Nights in White Satin
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Nights In White Satin" was not a popular song when first released, mainly due to its over seven-minute length. There are two edited versions of the song, both stripped of the orchestra and poetry from the LP version. The first version, with the songwriter's credit shown as "Redwave", was a hasty sounding 3:06 edit of the main song with very noticeable chopped parts. For the second edited version (now credited to Justin Hayward), the main track was kept intact, ending at 4:26. Both versions were backed with a non-LP release, "Cities". The song was re-released in 1972 after the success of such longer-running dramatic songs as "Hey Jude" and "Layla", and it charted at #2 on Billboard magazine and #1 on Cash Box in the United States, earning a gold single for sales of a million copies and was also #1 in Canada. The song also holds the dubious distinction of falling off the Hot 100 from the highest position (#17). It was also released in Spanish as Noches de Seda at the same time. Its original release in the United Kingdom reached #19; in the wake of its US success, the song re-charted in the UK in late 1972 and climbed ten positions higher, to #9. The song was re-released yet again in 1979, and charted for a third time in the UK, at #14.
Band member Justin Hayward wrote the song at age nineteen in Swindon, and titled the song after a friend 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. The London Festival Orchestra provided the orchestral accompaniment for the introduction, the final rendition of the chorus, and the "final lament" section, all of this in the original album version. The "orchestral" sounds in the main body of the song were actually produced by Mike Pinder's Mellotron keyboard device, which would come to define the "Moody Blues sound"Template:Citation needed.
While largely ignored on its first release, the song has since garnered much critical acclaim, ranking #36 in BBC Radio 2's "Sold on Song Top 100" list.
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 The Jellyroll and taken credit for it. This spurious claim seems to have arisen from the discovery of a 7" single by The Jellyroll which allegedly carries the words "This is the original version of Nights In White Satin" on the label.
Actually, "Les Jellyroll" was a French band who did this cover 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 . So, as a joke (they appear to be a not very serious kind of band), they put the famous sentence on the cover.
According to the book The Apocalypse Now Book by Peter Cowie, "Nights In White Satin" was the original song choice in the opening of the film Apocalypse Now before "The End" by The Doors was chosen. Martin Scorsese featured it in his 1995 film Casino.