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

Graeme Edge, a drummer and co-founder of The Moody Blues, has died. He was 80.

The group’s frontman, Justin Hayward, confirmed Edge’s passing Thursday on the band’s website. The cause of death has not been revealed.

Hayward, 75, described Edge as the backbone of the British rock band, which was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. Their last album was released in 2003.

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Inductee Graeme Edge of The Moody Blues attends the 33rd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Auditorium on April 14, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Inductee Graeme Edge of The Moody Blues attends the 33rd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Auditorium on April 14, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. 
(Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

“When Graeme told me he was retiring I knew that without him it couldn’t be the Moody Blues anymore,” Hayward said. “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 1964, Edge co-founded the group in Birmingham, England. His drumming expertise was a key ingredient for the band’s massive prog-rock hits between the 1960s-70s including “Nights in White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon” and “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band).”

Hayward joined The Moody Blues in 1966 with bassist John Lodge after Denny Laine departed from the band.

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Moody Blues L - R: Denny Laine, Clint Warwick, Ray Thomas, Graeme Edge and Mike Pinder.

Moody Blues L – R: Denny Laine, Clint Warwick, Ray Thomas, Graeme Edge and Mike Pinder.
(Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty Images)

“In the late 1960s 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,” Hayward explained. “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.”

Edge was featured in The Moody Blues’ 16 studio albums starting with “The Magnificent Moodies” in 1965 and ending with their final album, the Christmas-themed “December” in 2003.

Lodge took to the band’s Facebook page where he paid homage to Edge.

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Drummer/songwriter Graeme Edge of The Moody Blues performs at Hard Rock Live! in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 10, 2018 in Hollywood, Florida. 

Drummer/songwriter Graeme Edge of The Moody Blues performs at Hard Rock Live! in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 10, 2018 in Hollywood, Florida. 
(Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images)

“To me, he was the White Eagle of the North with his beautiful poetry,” the 76-year-old shared. “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.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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