The lone original member of The Moody Blues, Graeme Edge, has died. He was 80 years old.
“Graeme’s sound and personality is present in everything we did together and thankfully, that will live on,” said frontman Justin Hayward in a Facebook post on the band’s account.
The cause of Edge’s death on Thursday has yet to be verified.
The band’s drummer, who is best known for the sweeping symphonic prog-rock hits “Nights in White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon,” and “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)” from the 1960s and 1970s, co-founded the group in Birmingham, England in 1964.
Edge has remained an anchor for The Moody Blues throughout their existence, both in sound and attitude.
“In the late 1960’s we became the group that Graeme always wanted it to be, and he was called upon to be a poet as well as a drummer. He delivered that beautifully and brilliantly, while creating an atmosphere and setting that the music would never have achieved without his words,” Hayward wrote in his post.
“Graeme, and his parents, were very kind to me when I first joined the group, and for the first two years, he and I either lived together, or next door to each other – and despite us having almost nothing in common, we had fun and laughs all the way, as well as making what was probably the best music of our lives,” Hayward continued. “Graeme was one of the great characters of the music business and there will never be his like again.”
Following the departures of singer/guitarist Denny Laine and singer/bassist Clint Warwick, Hayward and bassist John Lodge joined The Moody Blues in 1966. Their entrance changed the band’s sound, which had previously pushed toward R&B/rock on early tracks like “Go Now” and “I Don’t Want to Go On Without You,” driven by Edge’s drumming.
Lodge commented on Twitter about Graeme’s passing: “Sadly, Graeme left us today. To me he was the White Eagle of the North with his beautiful poetry, his friendship, his love of life and his ‘unique’ style of drumming that was the engine room of the Moody Blues. I will miss you Graeme.”
The band is often credited for bringing prog-rock into the mainstream. The concept album “Days of Future Passed,” released in 1967, became a touchstone for acts like Genesis, Yes, and Electric Light Orchestra.
The Moodies, as they were known to fans, returned in the 1980s with shimmering pop singles like “Your Wildest Dreams” and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” filled with distinctive layered voices and synths, and established an unusual presence on MTV.
Their most recent album, “December,” was released in 2003 and was a Christmas-themed release. It was the band’s debut album after fellow founding member Ray Thomas retired, leaving Edge as the sole remaining founder member. (Another founding member, keyboardist Mike Pinder, quit the band in 1978.)
For the 50th anniversary of “Days of Future Passed,” the Moody Blues embarked on what would be their farewell tour in 2017. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted Edge and the band in 2018. In the fall of that year, the group performed in Las Vegas for a series of “Days of Future Past”-themed shows.