STOCKTON IN WHITE SATIN: THE MOODY BLUES

Sky Arts has screened some great documentaries including ZZ Top, Go Go’s, Lynyrd Skynyrd and latest programme about Birmingham band The Moody Blues.

Early in their career the Moody’s toured with Chuck Berry and Sonny Boy Williamson while signed to a London management company who in turn had a deal with Decca records.

The first recording was Steal Your Heart Away in 1964, then after sprinkling some magic on an already great song by Bessie Banks, they released Go Now, landing at number one in the UK charts.

The profits were paid from the record company to the management who – you guessed it – never passed a cut onto the band and done a runner with all the dosh.

After this set back the band signed directly to Decca and produced a hit album ‘The Magnificent Moodys’, but unfortunately didn’t follow it up. By this time Denny Laine had departed, and John Lodge and Justin Heywood stepped in, Heywood was recommended to the Moodys by Eric Burdon of The Animals.

The Stockton Fiesta club.

With the coffers running low The Moodys went out on their first tour with the new line up on the Northern cabaret circuit played by TV stars Dusty Springfield, Morecambe & Wise, Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones – leading to one memorable night at Stockton’s Fiesta Club.

Justin Heywood: We had finished our second set and their was a knock on the dressing room door.

John Lodge: We thought ok they want autographs or photographs.

JH: A guy said ‘You’re the worst band I’ve seen in my life, you’re f’ing crap’. My bottom lip trembled, we were in silence. We packed our gear up and on our way home we got to Scotch Corner, when from the back of the transit a little voice from our drummer said ‘That blokes right. We are crap’.

JL: We looked at each other and said ‘I agree completely’.

JH: Next morning we went to rehearsals threw away the blue suits and wrote new material.

A completely new set was written ‘more powerful songs with melodies’, and in 1967 the Moodys released Days of Future Passed reported to be one of the first successful concept albums.

The record featured the classic Nights in White Satin which became the biggest selling single of their career with a re-release in 1972 reaching UK and USA top ten.

Who knows what would have happened if the gadgie from Stockton never knocked on their dressing room door.

Gary Alikivi  September 2021

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