Classic Rock Wiki

"Nights in White Satin" is a 1967 single by The Moody Blues, written and composed by Justin Hayward and first featured on the album Days of Future Passed.

It is in the key of E minor,[1] and features the Neapolitan chord (F).[2]



  • 1 Single releases
  • 2 "Late Lament"
  • 3 False claim of authorship – Les Jelly Roll
  • 4 Personnel
  • 5 Chart positions
  • 6 Theme park attraction and other uses
    • 6.1 Other uses of the song
  • 7 Sandra version
    • 7.1 Formats and track listings
    • 7.2 Charts
  • 8 Other cover versions
  • 9 References
  • 10 External links

Single releases[edit][]

When first released in 1967, the song reached #19 on the UK Singles Chart. It was the first significant chart entry by the band since "Go Now" and the recent lineup change. It is an edited version of the album track that also has the orchestra removed. The song was re-released in 1972 once the band had major album and single successes. It charted at #2 in November on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on Cash Box in the United States, earning a Gold certification for sales of a million copies. It also reached #1 in Canada. The song also holds the dubious distinction of the highest complete Hot 100 disappearance from the pre-digital download era, vanishing entirely from the chart after falling to #17. It was also released in Spanish as "Noches de Seda" at the same time. In the wake of its US success, the song re-charted in the UK in late 1972 and climbed to #9. The song was re-released yet again in 1979, and charted for a third time in the UK at #14.

There are two single versions of the song, 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, there are many versions of the single that 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."

Band member Justin Hayward wrote and composed the song at age 19 in Swindon, 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. The London Festival Orchestraprovided the orchestral accompaniment for the introduction, the final rendition of the chorus, and the "final lament" section, all of which werein 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."[citation needed]

Although it only had limited commercial success 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.

"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 read 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 recording engineers have completely edited out the gong (struck by Mike Pinder) that closes the track on the original LP.

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 was not in the band at that point.

False claim of authorship – Les Jelly Roll[edit][]

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's management had simply bought the song outright in 1966 from an Italian group called The Jelly Roll and taken credit for it. This spurious claim seems to have arisen from the discovery of a 7" single by The Jelly Roll which carries the words "This is the original version of Nights in White Satin" on the label. Actually, "Les Jelly Roll" 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 not to have been a very serious band), they put the famous sentence on the cover.[3]


  • Justin Hayward - lead vocal, acoustic guitar
  • John Lodge - backing vocal, bass guitar
  • Mike Pinder - backing vocal, mellotron, narration(on "Late Lament"), gong
  • Ray Thomas - backing vocal, flute, percussion
  • Graeme Edge - backing vocal, drums, percussion
Additional personnel
  • Peter Knight and the London Festival Orchestra - orchestral arrangements

Chart positions[edit][]

Year Chart Position
1967 UK Singles Chart[4] 19
1968 US Bubbling Under the Hot 100 103
1972 US Billboard Hot 100 2
1972 UK Singles Chart 9
1972 Canada RPM number-one single 1
1972 US Cash Box Top 100 singles 1
1979 UK Singles Chart 14
2010 UK Singles Chart 51
2013 German Singles Charts 39
2013 Dutch Radio2 Top 2000 68

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 (now Freestyle Music Park) theme park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA. The attraction, which included 3D-black light and fiber 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, were provided 3-D glasses, and upon return were greeted, "how was your Trip?" Visual Effects, Digital CGI and Special Effects were designed, produced, and installed by Attraction Design Services; ride vehicles were from ETF.[citation needed]

The attraction operated as "The Trip" for the single 2008 season the park operated as Hard Rock Park, but was rethemed with the sale and retitling of the park; "park officials said the experience will be similar but the presentation will be changed."[5]

Other uses of the song[edit][]

  • This is the title song of the now obscure 1987 TV movie, "Nights in White Satin."
  • This song is featured in Wolfgang Petersen's 1991 film, Shattered.
  • This song is featured in the 1992 film, Split Second.
  • This song is featured in Robert De Niro's 1993 film, A Bronx Tale.
  • This song is featured in Martin Scorsese's 1995 film, Casino.
  • This song is played briefly in the King of the Hill episode "The Trouble with Gribbles," originally airing in 2001.
  • This song is featured in Rob Zombie's 2009 film, Halloween II, a sequel to his 2007 remake of the 1978 film Halloween.
  • This song is featured in Bertrand Bonello's 2011 film, House of Tolerance.
  • This song is played over the opening credits of Tim Burton's 2012 film, Dark Shadows.
  • This song is featured in the 2006 comedy/parody film American Dreamz.
  • This song is featured in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a novel by Stephen Chbosky as it appears on a music playlist by the novel's protagonist, Charlie.
  • This song is featured in The Boat That Rocked.
  • This song is featured in the Heath Kirchart segment in the 2001 Transworld Skateboarding video Sight Unseen.
  • It is also featured in the Wiseguy episode "No One Gets Out of Here Alive," in the climactic scene between Vinnie Terranova and Sonny Steelgrave. This was removed in the DVD release. Since the characters are in opposition, wearing expensive white shirts, and there's a homoerotic undercurrent to their relationship, the song's use can be taken as a pun, i.e., Knights in White Satin.
  • The song is featured in the TV movie The 70s.
  • This song is featured in Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo when Deuce gets high on space cake.
  • This song is featured in the Fringe episode "In Absentia," appearing in the background as Walter Bishop addresses his future self on a video tape.
  • This song is featured in the Freaks and Geeks episode "Girlfriends and Boyfriends."

Sandra version[edit][]

"Nights in White Satin"
Single by Sandra
from the album Fading Shades
Released March 1995
Format CD single

12" single

Recorded 1995
Genre Synthpop
Length 3:35
Label Virgin
Writer(s) Justin Hayward
Producer(s) Michael Cretu
Sandra singles chronology
"Maria Magdalena '93"


"Nights in White Satin"


"Won't Run Away"


"Nights in White Satin" is a dance-pop cover version performed by German singer Sandra. The song appeared on Sandra's sixth studio album Fading Shades (1995).

It was produced by Michael Cretu and received mixed reception from music critics. The song was released as the lead single in the spring of 1995 (see 1995 in music), although it failed to match the success of Sandra's previous singles. The song entered the Top twenty in Finland and Australia, but in Germany, it reached a peak of eighty-six, becoming her least successful lead single in that country to date. In the United Kingdom, it failed to enter the chart.

The music video, directed by Angel Hart, showed only close ups of Sandra's face as she was pregnant at the time. She even had to sit during the recording sessions of the album. (Note that the Fading Shades album cover was taken from the music video.)[6]

Formats and track listings[edit][]

CD single[7]
  1. "Nights in White Satin" – 3:35
  2. "Nights in White Satin" (techno mix) – 5:29
CD Maxi-single[8]
  1. "Nights in White Satin" – 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" single[9]
  1. "Nights in White Satin" (club mix) – 6:05
  2. "Nights in White Satin" (techno mix) – 5:29
  3. "Nights in White Satin" (jungle mix) – 6:09
  4. "Nights in White Satin" (dub version) – 4:02


Chart (1995) Peak


German Singles Chart 86
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart[10] 34

Other cover versions[edit][]

  • Franck Pourcel (Instrumental) 1967
  • Beavers (サテンの夜 on their Viva! Beavers! album, 1968)
  • I Nomadi "Ho difeso il mio amore" (Nights in White Satin) on I Nomadi (album, 1968)
  • Patricia "Mes rêves de satin," French version (1968)
  • Dalida Un Po D'amore (1968)
  • Tommy Körberg "Nights in White Satin," on Nature boy (album, 1968) and "Nätter av saknad," Swedish version, on Judy min vän (album, 1969)
  • Marie Rottrová (Flamingo) – "Slunce vstává," Czech version (1969)
  • Billie Davis (Decca F12977, single, 1969)
  • Claude Denjean (Instrumental) 1970, on the album Moog!
  • Eric Burdon and War (The Black-Man's Burdon album, 1970)
  • Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge, "The Brooklyn Bridge" (album, 1970)
  • Samael Lilith "Nights in White Satin," (single, 1970, Australia)
  • Deodato (Deodato 2 album, 1973)
  • Juliane Werding "Wildes Wasser," German version (single, 1973)
  • Giorgio Moroder (Knights in White Satin album, 1976)
  • The London Symphony Orchestra (Classic Rock album, 1977)
  • Panama single, 1977
  • Bermuda Triangle Band (Bermuda Triangle album, 1977)
  • The Dickies (Dawn of the Dickies album, 1979)
  • Carlos Futura Sound Fantasy album 1979
  • Marie Laforêt "Blanche nuit de satin," French version (single, 1982)
  • Elkie Brooks (UK #32 Chart Hit 1982) (Pearls II album, 1982)
  • Jon St. James (Trans-Atlantic, 1984)
  • The Shadows (Moonlight Shadows album, 1986) (Instrumental version)
  • Jacky Cheung (昨夜夢魂中 (In My Dream Last Night) on his 昨夜夢魂中 album, 1988)
  • James Last (Instrumental) 1991
  • Alain Bashung (Osez Joséphine album, 1991)
  • David Lanz (Skyline Firedance album, 1992)[11]
  • Sandra (Fading Shades album, 1995)
  • Nancy Sinatra (One More Time album, 1995)
  • Crossi (Sooty and Tonto Love Mix) (single 1996)
  • Lucie Bílá "Noc je jak satén" – Czech version (1998)
  • The Bates - German Punk band version on album 2nd Skin (2000)
  • Sort Sol (Snakecharmer album, 2001)
  • Mario Frangoulis (Nights in White Satin – Notte Di Luce on his Sometimes I Dream album, 2002)
  • The Vision Bleak (Nights in White Satin – on Songs of Good Taste Demo, 2002)
  • God is an Astronaut ("NIWS," The End Of The Beginning album, 2002)
  • Tori Amos covered this song several times on tour during 2003 and 2005.
  • John Cowan and Moody Bluegrass, (Moody Bluegrass album, 2004)
  • Declan Galbraith (Thank You album, 2006)
  • Il Divo (Notte Di Luce on their Siempre album, 2006)
  • Glenn Hughes with John Frusciante and Chad Smith (Music For The Divine album, 2006) (Used in the movie Stealth)
  • Quidam (track07 "Nights in White Satin," HalfPlugged album, 2007)
  • Irish duo RUA recorded a version on their 2007 album WHISPER
  • Tina Arena on her album Songs of Love & Loss II, 2008
  • Midnight Movies (Nights EP, 2008)
  • Fariborz Lachini A Solo Piano version on his Golden Memories 1 album, 2008
  • Diane di Stasio ("Nights in White Satin," "Vox Eterna" album, 2009)
  • Collide (These Eyes Before album, 2009)[12]
  • Cemetery Of Scream (Frozen Images album, 2009)
  • Powers of The Monk (Killing Time album, 2009)
  • Eugene McCarthy ("De Barras, Sitting Room Sessions" 2010)
  • Zeds Dead (Dubstep Remix 2010)
  • Will Martin (Inspirations album, 2010)
  • The Man-Eating Tree (on their Vine album, 2010)
  • Bettye LaVette (Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook album, 2010)
  • Gerry & The Pacemakers – Nights in White Satin
  • Offer Nissim featuring Ivri Lider – Nights in White Satin (Offer Nissim Remix)
  • Jennifer Rush
  • Damien Saez (multiple live performances)
  • Celtic Thunder (Performed by Celtic Thunder member Paul Byrom)
  • Blumfeld (B-Side of Single Tics and live performances)
  • Rock Goddess (Live performances)
  • Ed Kavalee On Get This
  • Matt Cardle (B-Side To The When We Collide Single)
  • Donald Braswell II on his 2011 album, Unchained
  • Sin Fang
  • Craig Bevan (Acoustic live performance)
  • Deborah Sasson (de) on her 2004 album Pop Classics
  • Transatlantic on their 2014 progressive rock album Kaleidoscope (bonus disc)
  • Emily West performed it during the Top 12 of season 9 of America's Got Talent