The Moody Blues
ersistence paid off for the progressive-rock band The Moody Blues. The group's biggest hit, "Nights In White Satin," finally reached the #2 position four years after it was initially released.
Formed in 1964, The Moody Blues consisted of Denny Laine, Ray Thomas, Mike Pinder, Clint Warwick, and Graeme Edge. This lineup generated a #10 hit with "Go Now!" -- which, in hindsight, seemed an appropriate instruction to Laine and Warwick, who left the band in 1966. The band signed John Lodge and singer Justin Hayward as replacements.
The group's next album not only featured the new players, but also a new concept. Days of Future Passed had a symphonic sound about it, courtesy of both the London Festival Orchestra and state-of-the-art recording technology. Justin Hayward revealed that the impetus behind the album wasn't entirely creative, stating, 'Decca had the idea... They wanted the group to record a demonstration record because they had lots of equipment, recording equipment and electronic equipment. They wanted a serious record to show off their equipment, to prove that rock and roll could be good in stereo.
One of the songs featured on the album was "Nights In White Satin." Hayward outlined how the song came together. He explained, "We were writing and preparing a stage show that was going to be a story about a day in the life of a guy that we used to call the 'Moody Blue'... I wrote 'Nights' as the song that would represent the 'night' part of our stage show, and a lot of personal things went into it. Again, it was kind of a risky song, insofar that if you lay your heart bare and leave yourself open, you're game for some incredible criticism; somebody's going to punch you. But ultimately, I think that's what people like about it."
The song first charted on February 10, 1968, but missed the Billboard Hot 100, bubbling under at #103. A second released from the album, "Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon)," climbed to #24, and the group went on with its career. However, the song remained a favorite of many fans, and in 1972, "Nights In White Satin" was re-released. At first it didn't appear the song would do much better its second time around because it debuted at #100. But the song climbed steadily and in its 14th chart week, the song became The Moody Blues' biggest hit ever, spending two weeks at #2 (behind Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now"). It just took four years, eight months, and 25 days to do it.
- Christopher G. Feldman, The Billboard Book of No. 2 Singles, Billboard, 2000.
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