Graeme Edge, the legendary drummer and songwriter for the Moody Blues, passed away today at 80 years old. His bandmate Justin Hayward broke the news on the rock and roll group’s official website earlier this morning. Hayward did not reveal a cause of death for Edge.
“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 on the band’s website.
“When Graeme told me he was retiring. I knew that without him it couldn’t be the Moody Blues anymore,” Hayward continued. “And that’s what happened. It’s true to say that he kept the group together throughout all the years because he loved it.”
Edge co-formed the group in 1964, according to Deadline. He was born in Rochester, England, on March 30, 1941. But he joined the British Invasion in the 1960s to head over to America and start the Moody Blues with Denny Laine, Clint Warwick, and Mike Pinder.
For the next 54 years or so, Edge played the drums for the band. Eventually, the “classic lineup” for the Moody Blues would feature Edge on the drums, Hayward on guitar and vocals, Pinder on keyboard and vocals, and John Lodge on the bass. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, and Edge retired that same year.
“In the late 1960’s we became the group that Graeme always wanted it to be,” Hayward wrote after Edge’s death. “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.”
The Moody Blues Bandmate Mourns Death of Drummer Graeme Edge
The Moody Blues shortly became famous in 1965, with their smash hit “Go Now.” The song became a No. 1 hit in the UK and made the Top 10 list in the U.S. The band also boasted several successful albums, such as “Days of Future Passed,” On the Threshold of a Dream,” and “To Our Children’s Children’s Children.”
While Graeme Edge formed the group and stayed with it until 2018, guitarist Justin Hayward didn’t join until 1966. But he remembers the bond forged between him and Edge distinctly.
“Graeme, and his parents, were very kind to me when I first joined the group,” Hayward wrote on the band’s website. “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.”
The band truly did make their mark on the rock and roll industry throughout the 1960s and 70s. But more importantly, they absolutely loved doing it.
“Graeme was one of the great characters of the music business and there will never be his like again,” Hayward concluded. “My sincerest condolences to his family.”