‘You’ll definitely be able to tell': Even solo, Justin Hayward says he still sounds like the Moody Blues

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Last night, Justin Hayward wrapped up a concert series with the Moody Blues celebrating the 45th anniversary of the band’s celebrated Days of Future Passed project. Up next: His first solo album since 1996.

No release date has been set, though Hayward says he expects the project to be completed in 2013.

In all, Hayward has issued six albums on his own, even as work with the Moodys has continued — but four of them came in the decade between 1975-85. He has also produced two live projects, with the most recent being a 2003 collection of his Moody Blues classics — including 1967’s “Nights in White Satin,” 1981’s “The Voice” and 1988’s “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere.”

Hayward, over the years, also composed Moodys favorites like “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Gemini Dream,” the last with long-time bassist John Lodge. The Moodys’ core group of members includes Hayward, Lodge and founding drummer Graeme Edge.

They haven’t exactly been prolific in the studio lately, either. The seminal progressive rockers’ last album of new material came out in 1999. They have since issued a holiday-themed effort, called December, but that was back in 2003.

Hayward tells Billboard magazine that he’s been collecting songs for years, but — after serving as frontman since 1966 — even his work outside of the band framework has a familiar feel. Some of that could perhaps be chalked up to the fact that Hayward is again collaborating with Alberto Parodi, who has been a long-time engineer and remastering pro for the Moody Blues, as well.

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“It’s very, very kind of Moodys influenced — a lot of it,” Hayward tells Billboard. “You’ll definitely be able to tell, ‘Oh, that’s the guy from the Moodys,’ which is usually what people say when they hear me. It’s stuff I’ve had for quite a few years and it’s gathered momentum over the last couple of years and it’s been a real joy to do.”

As for the Moody Blues, there are no plans to return to the studio, Hayward says, though there will be a filmed live concert to be released in DVD format — and perhaps to be broadcast on television. Some new material might find its way into the set, Hayward adds, but he’s not sure there’s much of an appetite for new music anymore from legacy bands like his.

“It would be nice to think we could just put another album out, but we seem to have put albums out in the last few years and they’ve gone unnoticed,” Hayward says. “There’s always, ‘Hey man, how about another album?,’ but we put it out and everybody just wants to still talk about ‘Your Wildest Dreams’ or ‘I Know You’re Out There Somewhere’ or ‘Nights in White Satin.’ So I think some kind of filmed/recorded project with some new material will be the next thing.”

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