Graeme Edge, the Moody Blues Co-Founder and Drummer, Dies at 80

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Drummer and poet Graeme Edge, one of the founders of British rock band the Moody Blues, died Thursday, according to a statement on the band’s website from band member Justin Hayward. He was 80.

“It’s a very sad day,” Hayward wrote. “Graeme’s sound and personality is present in everything we did together and thankfully that will live on. When Graeme told me he was retiring I knew that without him it couldn’t be the Moody Blues anymore. And that’s what happened. It’s true to say that he kept the group together throughout all the years, because he loved it.”

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The band known for “Nights in White Satin” released its last album “December” in 2003, and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, the same year flautist and vocalist Ray Thomas died.

In addition to drumming, Edge’s poems were often recited as part of album preludes,

“To me he was the White Eagle of the North with his beautiful poetry,” he said. “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’s bassist, John Lodge, wrote on Facebook.

The Moody Blues got their start in Birmingham, England in 1965 and went on to have hits with “Tuesday Afternoon” and “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band).” Edge played on 16 studio albums for the band, starting out with their first, “The Magnificent Moodies.”

Their first album had a rhythm and blues and Merseybeat feel, and didn’t immediately make waves for the Blues. That all changed when their second, concept album “Days of Future Passed,” was released in 1967 with elements of classical music that established them as forerunners of progressive rock, and they incorporated a symphonic, psychedelic sound into their sprawling compositions.

Actor Jeremy Irons performed Edge’s poems for the 2018 live album “Days of Future Passed Live.”

“In the late 1960s 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. I asked Jeremy Irons to recreate them for our last tours together and it was absolutely magical. Graeme was one of the great characters of the music business and there will never be his like again,” Hayward’s statement said.

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