Saturday, October 19, 2013

Justin Hayward: Forever Autumn

Ron Richards and I have been friends since our grade school adventures at Green Valley Elementary in North Versailles, Pennsylvania; however, the last time I saw Ron was in a laundromat at Great Valley Shopping Center in 1978. Awhile back, we reconnected on Facebook. When the first day of fall hit in September, Ron asked me if I would feature Justin Hayward’s “Forever Autumn.”

I had already planned some songs that week and I promised I would get to it; however, as the days progressed, I neglected my pledge. This week Ron gently nudged me about the tune and I told him that I would get to it during my Bubbling Under Feature this Saturday. Needless to say, this weekend has been very busy and I am just getting to Saturday’s post.

“Forever Autumn” is a rarity in Justin Hayward songs as he did not write it. It was penned by Jeff Wayne, Gary Osborne, and Paul Vigrass. Wayne originally wrote the music as a bed for a Lego’s commercial in 1969. Vigrass and Osborne, who had actually performed on the original jingle, rewrote the words in 1972 and recorded “Forever Autumn.”

“Forever Autumn” attracted a small amount of attention in Japan, but that was about it. It was released in the US as the flipside of Vigrass and Osborne’s single “Men of Learning,” which charted at #65. I will probably feature it in the future, but today’s selection is the 1978 release by Justin Hayward.

When Wayne was writing “Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of War of the Worlds,” he wanted to include a love song like his tune “Forever Autumn.” Instead of writing another song, he resurrected his former composition but desired a voice that was reminiscent of “Nights in White Satin.” So instead of choosing a sound-alike, he went for the real thing with Justin Hayward. He was selected to sing the thoughts of the journalist, which included “Forever Autumn.”

Although the guitar lead sounds like a Hayward’s style, it actually was played by session musician Chris Spedding. “Forever Autumn” did quite well in the UK charting at #5. In the US, not so much, as it only peaked at #47 and is not greatly known this side of the Atlantic. Because of its popularity in the UK, Hayward still sings the tune in concert even though he had no hand in its creation.

As a concept, Wayne wanted his adaptation of H.G. Wells’ classic to feature rock band and orchestra – hmm, sounds a little like what The Moody Blues accomplished with “Days of Future Passed.” It’s a perfect day for this song as I sit in my warm house in Southern West Virginia. It was a cool afternoon and the leaves are about changed from green to “the browns, reds, and golds of autumn.” I love this season. Thanks Ron for a fantastic Bubbling Under suggestion.


  1. JIm, it is a pleasure to have you as a long friend. Although many years have passed since our last meeting, you will always hold a fond place in my heart. Thank you so much for bringing this to your site.

    1. Thanks Ron. I treasure our long time friendship as well.

  2. I was working at butlins holiday camp in 78 although I was into glam rock and punk rock this song will hold so many memories of the best summer of my life