The Moody Blues – Nights in white satin (Starters for Ten #207) 7.10.21

Starters for Ten 2019 – #207: Top Ten Sunday morning tracks: 190726

The Moody Blues – Nights in white satin (1967)

Throughout 2019 Jem of Jemtunes is taking you through 36 top tens and one top five. Tunes for a whole gamut of reasons including genre, mood, time of year or simply time itself. Sometimes there’s be words but mostly it’ll simply be the music. Because music always speaks for itself.

Continuing the 21st – running between 20 and 29 July and featuring my top ten Sunday morning tracks – here’s Nights in White Satin, a song by the Moody Blues, written and composed by Justin Hayward. It was first featured as the segment “The Night” on the album ‘Days of Future Passed’. When first released as a single in 1967, it reached number 19 on the UK Singles Chart and number 103 in the United States in 1968. It was the first significant chart entry by the band since “Go Now” and its then recent lineup change, in which Denny Laine had resigned and both Hayward and John Lodge had joined.

When reissued in 1972, in the United States the single hit number two – for two weeks – on the Billboard Hot 100 (behind “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash) and hit number one on the Cash Box Top 100. It earned a gold certification for sales of over a million U.S. copies. It also hit number one in Canada.


Queen – we will rock you (Leaping ahead #223)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #223: 160810

[Song from a band beginning with Q]

What can be said about the most famous stadium anthem of all time that you probably don’t already know? Perhaps something about non-harmonic reverberation maybe?

Maths and music – ever a partnership and certainly present here. It’s all to do with how the song was crafted. For starters the stamping effects were created by the band overdubbing the sounds of themselves stomping and clapping many times and then adding delay effects to create a sound like many people were participating. Secondly, the durations of the delays were in the ratios of prime numbers, a technique now known as non-harmonic reverberation. And finally a tape loop is used to repeat the last phrase of the guitar solo three times as opposed to Brian May playing it three separate times on the recording. So now you know! Maths and music!

Donna Summer – I feel love (Leaping Ahead #213)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #213: 160731

[A song from 1976]

1976 was (of course) THE long hut summer. I was between sixth form years and was therefore out in the sun from May when it all started right through to mid-September. Most of it was on the beach but, sometime in the middle, I joined an uncle and aunt for a week in the Lake District, staying in a caravan on the shores of Lake Windermere.

Although it wasn’t formerly released until the following summer, Donna Summer’s ‘I feel love’ was already getting extensive airplay on the pirate radio-stations by then and promo copies had been circulated to all the clubs. Certainly the bar/club/games room on the lakeshore had a copy and (taking a lead from the Kenny Everett radio show), the DJ played the full 12″ version pretty well every other track.

Suited me. Although a hardened ‘heavy rock’ influenced latter-day hippy by then, there was a freshness in these grooves absent completely from anything else at the time. I wasn’t a disco fan and punk hadn’t made it as far as the north-west back then. But this was something else. Fresh and (although it didn’t know it) a shout to the future of electronic dance from the likes of Underworld and Leftfield still some twenty years away, and both of which would attract the avid attention of this long-haired 17-year old.

And it’s stood the test of time. Now approaching 40 years old, its many sampled powerhouse rhythm still cuts the mustard/floats the boats/shivers the spines and any other metaphor you might care to mention. It certainly does mine.