Rock music has lost another noteworthy artist.
Graeme Edge, the last original member of The Moody Blues has died. He was 80. Grame was the drummer and co-founder of the group. The cause of death on Thursday has not yet been confirmed.
Frontman Justin Hayward said that “Graeme’s sound and personality is present in everything we did together and thankfully that will live on. 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. 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.”
The Guardian referred to The Moody Blues as psychedelia’s forgotten heroes. They were written off by critics as cheesy imposters, but the Moodies have endured far better than some of their trippier rivals.
“By the summer of 1966, the group was all but washed up,” wrote Rob Chapman, author of “Psychedelia and Other Colours” in The Guardian.
“It had been 18 months since they got to No 1 in the pop charts with their cover of the Bessie Banks R & B classic Go Now and they hadn’t had a top 10 hit since. They had been reduced to a cabaret turn on the chicken-in-a-basket circuit when they reached their nadir in Newcastle – an aggrieved punter came backstage to tell them they were the worst band he had ever seen. So lacerating was the verdict that sensitive new guitarist Justin Hayward burst into tears. The band conceded that the punter might have had a point and ditched the blue suits and corny nightclub patter, transforming themselves into cosmic troubadours. In 1967, Decca Records asked them to record an album for their Deram imprint that would show off the versatility of the label’s new Deramic Stereo Sound system. The brief was to make a pop version of Dvorak’s New World Symphony aimed at hi-fi buffs. What Decca got instead was a lushly orchestrated album of the Moodies’ own material called Days of Future Passed. Sales were reasonable but not spectacular, and the chosen single, Nights in White Satin, barely scraped into the top 20 on its first release, but the Moody Blues never played a cabaret club again.”
Hayward recounted the story behind their huge hit.
“I was nineteen or twenty at the time, living in a two-room flat in Bayswater with Graeme and our girlfriends. I came back from a gig one night, around four or five in the morning, when the birds were just twittering, sat on the side of the bed and wrote a couple of verses.
“Another girlfriend, who was neither the one that had just dumped me or the one that I was then going with, had given me some white satin sheets. They just happened to be in my suitcase and I was trying them out in this place that Graeme and I lived in. They were very romantic-looking, but totally impractical.”