…the gathering gloom,
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people look back and lament,
Another day’s useless energy spent.
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one,
Lonely man cries for love and has none.
New mother picks up and suckles her son,
Senior citizens wish they were young.
Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white.
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?
This poem, “Late Lament”, which is at the end of “Nights in White Satin”, was written by the late Graeme Edge, a founding member of The Moody Blues.
Edge wrote a few of these spoken-word lyrics for the band’s early albums. The Moody Blues were a thinking man’s progressive rock group. These lyrics were usually accompanied by orchestra or Mike Pinder’s Mellotron, which gave these ethereal words a mysterious and deeply reflective feel.
“We used to think that we were aiming at the head and the heart, rather than the groin,” Mr. Edge told The South Bend Tribune in Indiana in 2006.
Edge, or “Gray”, as he was known, had a very distinctive look: short, shaggy hair, aviator glasses and bushy mustache. I never knew him to be a showy performer, drum solos or huge array of percussion gear around his drum set.
When the band went on hiatus in the early 1970s, so everyone could do their own projects, Edge hooked up with the Gurvitz brothers (Adrian and Paul) for the Graeme Edge Band. They released two albums of pop-rock: Kick Off Your Muddy Boots and Paradise Ballroom. Of the two, Paradise Ballroom is my favorite.
As the years went by, the Moody Blues’ studio albums slowed, and Edge appeared on fewer of the tracks. Drum machines and programmed beats were more frequently used. The Moodies continued touring and began using a second drummer to boost the percussion.
“I never get tired of playing the hits,” Mr. Edge told The Sarasota Herald-Tribune in 2008. “You have a duty. You play ‘Nights in White Satin’ for them. You’ve got to play ‘I’m Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band),’ and you’ve got to play ‘Tuesday Afternoon’ and you’ve got to play ‘Question.’ It’s your duty, and their right.”
Edge suffered a stroke in 2016 and reportedly battled cancer. He retired in 2019.
“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.” – Justin Hayward, Moody Blues guitarist/songwriter
4 thoughts on “Remembering Graeme Edge”
I’ll always remember his quote in the Legend of a Band documentary. He said that on a good night, playing drums onstage was better than sex. Wow. I should’ve stuck with my 7th-grade drum lessons.
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What’s amazing about these Brit prog bands of the time was their age: either teens or barely out of it. And they created this timeless music full of depth and complexity.