♫ Nights In White Satin ♫ (Redux)

A comment or two lately mentioned the Moody Blues, and while I recently played their song, “Go Now“, I haven’t played this one for almost two years!


Band member Justin Hayward wrote and composed the song at age 19 in Swindon, and titled the song after a girlfriend gave him a gift of satin bedsheets. The song itself was a tale of a yearning love from afar, which leads many aficionados to term it as a tale of unrequited love endured by Hayward. Hayward said of the song, “It was just another song I was writing and I thought it was very powerful. It was a very personal song and every note, every word in it means something to me and I found that a lot of other people have felt that very same way about it.”

In the late 1990s, the UK magazine Record Collector printed a claim that Nights in White Satin had not been written by Justin Hayward at all, but that in fact the Moody Blues’ management had simply bought the song outright in 1966 from an Italian group called “Les Jelly Roll” and taken credit for it. This claim seems to have arisen from the discovery of a 7″ single by the Jelly Roll which carries the words “This is the original version of Nights in White Satin” on the label.

“Les Jelly Roll” was a French band who did a cover version of the Moody Blues song, and had the opportunity to release it in Italy on Ricordi (an Italian record label), a few months before the original was released there. As a joke, they put the now-famous sentence on the cover.

The poem at the end was recorded separately. It is called Late Lament and was written by their drummer, Graeme Edge. The poem was read by keyboard player Mike Pinder.

Nights in White Satin (The Night)
The Moody Blues

Nights in white satin
Never reaching the end
Letters I’ve written
Never meaning to send

Beauty I’d always missed
With these eyes before
Just what the truth is
I can’t say any more

‘Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you

Gazing at people, some hand in hand
Just what I’m going through they can’t understand
Some try to tell me, thoughts they cannot defend
Just what you want to be, you will be in the end

And I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you

Nights in white satin
Never reaching the end
Letters I’ve written
Never meaning to send

Beauty I’ve always missed
With these eyes before
Just what the truth is
I can’t say any more

‘Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you
‘Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you

Songwriters: Justin Hayward
Nights in White Satin (The Night) lyrics © T.R.O. Inc.

60 thoughts on “♫ Nights In White Satin ♫ (Redux)

  1. Pingback: ♫ Nights In White Satin ♫ (Redux) — Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  2. Jill, this is a great song by a talented group. When inducted into the Rock-n-Roll HOF, they still sang and performed their difficult songs quite well. I have several favorites of theirs, including this one. “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Seesaw” are also excellent. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fun recollection Keith of one of my own ‘Mondegreen’ moments.
      I bought the ‘Days of Future Past’ album back in 1969, and played it on a rickety old record player. When it came to ‘Tuesday Afternoon’ my ears and whatever part of the brain the messages go to insisted I was hearing.
      ‘And gently swaying with the ferret and the dove’
      Happily for myself self-respect I rejected this, even though it was known The Moody Blues were using LSD…. ‘Ferret and the Dove’? Thinks young me ‘Nah!. Screwy old record player, but I still love you,’
      Anyway fast forwards to CDs:
      ‘The fairyland of love’ came clearly across to me.
      One of the truly classic bands of the late 1960s early 1970s.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Mah time machine wuz on the frizz M’am
          Anyway, ‘Ferret and The Dove’… back then you just had to love that image*

          And fast forward to the album ‘Every Good Boy Deserves Favour’ and the song ‘Nice to be Here’:
          Lyrics:
          Nice to be here hope you agree
          Lying in the sun
          Lovely weather, must climb a tree
          The show has just begun

          All the leaves start swaying
          To the breeze that’s playing
          On a thousand violins
          And the bees are humming
          To a frog sat strumming
          On a guitar with only one string

          I can see them they can’t see me
          I feel out of sight
          I can see them they can’t see me
          Much to my delight

          And it seems worth noting
          Water rats were boating
          As a lark began to sing
          The sounds kept coming
          With Jack Rabbit loudly drumming
          On the side of a biscuit tin

          I can see them they can’t see me
          I feel out of sight
          I can see them they can’t see me
          Much to my delight

          Silver minnows were devising
          Water ballet so surprising
          A mouse played a daffodil
          A mole came up blinking
          Underneath an owl who’s thinking
          How he came to be sat on a hill

          I can see them they can’t see me
          I feel out of sight
          I can see them they can’t see me
          Much to my delight

          I know you won’t believe me
          But I’m certain that I did see
          A mouse playing daffodil
          All the band was really jumping
          With Jack Rabbit in there thumping
          I found that I couldn’t sit still
          I just had to make it with them
          Cause they played my kind of rhythm
          And the bees hummed in harmony
          And the owl played his oboe
          Then the frog’s guitar solo
          It was all just too much for me

          I know you won’t believe me
          But I’m certain that I did see
          A mouse playing daffodil
          All the band was really jumping
          With Jack Rabbit in there thumping
          I found that I couldn’t sit still

          So maybe ‘Ferret and The Dove’ was the actually in the first draft?😉

          Liked by 1 person

  3. One of my all time favourite bands and songs – that was such a great time to be growing up and getting into music. The song and poem appear as the two parts of ‘Night,’ the final part of the ‘Days Of Future Passed’ album. Brilliant music and a wonderful choice.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This song is great, but I will never forget the very first time I heard the whole album. It was a musical revelation! We had a whole group over at my best friend’s house, and someone brought the unopened album. It had been recommended to him by a friend in England. He put it on the stereo, and within seconds all chatter stopped. This wasn’t just background music. This was something special. This had to “be listened to”! No one spoke again until the last notes were heard. We were all stunned. Incredible.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I had the opportunity as a teenager and young adult to hear a lot of very great music. Not every song, but a lot of them have special memories tied to them. This is why a lot of your posts take me on musical journeys. In my life a lot of songs were tied together for reasons I cannot remember anymore, but when I hear one I need to hear others. That part of my brain still wofks pretty good, luckily.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The first “”full concept” one I can remember. Other albums had sections, or sides, but this was from start to finish, and they improved on the concrpt with their following releases. They were more anticipated than the Beatle’s next album, and that says a lot. Hendrix was in that mix too, but in a category that did not do well for comparison.
        Going on a slightly different track, the band I miss getting any airplay these days are the Yardbirds. So many great songs, such a wonderful sound, but nothing. Cream too. Oh, I could go on…

        Liked by 2 people

        • The band members of Moody Blues were shaken during a US tour when they found out people were bringing their disabled friends to concerts in the belief The Moody Blues’ music would cure the ailments. That may have been the inspiration for Ray Thomas’ song ‘I’m just a singer in a rock and roll band’.
          Ahh Yardbirds….
          When all the other lads were buying Beatles, Rolling Stones, I was buying Yardbirds. A band with so much talent passing through its ranks.
          When it finally came to an end, someone had an idea of forming ‘The New Yardbirds’ around Jimmy Page and Keith Relf, then Relf went off on another tac, (Renaissance) and Led Zepplin came about.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yup, that is their history. But their contributions to Rock and Blues/Rock is now totally overlooked. How many people can tell me 5 Yardbird Hits off the top of their heads. If they can they are in their late 60s to mid 70s. It’s as if they never existed.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Still I’m Sad
              Over Under Sideways Down
              Happenings Ten Years Time Ago
              Shapes of Things*
              For Your Love
              Evil Hearted You
              Heart Full of Soul (but that’s cheating because in was ‘the other side’ of Still I’m Sad’)

              * Classic prescient lyrics.

              Throwaway line to make some folk’s heads spin.
              ‘If there hadn’t been The Yardbirds, there would have been no Led Zepplin’

              Oldsters fact:
              On a tour by John Lee Hooker they were the backing band….and there was a cd out there somewhere, and I didn’t buy it!!

              Liked by 1 person

                  • Yup, I have heard that story. He went on to the Bluesbreakers, if memory serves. He was replaced by Jeff Beck, and the hits just kept on coming. I had all of their albums at one point, well used I might add, but they all slowly disappeared. Same went for The Kinks, The Who, Mannfred Mann, The Hollies, and others.
                    (from the British Invation!} But I hung onto my Animals until my last turntable broke down. They were my group, even with all the changes.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    • I just bought my wife Sheila a Hollies compilation cd for her birthday. We had forgotten just how many hits they had.
                      The Kinks remain a legend here and in some quarters Ray Davies reckoned to be arguably the best song writer that generation produced.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • They were all great songwriters in my mind. Lov3d them all. They all had their niches. Even Napolean III. “They’re coming to take me away!”
                      But Janis Ian, “At Seventeen” really blew me away, for one.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Janis Ian. An incredible talent. Never seemed to get quite the full appreciation she was due.
                      Talking about ‘They’re coming to take me away’ and the controversary over its theme brought into mind another song, or not so much the song but the performance or Surfin’ Bird by the Trashman’s drummer/ vocalist Steve Wahrer, which I love for its sheer wackiness.
                      Reading on You Tube I was much bemused by the comments of disgust and outrage by folk younger than us; could have been said by our parent’s generation. Like, how square can you get man?

                      Liked by 1 person

    • Melacholy is a good word, Mary. What I feel is pride in the talent that was available for us to listen to as we grew up with these musical leaders to write and sing our lives. I am biased, of course, but I believe we grew up in the greatest musical era this world has ever seen. Nothing before or after has come close. We are the BABY BOOMERS! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

      Liked by 4 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s