Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge dead at 80

Graeme Edge
(Image credit: Kevin Kane/Getty Images)

Graeme Edge, drummer with UK prog legends the Moody Blues, has died, aged 80, it has been confirmed by fellow Moody Blues colleague John Lodge.

"Sadly Graeme left us today," said Lodge on Twitter earlier. "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."

Fellow Moody Blue Justin Hayward said: “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.”

Edge was a founding member of the Birmingham band in 1964, along with Ray Thomas (flute, vocals), Mike Pinder (keyboards), Denny Laine (singer, guitarist) and Clint Warwick (singer, bassist). With the recruitment of Justin Hayward and John Lodge, replacing Laine and Warwick, the band shifted from r'n'b to a more symphonic sound, releasing the groundbreaking progressive rock album Days Of Future Passed in1967 which spawned the massive hit Nights In White Satin.

As well as the band's drummer, Edge also contributed poetry to the band, although this was often recited by Pinder owing, according to Edge, to the fact his voice better suited due to his fondness for whiskey and cigarettes. Morning Glory, Late Lament, The Word, In The Beginning and The Dream, the latter recited by Edge himself, were just some of his written word contributions to the band's early albums.

By 1969 Edge began contributing songs to the band; Higher And Higher on To Our Children's Children's Children, album opener Procession on Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971), You And Me on 1972's Seventh Sojourn, and it later years, 22,000 Days on Long Distance Voyager (1981), Going Nowhere (1983's The Present) and The Spirit on 1986's The Other Side Of Life, were just some of his contributions.

When The Moodies went on hiatus in 1974 Edge formed The Graeme Edge band with Adrian and Paul Gurvitz and released two albums, 1975's Kick Your Muddy Boots Off which featured a guest appearance from Ginger Baker, and Paradise Ballroom in 1977.

Edge remained the last original member of the Moody Blues in the current line-up. Singer and flute player Ray Thomas passed away in 2018 aged 76.

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.