Moody Blues' Justin Hayward on Rock Hall of Fame Induction News: 'It's Outstanding'

News of the Moody Blues' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction has caused the group's Justin Hayward to change his tune a bit.

"On Friday, I couldn't really have cared less, but on Saturday the whole world looked different," Hayward, who had for years dismissed the Rock Hall and the Moodys notable exclusion from it, tells Billboard with a laugh. "My reaction was, 'Wow!' It's outstanding, really."

Hayward's comments over the years had been based on the fact that the Rock Hall was an American organization that made little impact in Europe, where he spends most of his time. With the group headed in next year as a first-ballot inductee -- the ceremony is April 14 in Cleveland -- Hayward notes that "at times like this, I wish I was American. I could really appreciate the scale of it, I suppose. But I am extremely grateful to them for creating that sort of temple to all that music has brought me. There's nowhere else in the world that's like that, and I'm very grateful to them for creating that place. And now, after all these years, I'm incredibly grateful to them for including us and it's an absolute privilege to be celebrated in the same building, on the same street, in the same town, even, as Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers."

Hayward is particularly happy to be going into the Rock Hall with another of his musical heroes. "Nina Simone has always been my heroine," he says. "In the mid-60s she was the one person musically that I was able to hang on to. She had a song called 'Lilac Wine that me and my girlfriend, it just meant so much to us and it's such a loving song. (Simone) taught me how to sing, so that's a wonderful coincidence as well that makes (the induction) even more resonant with me."

Hayward, bassist John Lodge and drummer Graeme Edge --whose Moody Blues Cruise sets sale Jan. 2 out of Miami, followed by a short U.S. tour -- have spoken to each other since learning of the induction. Former members Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas will also be inducted, and Hayward sees no reason why the Moodys' key lineup can't reunite for the induction.

"You know, nothing's been said that can't be unsaid," he notes. "There's no problem there. There's certainly no bad feeling in any way. It would be lovely, but I can't predict what will happen, and I honestly don't know about that yet." 

The Moodys finished second to Bon Jovi in the public vote conducted by the Rock Hall, and the group has been championed for induction for years by its ardent and outspoken  fan base. Hayward and his bandmates have been well aware of the support, and he feels the induction "has validated the music that they really love, and I'm very, very pleased for us all. All the thanks go to the Moody Blues fans for giving us this wonderful, wonderful life in music." Lodge, meanwhile, previously said that, "The fans have just been incredible and supported us nonstop for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They're not just fans; We're all a part of the Moody Blues music, and I think they felt slighted more than we did. So this is really special for them."

In addition to Simone, the Moodys will be joined in the Rock Hall by Bon Jovi, the Cars, Dire Straits and early influence Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

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