Justin Hayward talks about his musical influences

I liked the hymns from The English Hymnal - and also, when I was about four years old, I loved to hear Johnny Ray sing when he came on the wireless. His voice caught my attention and there was something about it that made me be very still and listen. My biggest influence was Buddy Holly and he will always be the greatest for me. I had the pleasure of meeting his widow Maria Elena Holly first in the '70's and I met her again a couple of times after that. A gentle and quiet woman - all of us English musicians loved her because he did. I was devastated by his death and when I was told (in a Chemistry lesson at school by another pupil) my future seemed empty. I am so thankful for the short years he was giving us the best music I have ever heard, and as soon as I came to the USA with the Moodies I visited Lubbock, Texas. From the age of 12 or 13 onwards all the groups I was in, around Swindon, played his songs - it was our 'thing'. In the 1980's I recorded a version of 'Learning The Game' for my 'Moving Mountains' album. I also adored the Everly Brothers too and I learnt all their songs. Me and my friend Bruce Welch of The Shadows often play them for fun when we get together. I was thrilled to actually meet the Ev's in the 1980's. Buddy and The Everly's influenced my 'Spirits' album, because they are part of me. But mainly the album is about my own experiences, loves and friends as well as people I only know 'across a crowded room'. I think I have come far enough along the road of 'music making' to have developed my own style, which is probably not seriously influenced by any other nowadays, and I just play and write what I feel, and I try to express what is in my heart. My guitars seem to 'give' me the make up and construction of songs, as well as the groove. Guitars to me are works of art and I adore them and I always have one in my sight somewhere. I'm looking at my old 1960's Gibson J45 as I write this. I'm also very attached to the same keyboards I have written songs on since the '80's and I play them for hours on end in my little music room. Not to any purpose, but just for pleasure. 'Spirits Of The western Sky' is , for me, the truest collection of songs and recordings I have ever made. I have my engineer Alberto to thank for getting it all down on 'tape' - as it happened - and for helping me interpret my feelings. I would often be in the studio with Alberto during the making of 'Spirits' and suddenly think "Wow, I'm really absolutely happy at this very moment". How often can we say that?