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Justin Hayward & John Lodge on "Gold Radio"
From The Bottom To The Top
September 21, 2008

This UK radio show features artists reliving their chart successes while counting down the top hits of a particular week in history. Click here to visit the Gold Radio website. This is my slightly paraphrased transcript of an interview with Justin Hayward and John Lodge of the Moody Blues.

Host: David Jensen


David Jensen: That's 'Question,' which reached #2 the week of May 30th, 1970. And we have with us John Lodge and Justin Hayward. Good morning!

John Lodge: Good morning!

Justin Hayward: Good morning!

DJ: 'Question'....that song...good memories for you?

JH: Oh, fantastic! It was a wonderful time for us.

~'Down The Dustpipe' by Status Quo~

DJ: That was Status you see them much?

JH: Oh, yes, we're good friends. They've haunted us! (chuckle) ...they had that song that went "da dunk da dunk da dunk"....

DJ: Oh yeah, 'Down The Dustpipe'....

JH: Then they had that other song that went "da dunk da dunk da dunk." They all sound like that! (laugh)

JL: Francis Rossi, that wasn't me that said that! (laugh)

~'Kentucky Rain' by Elvis Presley~

DJ: Elvis Presley...what a tragedy for someone so talented to die so young.

JH: Absolutely.

DJ: Was he a hero for you?

JL: He was a real hero for me, especially the early Sun records and those first songs like 'Heartbreak Hotel.' I actually found a website with the original outtakes from those early sessions, with Elvis telling them how to sing 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky'....stopping them and telling them "that's not right." (chuckle) Brilliant! I drove across Route 66 with my family in 1977 and I saw Graceland. It was terrific.....before it became as "tourist" as it is now. When we were in Memphis, Justin and I went to see it. It was just one house on an almost deserted road, before all the fast food places...

JH: ...souvenir shops....

JL: ...before it was all built up.

DJ: How about Simon and Garfunkel?

JH: Oh, totally...Paul Simon as a writer and Simon and Garfunkel as an act. And 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' was the big album that year. Is that in the charts for this week?

DJ: Yes, that's coming up next.

JH: What's funny is - I've got to say this - in 1970 we had just opened an office in Cobham...

DJ: Threshold!

JH:...and we had a record shop downstairs. Still do, actually - a CD shop now (chuckle) - and one day our shop assistant said, "You're not gonna believe this, someone asked for that album...'Trouble Over Bridgewater!' " (all laugh)

~'Bridge Over Troubled Water' by Simon and Garfunkel~
~'Abraham, Martin & John' by Marvin Gaye~
~'Don't You Know' by Butterscotch

DJ: That's the Marvin Gaye version of 'Abraham, Martin & John'....not the Dion version, of course. Did you ever hear that version?

JH and JL: Oh yes!

DJ: I love that arrangement. Marvin Gaye is another legend. Has he influenced you?

JH: Oh, sure!

DJ: Of course, you don't sound like him, but how has he influenced you?

JH: Well, rhythmically...and he was a giant to all musicians, because he was a musician. And his comeback record in the 80s, just a drum machine...

DJ: 'Sexual Healing'...

JH: ...yeah, 'Sexual Healing.' He mastered all these little recording techniques. He's another one with a tragic end.

~'Green Manalishi' by Fleetwood Mac~

DJ: Fleetwood you, they've always sold out in America...and in Canada, too. Fans are so loyal to bands in North America.

JH: Well, that's nice!

JL: Another thing, in America and Canada, because of live the summer they have a lot of indoor/outdoor venues where 3,000 to 4,000 seats are covered and there's a lawn area in back. If you keep the admission low you can get young people to come to see what the Moody Blues are like. If it's daylight you can see the people in the back...the young people...they're all dancing differently, doing their own thing. It's great.

~'I've Got You On My Mind' by White Plains~
~'Traveling Band' by Creedence Clearwater Revival~

DJ: John Fogarty....have you ever seen him? I saw him at the Royal Albert Hall last week, he blew me away!

JH: Oh yeah?

DJ: A tremendous talent, don't you think?

JH: Yeah, fantastic. Totally....the sound of those records was his guitar and that voice...that guitar riff.

~'Can't Tell The Bottom From The Top' by the Hollies~
~'Cotton Fields' by the Beach Boys~

DJ: We've been playing some great legends here today. And Brian Wilson is still a force. Of course, we make allowances....he's not the Brian Wilson he was as a 16-year-old. He's had problems along the way. Are you still a fan?

JL: We did a concert with Brian Wilson at Wembley about ten years ago. We know Brian very well. He'd never been away from L.A. on his own before, and we asked him to come to Wembley to do the encore with us. He wasn't sure he should, and we said come on, it'll be great. He came with a roadie and bought himself a whole new set of clothes! (laugh) We did 'Sloop John B' and 'Barbara Ann'....

DJ: What a gig!

JH: It was fantastic! He was worried, "Do you think they'll know who I am?" (chuckle) What, of course! Are you kidding? (laugh)

JL: He got there and said, "Is this place gonna be full of people?" Umm...yeah...that's the idea (chuckle). That's why we brought you here!

~'Groovin' With Mr. Blow' by Mr. Blow~
~'Everything Is Beautiful' by Ray Stevens

DJ: We've been talking about 1970. Let's talk about 2008. You've got a big UK tour coming up, September through mid-October. You're always associated with touring. What are your private passions when you're not playing music, writing music, thinking music?

JH: Well, I like to walk. Yes (chuckle) strangely enough! And it's not just because I can't remember where I live! (laugh) I actually do like to walk, up in the mountains...I'll put on a big pair of hiking boots. Mostly, I'm only interested in music. I like to keep fit, that's been part of my life for 20 years or so.

DJ: Wow, I feel guilty! How about you, John? Do you like to keep fit?

JL: Well yes, when we're on the road I like to keep fit. I spend an hour in the gym each day. And I swim...and play tennis...that's good for keeping fit. Other than guitars - music is everywhere in my home, there's always a guitar around to pick up - I play golf. I love golf.

~'ABC' by the Jackson Five~
~'Brontosaurus' by The Move~

DJ: That's The Move, with 'Brontosaurus.' What a group! Did you ever come across these guys? They were from your area, weren't they?

JL: Roy Wood came to my house and gave to my father a recording he'd made, a version of 'Dambusters' that he'd done. He said, "Would you listen to this, Mr. Lodge?" He was just 11 or 12 years of age and he was incredible. He's always been an incredible guitar player, but in a different way.

DJ: He was unique, you can tell from that song.

~'Daughter Of Darkness' by Tom Jones~
~'I Don't Believe In 'If' Anymore' by Roger Whittaker

DJ: Next up, we have Frigid Pink with 'House Of The Rising Sun.' You guys are familiar with the Animals' version. That's one of the oldest songs on record, it goes all the way back to the 1800s.

JH: Oh really?

DJ: Were you guys ever blues musicians? You were from that time when blues music was....well, you were the Moody Blues, but you had a different sound.

JH: Oh absolutely. I tried it for about ten minutes (chuckle). In a soundcheck, you can find me doing my blues riffs. But you're right, in the mid-60s, blues was big. British guitar players were very good at it, better than the American guys...and better than the original players sometimes. Blues was huge in the UK, it gave many boys their start.

~'House Of The Rising Sun' by Frigid Pink~
~'Up The Ladder To The Roof' by the Supremes
~'Honey Come Back' by Glen Campbell~

DJ: Have you heard Glen Campbell's new album?

JH and JL: No, no....

DJ: Yeah, it's great! He does cover versions of songs by the Foo Fighters, U2...

JL: Yeah? Wow!

DJ: ...Jackson Browne...his son and daughter are on it, doing some background. His voice is just like listening to 'Galveston.' Next up we have 'Spirit In The Sky' by Norman Greenbaum. Did you ever run into him?

JL: We played with him! (laugh) In 1968...

JH: San Diego.

DJ: Yeah?

JL: I just remember 'Spirit In The Sky.'

DJ: Two years before it was a hit?

JH: It may be that it came back in 1970, because it was certainly around before that. He was great, a little bit outrageous, but he had a spectacular stage show.

~'Spirit In The Sky' by Norman Greenbaum
~'Yellow River' by Christie~

DJ: That brings us to 'Question,' our #2 song this week. So....'Question'....what is the story behind that?

JH: Is there a story? Well, the story is - because I can remember the session - we had time booked on a Saturday at Decca, only a few hours. The other guys were relying on me to come up with something, and I still hadn't at 2:00 Saturday morning....Friday night. What I did have was two songs, different tempos, about two different things: a love song and an anti-war thing. In a last desperate stab at it, I decided to put them together and run them into each other and they worked! I took it to half-tempo and it sounded really good. I changed the words around and made each part relevant to the other part. It was probably the quickest record we ever made. And blow me....'Question' got released! It was quite an unusual record to be a single. It went to the top of the charts. It was a wonderful time for us. We were able to enjoy our success and have our name in the headlines.


DJ: Our song rankings come from the 'Guinness Book Of British Hit Singles,' where 'Question' is listed at #2. Of course, it hit #1 on the NME charts. I'm sure you'd rather go by the NME charts! Weren't you actually selling more copies of 'Question' than 'Back Home?'

JL: They said we were outselling the BBC record....

JH: And the record company kept saying, "Next week, you'll be #1." But we think everyone just wanted the World Cup song to be #1! (chuckle) And that's our story! Let us have this small consolation! (chuckle)

JL: In the World Cup we were actually knocked out by West Germany. And Bobby Moore was arrested for stealing a bracelet.

DJ: That was bizarre, wasn't it?

JH: It was a publicity thing to keep them in the charts! (all laugh)

DJ: And there you have it from Justin Hayward! (laugh)

~'Back Home' by the England World Cup Squad 1970~

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