Moody Blues drummer, co-founder Graeme Edge dead at 80

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(NewsNation Now) — Graeme Edge, drummer and co-founding member of the Moody Blues has died, his family confirmed to NewsNation. He was 80.

The Moody Blues provided the soundtrack for much of the ’60s and ’70s, even though their biggest hit, “Your Wildest Dreams,” came with the help of the MTV era in the ’80s

The English musician was a member of the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame for his 50 years of work with the rock band, providing their imaginative rhythms and memorable spoken word.

Edge retired from touring in 2018 and was the only founding member continuously in the band since the mid-1960s. 2018 was also the year the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In an interview on the red carpet at the induction ceremony, Edge said that the Moody Blues had “the most loyal and the best fans on earth. I’d probably be pushing up daisies without them.”

And now, three years after the retired from the tours and the arenas full of fans, he has left us.

Asked about his major influences for getting into rock and roll, Edge credited his grandfather, a singer who toured “almost in the stagecoach days” with encouraging him to give the music world a try. He said his grandfather always wanted to see him play at London’s Palladium Theatre, and four months before he died he did just that.

The orchestral backdrop which was the core of the band’s sound cast a wide net of influence in the ’70s and ’80s, fueling the bands Yes, Genesis during the Peter Gabriel years and Electric Light Orchestra. Listen to Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a Moody Blues tune.

There are ongoing debates between Pink Floyd and Moody Blues fans as to who influenced whom, but it’s likely they were simply drinking from the same creative spring.

As production costs have been trimmed and the nature of the music business has changed, the Moodies’ influence has waned, but audiophiles still use their early works to test out new sound systems to make sure they’re catching every note properly.

The band’s first album, “The Magnificent Moodies,” didn’t make much of a splash, but their 1967 hit “Days of Future Passed” is still on many music fans’ “best of” lists. Their biggest hit came late, with 1986’s “Your Wildest Dreams,” powered by an iconic music video, but the song most fans recognize them for is “Nights in White Satin,” a ’70s hallmark, with dreamy synths and long instrumental passages.

Fun fact: “Nights in White Satin” was one of the first songs more than four minutes long to get wide radio airplay. Radio programming was based around songs 2-3 minutes long, and longer songs broke up the set plans.

The band took a hiatus from 1974-77, but the members were still together as of the time of Edge’s death. No statements have yet been released by Justin Hayward and John Lodge, the other band members.

This story is developing. Refresh for updates.

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