5 Outstanding Moody Blues Songs Featuring Late Keyboardist Mike Pinder

The rock world is mourning the loss of The Moody Blues’ Mike Pinder. The founding keyboardist passed away on Wednesday, April 24, at age 82. Pinder was a member of the popular British group from its 1964 formation to 1978.

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Pinder began playing piano and organ with The Moody Blues, along with contributing backing and sometimes lead vocals. Starting with the band’s classic second album, Days of Future Passed (1967), he became best known for playing the Mellotron, a keyboard that used tape loops to emulate sound of an orchestra or of various individual instruments.

[RELATED: Founding Moody Blues Keyboardist Mike Pinder Has Died at Age 82; Ex-Bandmates Pay Tribute]

On all of the albums he recorded with The Moody Blues, Pinder contributed one or more songs, and sang lead on select tunes. Most of the band’s hits were written and sung by either Justin Hayward or John Lodge.

In the studio, Pinder also played a wide variety of instruments on Moody Blues tracks besides the Mellotron. Pinder played the piano, organ, cello, harpsichord, celesta, synthesizer, guitar, and bass.

In commemoration of Pinder, here are five outstanding Moody Blues songs featuring the talented musician:

“Go Now” (1964)

The Moody Blues scored a major hit with one of their first singles, “Go Now,” a cover of a soul song written by Larry Banks and Milton Bennett that was first recorded in early 1964 by Banks’ ex-wife, Bessie.

The Moodies’ version, which was sung by frontman Denny Laine, was released in late 1964. The track reached No. 1 on the U.K. chart in January 1965. It also peaked No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. A highlight of the track is Pinder’s fluid and soulful piano solo. Mike also contributed backing vocals to the tune.

“Late Lament” (1967)

By 1967, The Moody Blues had reinvented themselves as a psychedelic pop-rock group. Their second album, Days of Future Passed, featured the band historically collaborating with the London Festival Orchestra.

Pinder wrote and sang a couple of songs on the album. Yet perhaps his most famous contribution to the record was the cosmic spoken-word interlude “Late Lament” heard at the end of the record, following “Nights in White Satin.” For the piece, Pinder recited a poem written by Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge.

Five ensuing Moody Blues albums featured spoken-word pieces written by Edge and recited by Pinder.

“The Dream”/“Have You Heard (Part 1)”/“The Voyage”/“Have You Heard (Part 2)” (1969)

The Moody Blues’ fourth album, On the Threshold of a Dream, features a dramatic multi-part piece written by Pinder that brought the record to a close. The Edge-penned piece “The Dream,” recited by Pinder led into “Have You Heard (Part 1),” the instrumental “The Voyage,” and “Have You Heard (Part 2).”

The song suite takes the listener on a cosmic sonic journey and features philosophical lyrics about spiritual unity. “The Voyage” includes a segment inspired by classical composer Richard Strauss’ “Thus Spake Zarathustra,” famously featured in the 1969 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

“Out and In” (1969)

“Out and In” was song featured on The Moody Blues’ fifth album, To Our Children’s Children’s Children. It was sung by Pinder and co-written by him and Lodge.

The melodic, prog-flavored tune features a soaring melody and lyrics encouraging people to take a spiritual journey by looking out into the universe and toward one’s inner self.

“Melancholy Man” (1970)

The Moody Blues’ sixth studio, A Question of Balance, included the Pinder showcase “Melancholy Man.” The mournful song is sung from the perspective of a man who understands that the world beset by trials, but has a positive view that mankind can work to make it a better place.

Although “Melancholy Man” released as a B-side of the Moody Blues hit “The Story in Your Eyes” in the U.S., it topped the French singles chart for four weeks in November 1970.

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