Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge dies aged 80

Moody Blues star Graeme Edge has died at the age of 80.

His bandmate Justin Hayward confirmed the news, penning a statement which reads: ‘It’s a very sad day. 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.

‘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. I asked Jeremy Irons to recreate them for our last tours together and it was absolutely magical.

‘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.

‘Graeme was one of the great characters of the music business and there will never be his like again. My sincerest condolences to his family.’

Moody Blues star John Lodge also tweeted a tribute, writing: ‘“When the White Eagle of the North is flying overhead” …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…’

A cause of death has not been confirmed.

Edge was one of the founding members of rock band The Moody Blues, alongside Denny Laine, Clint Warwick, Mike Pinder, and Ray Thomas.

Not long they formed, Laine and Warwick departed the band, with Justin Hayward and John Lodge joining the line-up.

The band formed in 1964 and became known as pioneers of art rock and progressive rock, especially with the release of their album Days of Future Passed in 1967.

They topped the UK chart with their song Go Now and were also known for hits including I Don’t Want To Go On Without You, Everyday, and From The Bottom of my Heart (I Love You).’

Following multiple hiatuses and reunions, the band’s final album was in 2003, although they continued to tour and perform one-off shows.

Edge, who was initially a poet for the band, remained the only original member to perform with the band until his retirement in 2018.

He told Glide Magazine in 2014: ‘I love playing live. I just love it. I can’t get the grin off my face. Once I get in front of that audience, I start looking down and I just can’t help grinning. And I get paid!’

The musician also led his own band, the Graeme Edge Band, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Moody Blues in 2018.

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