Graeme Edge, drummer and co-founder of Moody Blues, dies at age 80

Graeme Edge, drummer and co-founder of British band The Moody Blues, for whom he wrote many spoken word poems which, together with songs...


Graeme Edge, drummer and co-founder of British band The Moody Blues, for whom he wrote many spoken word poems which, together with songs like “Nights in White Satin”, helped make the group a pioneer of the progressive movement. rock from the 60s and 70s, died Thursday at his home in Bradenton, Florida. He was 80 years old.

Rilla Fleming, her partner, said the cause was metastatic cancer.

The Moody Blues first gained attention as part of the British invasion that dominated the American rock scene in the mid-1960s. Their repertoire originally consisted largely of R&B covers, but by their second album, “Days of Future Passed” (1967), they had developed the mix of orchestral and rock music that would make them famous.

“In the late 1960s we became the band Graeme always wanted them to be, and they came to be both a poet and a drummer,” wrote Justin Hayward, the band’s lead vocalist. in a statement on the Moody Blues website after the death of Mr. Edge. “He delivered this beautifully and brilliantly, while also creating an atmosphere and a setting that music would never have achieved without his words.”

The haunting percussion and introspective poetry of Mr. Edge have greatly contributed to the group’s success. The Moody Blues are probably best remembered for “Nights in White Satin” (1967), a dark ruminative song that ends, in the version included on their album “Days of Future Passed”, with “Late Lament”, written by Mr. Edge and read by keyboardist Mike Pinder. (It was missing in the shorter version released for radio.)

Although Mr. Pinder’s sonorous baritone and the opening lines of the poem – “Take a deep breath in the darkness that gathers” – makes the poem melancholy, even disturbing, Mr. Edge said that “White Satin Nights” was meant to be uplifting. .

“I think it’s the joy, the spirit that does it,” he said in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2018. “He’s a young boy who finds out he loves someone for the first time, and he just wants to scream it from the hills – and scream it again!”

“Nights in White Satin” was not originally a success, but it reached the Top 10 when it was re-released in 1972. It became a musical landmark – one of the first to emerge from the progressive rock movement. booming, which also included bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis & Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

The Moody Blues had other hits in the late ’60s and early’ 70s, including “Tuesday afternoon, “I’m just a singer (in a rock and roll band)” and “Ride my swing”, Before taking a hiatus from 1974 to 1977. During this time Mr. Edge sailed around the world in his 70 foot yacht and released several solo albums.

The band found a new lease of life in the 1980s, when they put aside their progressive rock background and embraced a synth-focused pop sound. in 1986 he had one of his greatest hits, the up-tempo “Your wildest dreams. “The Moody Blues released their last album,“ December ”, in 2003, but have continued to tour regularly thereafter.

“I never tire of playing the hits,” Mr. Edge told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in 2008. “You have a duty. You play ‘Nights in White Satin’ for them. You have to play ‘I’m just a singer (in a rock and roll band) ”, and you must play“ Tuesday Afternoon ”and you must play“ Question. ”It is your duty and their right.

Graeme Charles Edge was born on March 30, 1941 in Rocester, England, a village near Birmingham. When he was 3, his family moved to Birmingham, where he grew up.

He comes from a family of musicians: his mother, a classically trained pianist, worked in a movie theater playing the accompaniment of silent films, and his father was a music hall singer, just like his grandfather and his son. paternal great-grandfather.

Mr. Edge’s two marriages ended in divorce. Besides Mrs. Fleming, he is survived by his daughter, Samantha Edge; his son, Matthew; and five grandchildren.

When he was little he heard Bill Haley and the Comets on the radio and immediately fell in love with rock and roll. Although he trained as a designer, his first job was to lead an R&B group in Birmingham.

When the drummer in that group unexpectedly resigned, Mr. Edge was hired as a temporary replacement. He had never played drums before, but he learned quickly, and when the band hired another drummer, he bought his own kit and decided to become a musician.

He founded and performed in several groups before he and four other musicians – vocalist and guitarist Denny Laine, vocalist and flautist Ray Thomas, bassist Clint Warwick and Mr. Pinder – formed the MB Five in 1964. They joined forces. quickly renamed Moody. Blues.

The group’s first hit, in 1964, was “Go now !”A cover of an R&B song recorded the same year by Bessie Banks. But Mr. Edge feared that playing other people’s songs wouldn’t get them far. After Mr. Laine and Mr. Warwick left and Mr. Hayward and John Lodge joined in, the group decided to take a new approach.

They were big admirers of the Beatles’ use of an orchestra on some of their songs, and they decided to develop a sound that mixed rock and classical instrumentation. Although they subsequently recorded and toured with an orchestra, their early efforts employed a mellotron, an analog antecedent to the electronic synthesizer.

The resulting sweep of the strings and brass that played through their songs, along with the poetry of Mr. Edge, gave the Moody Blues a reputation as a thoughtful rock band and early exponents of what was called the art-rock.

“We used to think that we were aiming for the head and heart, rather than the groin,” Mr. Edge told the South Bend Tribune in Indiana in 2006.

The Moody Blues have sold over 70 million albums and in 2018 were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Fittingly for a song by a band once known for their covers, “Nights in White Satin” has been covered over 140 times.

Clint Warwick died in 2004. Ray thomas passed away in 2018.

Mr. Edge suffered a stroke in 2016 and retired from touring in 2019, but remained an official member of the band until his death – the only remaining member of the original quintet, formed for nearly 60 years. earlier.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Graeme Edge, drummer and co-founder of Moody Blues, dies at age 80
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