Everyone my age seems to be talking about their bucket lists—the things they want to do before they kick the bucket. I knocked a few off mine in the last year.
I saw Paul McCartney play live in Toronto in the summer of 2010, and more recently I attended The Moody Blues concert in Windsor. Listening to Nights in White Satin performed live by the guys who recorded it back in 1967 was an awesome moment for me.
I can remember very clearly the first time I heard Nights in White Satin. My friend Martha had the album Days of Future Passed. I remember sitting in her bedroom around 1971, listening and watching the album turning round and round on the turntable. And listening to it again and again.
The Days of Future Passed, a day-in-the-life concept album, was recorded with the London Festival Orchestra about the time The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s. Five years later, the haunting song Nights in White Satin, started to get airplay on “underground” FM radio in North America, and it became a huge hit for a second time. It made its way back on British charts for a third time in 1979.
The progressive rock sound was different, layered and more complicated than the Top 40 music I was listening to at the time. It mixed classical music and jazz with rock ‘n’ roll.
Fast forward many years later. I was on a bus tour in Europe. We had just visited the wine gardens outside of Vienna and I had sampled the very fresh white wine. There was a big yellow moon in the sky. The tour director turned on some music: Nights in White Satin. “Letters I’ve written never meaning to send.” This is one of my Top 30 perfect moments.
I don’t mind telling you there were lots of old folks in the audience at the Windsor Casino for The Moody Blues. The drummer, Graeme Edge, one of the original members, recently turned 70. But every time I hear Nights in White Satin, I am 16 again.