Even though the songbird had to leave for a while, Justin Hayward found new melodies for springtime release. The legendary singer-songwriter of the Moody Blues released the digital-only two-track EP One Summer Day/My Juliette today on Eagle Rock Entertainment. It is available through all digital service providers.
The opening track, “One Summer Day,” is a conversational song with a melodic acoustic guitar underpinning. The songwriter says the piece came out organically. “[It] just sprang out of my old Martin guitar late one evening,” Hayward explained in a statement. “I had been playing the riff for a while just for fun, without realizing it could actually be a song.” According to the press release, it tells “the story of unexpected events taking place one day in the summer.”
It’s a romantic song, in the vein of “Never Comes the Day,” but asks “if not now then when for us, there’s nothing like today.” That’s where the similarities to the musical vocabulary he uses with his steady band ends. The song opens sparsely, just Hayward’s voice and the chordal riff, and adds light percussion before the backing fills in and reinforces the soft lick.
But it’s the second track, “My Juliette,” which tugs at the Moody Blues sound. The song gives a nod to the 1961 recording of “Moon River” by South African-born pop singer Danny Williams, who was known as “Britain’s Johnny Mathis.” It was inspired by the composer’s early fascination with the theater. Hayward’s “mother played piano for a repertory theater group during a summer in his childhood,” according to the press statement. He played guitar for the company, and was drawn into the artistry of the stage, from Shakespeare to pantomime.
“I was entranced and I still treasure every moment of that theatre life,” Hayward said in a statement. “I had the song for years before I was sure I wanted to actually finish or record it because I enjoyed just playing around with it.”
Hayward joined the Moody Blues in the summer of 1966 and went on to write a majority of the band’s signature hits, like “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon” from Days of Future Past, and “Question” from A Question of Balance. The Moody Blues took a five-year break after their Seventh Sojourn album in 1972 and each member released solo projects. Hayward and bassist John Lodge put out the 1975 Blue Jays album, before he went on his own for the albums Songwriter, Night Flight, Moving Mountain and The View from the Hill.
Hayward recently postponed his “Nights” April/May 2020 U.S. Tour, as well as his “On The Blue” cruise trip performances due to the coronavirus pandemic. The shows will be rescheduled for later in the year or early 2021.