' Justin tells us how this song came about and why he couldn't sing it in front of his dog.
JH: I was always a bit upset that they changed the title. When they did the artwork for the album, somehow they preferred to call it 'Forever Afternoon.' But it WAS called 'Tuesday Afternoon,' and it's always been known by that name, and to this day that's how it's known. I wrote it when I went home to my parents' house in Swindon. There's some lovely countryside there. I went out to the country with my guitar, rolled up a little cigarette, sat in a field and wrote it. At the same time, I had a little dog named Tuesday, and the first two lines...when I sang them she'd prick her ears up....it was just the way to call her. Yes, it was written in a field in Wiltshire.
~Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)~
~(Evening) Time To Get Away~
MR: 'Tuesday Afternoon' was the first single released in America. They thought 'Nights In White Satin' was too long at six minutes, but it was released soon after and became a great hit. John now tells us about the Ray Thomas/Mike Pinder songs 'The Sun Set' and 'Twilight Time.'
JL: 'Twilight Time' is another song of Ray's. It's really the link between the beginning of the evening and, of course, the night. We decided it was sort of a work-time song. You're coming home, tired, exhausted, but with the thought of what's going to be there for you for the evening.
~The Sun Set~
MR: Justin tells us about 'Nights In White Satin'...where he was and what he was doing and whose guitar he wrote it on.
JH: 'Nights' was one of those things...it's very odd to be asked over and over again about four minutes of your life that happened when you were 19 years old. I'm not sure anymore, what was in my mind at the time. I was living in a bedsitter flat in Bayswater. I had a few possessions, including a 12-string guitar belonging to Lonnie Donegan, which I renovated for him and then he asked for it back. It was very quick. I was at the end of one big love affair and the beginning of another. I actually had white satin sheets, which a girl gave to me because she thought they'd be very romantic. But I couldn't really use them. There's a lot of truth in that song. I do write letters and don't send them, it's a very cathartic thing. And I do believe that just what you want to be, you'll be in the end.
~Nights In White Satin~
MR: There you have it...it was originally supposed to be a budget album, but it established the group as one of the best album bands in the world. We have time for some extras. Justin tells us about his work with 10cc and 'Blue Guitar'....
JH: 'Blue Guitar' started with myself and my friend Eric Stewart. I used to stay with Eric at his home in Stockport. We were partners there in a studio called Strawberry in the early 70s. I knew him from the Mindbenders in the 60s, and he had started a group with Kevin Godley and Lol Creme called Hot Legs. I was spending time there, and one of them said there was a cancellation at the studio the next day....anybody got a song? I said I had one. It had a different title, it was called 'You Are' (sings a little bit, then laughs) ...that's enough of that. And they said yeah, umm... (laughs) ...why don't you give it a proper title? I thought...'Blue Guitar'...that'll work, so I rewrote the lyrics. It was produced by Eric, I did electric and acoustic guitar, Kevin on drums and Lol on a sort of slide guitar. We didn't do anything with it and it sat around in a tape box for two years until we were doing 'Blue Jays' and were looking for something to release as Blue Jays. We reworked it a little, John put some bass down and Tony Clarke mixed it. If you'll notice, for anyone who's interested, it's got dual production credits...Eric Stewart and Tony Clarke.
MR: 'Forever Autumn' was a huge hit that started out as a commercial, written by Gary Osborne and Paul Vigrass. Let's let Gary tell us about it....
Gary Osborne: 'Forever Awful,' or 'Forever Awkward' (laughs) began as a Lego toys commercial. Paul and I sort of "doo doo doo'd" it. They wanted us to sing breathy "doos" with a smile (laughs). When we needed a B-side for something, we put lyrics to it and recorded it as Vigrass & Osborne. It got into the top three in Japan. Then it sat in a drawer until Jeff Wayne came to us and said, "We need a song like 'Forever Autumn.' " And I said, "Well, I have a song just like 'Forever Autumn!' " And it was a top three hit for Justin as well.