As the voice of classics like “Nights in White Satin” and “Your Wildest Dreams,” Justin Hayward has been a part of rock n’ roll’s tapestry for half a century. His recent release, “All the Way,” compiles solo and band recordings that were lost to Hayward, sometimes for decades. The Observer spoke to him Monday after he landed in Arlington to begin the acoustic trio tour that brings him to McGlohon Theater Thursday.
Q. How did this new album come together?
Eagle Rock Entertainment (Hayward’s label) was taken over by Universal, which gave my label a chance to access all the material they’d kept of mine. They suggested the project since they were under the same roof. The thing I’m thrilled about is finding the old recordings. The original version of “Blue Guitar” with (English rock band) 10cc and Eric Stewart mixing – we found that in an old tape store. Universal has been good about finding a lot of that stuff through tape archives or where they’ve done transcription for overseas.
Q. What’s the story behind the new song “Wind of Heaven?”
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It’s for a movie that’s just in production now about a veteran that comes back from Afghanistan and the life he knew isn’t there for him anymore. He goes to work on a ranch and finds solace and direction through these wild horses. The director had done a synopsis of what the musical theme should be like and he gave it to me and we produced the record.
Q. The Moodys celebrated 50 years. To what do you attribute the longevity?
Probably because the music is the most important thing not the personalities. That means something. We aren’t celebrities, so there isn’t pressure in that direction. But I think the three of us that are left still love it on the road and want to discover more of our own catalog – songs we only worked on a couple days in the studio.
Q. I read “Days of Future Passed” was recorded as a test project. Do you think the recording makes it sound less dated and more contemporary today?
Decca wanted it as a demonstration record to show that stereo could be as good for rock n’ roll as it was for classical. As soon as (the album) became popular they took that demonstration label off of it and made it a proper album. What it did for us was it gave us the best engineers and producers you could possibly get in their own studios. Our things from the ’60s and ’70s were recorded so beautifully. When it came to moving to the digital domain our stuff was perfect for that.
Q. Given the acoustic format and the unearthed songs on the album, what will you play this time around?
I play some songs from “Spirits of the Western Sky” and some Moodys things that I’ve never done onstage that work in the acoustic format. I do things maybe people wouldn’t have heard in the United States that were more known in the UK. It’s a joy for me. I’m hoping the audience is tolerant.
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Where: McGlohon Theater, 345 N. College Ave.