Nights in White Satin

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"Nights in White Satin"
French single sleeve
Single by The Moody Blues
from the album Days of Future Passed
Released10 November 1967 (1967-11-10)
Recorded8 October 1967
Songwriter(s)Justin Hayward
Producer(s)Tony Clarke
The Moody Blues singles chronology
"Love and Beauty"
"Nights in White Satin"
"Tuesday Afternoon"
Audio sample
"Nights in White Satin"

"Nights in White Satin" is a song by the Moody Blues, written and composed by Justin Hayward. It was first featured as the segment "The Night" on the album Days of Future Passed. When first released as a single in 1967, it reached number 19 on the UK Singles Chart and number 103 in the United States in 1968. It was the first significant chart entry by the band since "Go Now" and its recent lineup change, in which Denny Laine and Clint Warwick had resigned and both Hayward and John Lodge had joined.

When reissued in 1972, the single hit number two in the United States for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 (behind "I Can See Clearly Now" by Johnny Nash) and hit number one on the Cash Box Top 100, making it the band's most successful single in the United States. It earned a gold certification for sales of over a million US copies (platinum certification was not instituted until 1976). It also hit number one in Canada. After two weeks at #2, it was replaced by "I'd Love You to Want Me" by Lobo. It reached its highest UK position this year at number 9. Although the song did not enter the official New Zealand chart, it reached number five on the New Zealand Listener's chart compiled from the readers' votes in 1973.[5] The 1972 single release of "Nights in White Satin" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.[6]

The song enjoyed a recurring chart presence in the following decades. It charted again in the UK and Ireland in 1979 reaching numbers 14 and 8, respectively. The song charted again in 2010, reaching number 51 in the British Official Singles Charts.[7] It has also been covered by numerous other artists, most notably Giorgio Moroder, Elkie Brooks, and Sandra.


Billboard advertisement, 17 February 1968

Band member Justin Hayward wrote and composed the song at age 19 while touring in Belgium[8] 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."[9]

The melody of the song resembles that of Ben E. King's 1963 song "I (Who Have Nothing)", although the instrumentation makes "Nights in White Satin" sound different.[10]

The London Festival Orchestra provided the orchestral accompaniment for the introduction, the final rendition of the chorus, and the "final lament" section, all of which were 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,[11] which would come to define the "Moody (Blues)'s signature sound".[12]

The song is written in the key of E minor[13] and features the Neapolitan chord (F).[14]

Single releases[edit]

The two single versions of the song were both stripped of the orchestral and "Late Lament" poetry sections of the LP version. The first edited version, with the songwriter's credit shown as "Redwave", was a hasty-sounding 3:06 version of the LP recording with very noticeable chopped parts. However, many versions of the single are listed on the labels at 3:06, but in fact are closer to the later version of 4:26.

Some versions, instead of ending cold as most do, segue briefly into the symphonic second half ("Late Lament") and, in fact, run for 4:33 (but are also listed on the label as 3:06). For the second edited version (with the song's writing credited to Hayward), the early parts of the song were kept intact, ending early at 4:26. Most single versions were backed with a non-LP B-side, "Cities".


Although it had only limited commercial success on its first release, the song has since garnered much critical acclaim, ranking number 36 in BBC Radio 2's "Sold on Song Top 100" list.

Cash Box said that the "intense mood of the funk orchestration serves up an atmosphere that penetrates to the very core of this depressed love ballad" and praised the "terrific instrumental break and a searing vocal."[15]

Classic Rock critic Malcolm Dome rated it as the Moody Blues' greatest song, calling it "one of the best singles from the late 60s."[16] Ultimate Classic Rock critic Nick DeRiso rated it as the Moody Blues' 2nd greatest song.[17] Classic Rock History critic Brian Kachejian rated it as the Moody Blues' 8th greatest song, calling it "a great song, a beautiful historic song."[18]

"Late Lament"[edit]

The spoken-word poem heard near the six-minute mark of the album version of the song is called "Late Lament". Drummer Graeme Edge wrote the verses, which were recited by keyboardist Mike Pinder. On Days of Future Passed, the poem's last five lines bracket the album and also appear at the end of track 1 ("The Day Begins").

While it has been commonly known as part of "Nights in White Satin" with no separate credit on the original LP, "Late Lament" was given its own listing on the two-LP compilation This Is The Moody Blues in 1974 and again in 1987 (without its parent song) on another compilation, Prelude. Both compilations feature the track in a slightly different form than on Days of Future Passed, giving both spoken and instrumental tracks an echo effect. The orchestral ending is kept intact, but mastering engineers edited out the gong (struck by Mike Pinder) that closes the track on the original LP as it relates to the closing of the original album (with Side 1 beginning with the gong fading in) and not the track alone.

From 1992 through the early 2000s, the Moody Blues toured with shows backed by live orchestras. When with orchestral accompaniment, they often took the opportunity to include "Late Lament" in the performance of "Nights in White Satin". On these occasions, Edge recited it himself, since Pinder had left the band.[citation needed]


Additional personnel


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1967–1968) Peak
Argentina [19] 9
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[20] 6
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[21] 1
Canada (RPM)[22] 30
Germany (Media Control)[23] 18
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[24] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[25] 6
UK (Official Charts Company)[26] 19
US Hot 100 (Billboard)[27] 103


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[39] Silver 200,000
United States (RIAA)[40] Gold 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Sandra version[edit]

"Nights in White Satin"
Single by Sandra
from the album Fading Shades
ReleasedApril 1995
Songwriter(s)Justin Hayward
Producer(s)Michael Cretu
Sandra singles chronology
"Maria Magdalena"
"Nights in White Satin"
"Won't Run Away"
Licensed audio
"Nights In White Satin (Radio Edit)" on YouTube

A cover version of "Nights in White Satin" was released by German singer Sandra on her sixth studio album Fading Shades (1995). It was produced by Michael Cretu.

The song was released as the lead single off Fading Shades in the spring of 1995 and failed to match the success of Sandra's previous singles. The song only reached #86 in Germany, becoming her least successful lead single there to date, and #34 in New Zealand, where it remains her only charting single. It fared much better in Israel where it peaked at number 1, and was a Top-20 hit in Finland, and a top 10 airplay hit in Poland.[41]

The music video, directed by Angel Hart, showed only close-ups of Sandra's face as she was pregnant at the time. A still from the video was later used on the Fading Shades album cover. The music video was released on Sandra's 2003 DVD The Complete History.[42]

Formats and track listings[edit]

  1. "Nights in White Satin" (Radio Edit) — 3:35
  2. "Nights in White Satin" (Club Mix) — 6:05
  3. "Nights in White Satin" (Techno Mix) — 5:29
  4. "Nights in White Satin" (Jungle Mix) — 6:09
  5. "Nights in White Satin" (Dub Version) — 4:02
  • 12" maxi single
A1. "Nights in White Satin" (Club Mix) — 6:05
A2. "Nights in White Satin" (Techno Mix) — 5:29
B1. "Nights in White Satin" (Jungle Mix) — 6:09
B2. "Nights in White Satin" (Dub Version) — 4:02


Chart (1995) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[43] 163
Germany (Official German Charts)[44] 86
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[45] 34

Elkie Brooks version[edit]

Elkie Brooks recorded the song for her 1982 album Pearls II.

Chart (1982) Peak
IRMA Irish Singles Charts 14 [46]
UK Singles Chart (OCC) 33 [47]
A. Nights In White Satin 4:35
B. Lilac Wine (Live Recording) 6:08
  • 7 Single Promo
A. Nights In White Satin 4:35
B. Lilac Wine (Live Recording) 6:08
A. Nights In White Satin 4:37
B. Thank You For The Light 3:31
A. Nights In White Satin 4:35
B. Lilac Wine (Live Recording) 6:08

Other cover versions[edit]

  • Italian band Nomadi released a version of the song as a single in 1968 with the title Ho difeso il mio amore reaching #20 in the Italian chart. The lyrics of this version differ significantly from the original.[citation needed]
  • German singer Juliane Werding covered the song in German as "Wildes Wasser" for her 1973 album Mein Name ist Juliane. The single reached #40 in Germany.[48]
  • Giorgio Moroder recorded the song as "Knights in White Satin" for a 1976 album of the same name. His cover reached #44 on the Walloon singles chart in Belgium.[49]
  • Los Angeles punk rock band the Dickies recorded a cover of the song for their 1979 LP Dawn of the Dickies. Released as a single, it charted in the top 40 on the UK singles charts.[50]
  • The group Il Divo released their cover "Nights in White Satin (notte di luce)" on the 2006 album Siempre. Their version reached #81 in Switzerland.[51]
  • A cover by the Dutch singer Erwin Nyhoff reached the top 5 in the Netherlands in 2012.[52]
  • Rachael Leahcar recorded a cover of the song for her debut album Shooting Star (2012). The song reached #43 in Australia.[53]
  • Oceans of Slumber recorded a cover of the song for their album Winter (2016).[54]

Theme park attraction and other uses[edit]

The work was reinterpreted as the focus of Nights in White Satin: The Trip, a dark ride at the Hard Rock Park theme park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, U.S.A. The attraction, which included 3D-black light and fibre-optic lighting effects and purpose-made films, was developed by Sally Corporation and Jon Binkowski of Hard Rock Park. Riders entered through a bead curtain and were provided with 3D glasses.[citation needed]

The attraction operated as "The Trip" for the single 2008 season the park operated as Hard Rock Park, but was rethemed as "Monstars of Rock" with the sale and retitling of the park as Freestyle Music Park; "park officials said the experience will be similar but the presentation will be changed."[55] Freestyle Music Park would cease operations after its only season as such in 2009.[citation needed]

Nights in White Satin was the title of a 1987 film directed by Michael Barnard, and starring Kip Gilman and Priscilla Harris.[56] The Moody Blues recording of the song was featured prominently in the soundtrack, particularly during a rooftop dance sequence.

In late 2023 the song was featured in a commercial for Bleu de Chanel featuring actor Timothée Chalamet.[57]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Buskin, Richard (July 2009). "The Moody Blues 'Nights In White Satin'". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  2. ^ Murthl, R.S. (28 December 1994). "Pearl Jam's Vital Return". New Straits Times. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b Bosso, Joe (21 October 2014). "Classic tracks: Justin Hayward talks Nights In White Satin". Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (1999). All-Time Top 1000 Albums. Virgin Books. p. 104. ISBN 0-7535-0354-9. Archived from the original on 8 October 2021.
  5. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener".
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Singles Charts. 11 December 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  8. ^ "Décès chez les Moody Blues: leur plus bel album écrit à Mouscron (Mouscron)". 26 June 2023.
  9. ^ "The Daily Cut: The Moody Blues "Nights in White Satin"". 98.5 WNCX. CBS. Archived from the original on 17 May 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  10. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Nights in White Satin". Allmusic. Retrieved 4 February 2023.
  11. ^ "Justin Hayward talks Nights In White Satin" 22 October 2014,
  12. ^ "#36: Nights in White Satin". Sold on Song: Top 100. BBC Radio 2. A yearning love song, it was drenched in what would become the Moody's signature sound - the synthetic strings of the Mellotron.
  13. ^ Stephenson, Ken (2002). What to Listen for in Rock: A Stylistic Analysis, p. 39. ISBN 978-0-300-09239-4.
  14. ^ Stephenson (2002), p. 89.
  15. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. 20 January 1968. p. 30. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  16. ^ Dome, Malcolm (8 August 2016). "The top 10 best Moody Blues songs". Classic Rock. Louder Sound. Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  17. ^ DeRiso, Nick (31 August 2013). "Top 10 Moody Blues songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  18. ^ Kachejian, Brian (June 2022). "Top 10 Moody Blues songs". Classic Rock History. Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  19. ^ "Billboard - Hits Of The World" (PDF). Billboard. 24 August 1968. p. 19. Retrieved 26 July 2023.
  20. ^ "The Moody Blues – Nights in White Satin" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  21. ^ "The Moody Blues - Nights In White Satin" (in French). Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  22. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 4 May 1968. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  23. ^ a b "The Moody Blues – Nights in White Satin (single)" (in German). Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  24. ^ "The Moody Blues – Nights in White Satin" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  25. ^ "The Moody Blues – Nights in White Satin". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  26. ^ a b c "MOODY BLUES | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  27. ^ a b Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  28. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly – Library and Archives Canada". 17 July 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  29. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (M)". Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  30. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 167.
  31. ^ "The Moody Blues: Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Retrieved 31 January 2023.
  32. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles: Week ending November 4, 1972". Cashbox. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  33. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Nights in White Satin". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  34. ^ "The Moody Blues – Nights in White Satin" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  35. ^ "The Moody Blues – Nights in White Satin" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  36. ^ "Best of 1972 songs and music, on!". Archived from the original on 16 September 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  37. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1972/Top 100 Songs of 1972". Archived from the original on 27 April 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  38. ^ "Top 100 Year End Charts: 1972". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  39. ^ "British single certifications – Moody Blues – Nights in White Satin". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  40. ^ "American single certifications – The Moody Blues – Nights in White Satin". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  41. ^ "Major Market Airplay" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 12, no. 17. Amsterdam. 29 April 1995. p. 27. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  42. ^ "Sandra - The Complete History (DVD, DVD-Video, PAL, Compilation, Stereo)". 8 September 2003. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  43. ^ "Response from ARIA re: chart inquiry, received 19 September 2017". Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  44. ^ "Sandra – Nights in White Satin (single)" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  45. ^ " > Sandra in New Zealand Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  46. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know: Elkie Brooks". Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  47. ^ "ELKIE BROOKS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  48. ^ "Juliane Werding - Wildes Wasser" (in German). Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  49. ^ "Giorgio - Knights In White Satin" (in French). Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  50. ^ "DICKIES | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  51. ^ "Il Divo - Nights In White Satin (notte di luce)" (in German). Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  52. ^ "Erwin Nyhoff - Nights In White Satin" (in Dutch). Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  53. ^ "Rachael Leahcar - Nights In White Satin (Notte di luce)". Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  54. ^ "Oceans of Slumber - Winter". Discogs. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  55. ^ Cherney, Mike (13 May 2009). "Freestyle Music Park Fills Out Offerings". The Sun News. Archived from the original on 16 August 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  56. ^ "Nights in White Satin". IMDB. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  57. ^

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]