Graeme Edge, founding drummer of The Moody Blues, dead at age 80

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Founding Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge died today, according to separate messages posted by his longtime band mates Justin Hayward and John Lodge. He was 80.

“It’s a very sad day. Graeme’s sound and personality is present in everything we did together and thankfully that will live on,” Hayward wrote in a message posted on the band’s official website. “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.”

Justin added, “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.”

In his own tribute, Lodge wrote on his Facebook page, “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.”

Edge co-founded the band in 1964 and was the only original member to play with the group throughout its entire history. The Moody Blues stopped touring at the end of 2018, several months after the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

While Graeme was probably the least prolific of the band members with regard to songwriting contributions, he was best known for writing the poetic interludes that appeared on many of the group’s albums, most famously “Late Lament,” the spoken-word segment recited by keyboardist Mike Pinder that’s heard at the end of “Nights in White Satin.”

Back in March 2018, Edge talked with ABC Audio and revealed some of the things he was most proud of with regards to his long career, including the fact that he wasn’t involved in any scandals, The Moodies sold out Madison Square Garden five times in one week, and the band had the reputation of being “proper professionals” with its fans and promoters.

Graeme continued, “I’m proud of the music we’ve done. I bear not too much responsibility for that, but Justin and John and Ray [Thomas] and Mike have written some sterling songs, and it was just a privilege to play with them.”

Edge also noted, with a laugh, “I’m proud and grateful for the career that we’ve had, which has been successful but not made me too rich. You know, I think I could have been an a**hole if I’d have been too rich.”

Edge is the second member of The Moody Blues’ classic lineup to pass away, following Thomas, who died in January 2018 at age 76.

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