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

Founding Moody Blues keyboardist Mike Pinder, the last surviving member of the band’s original lineup, died on Wednesday, April 24. He was 82.

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According to a message from his family posted on The Moody Blues’ official website, Pinder passed away peacefully “at his home in Northern California, surrounded by his devoted family.”

[RELATED: Denny Laine, Founding Member of Wings and The Moody Blues Dies at 79; Wife Shares Loving Tribute]

The message continued, “His final days were filled with music, encircled by the love of his family. Michael lived his life with a childlike wonder, walking a deeply introspective path which fused the mind and the heart. … He created his music and the message he shared with the world from this spiritually grounded place.”

The tribute concluded, “[A]s he always said, ‘Keep your head above the clouds, but keep your feet on the ground.’ His authentic essence lifted up everyone who came into contact with him. His lyrics, philosophy, and vision of humanity and our place in the cosmos will touch generations to come.”

About Pinder’s Career with The Moody Blues

Pinder co-founded The Moody Blues in 1964 with singer/guitarist Denny Laine, bassist/singer Clint Warwick, flautist/singer Ray Thomas, and drummer Graeme Edge. The band initially was influenced by R&B and Mersey-style rock ‘n’ roll.

This lineup released one album, The Magnificent Moodies (retitled Go Now: The Moody Blues #1 in the U.S.), in 1965. It featured a hit cover of the soul song “Go Now,” which topped the singles chart in the U.K. and reached No. 10 in the U.S. The album also included several songs co-written by Pinder and Laine.

Laine and Warwick left The Moody Blues in 1966 and were replaced by singer/guitarist Justin Hayward and singer/bassist John Lodge. The lineup change also marked a shift in the band’s sound to psychedelic and melodic rock. In 1967, the group released the landmark album Days of Future Passed, which featured The Moodies accompanied by the London Festival Orchestra.

On the album, the deep-voiced Pinder famously delivered the spoken-word interlude “Late Lament” (written by Edge) heard at the end of “Nights in White Satin.”

In order to recreate the symphonic parts in Concert, Pinder introduced the Mellotron to the band. The instrument used tape loop “samples” to emulate orchestral sounds.

Pinder also wrote and sang select songs on all the albums he recorded with The Moody Blues, as well as playing multiple instruments and serving as the group’s musical arranger. Among the songs he wrote or co-wrote for the band were “Dawn Is a Feeling,” “Have You Heard,” “Out and In,” “Melancholy Man,” and “Lost in a Lost World.” Although most of the group’s best-known songs generally were written and sung by Hayward or Lodge, Pinder’s “Melancholy Man” was a No. 1 hit in France.

The Moody Blues went on a hiatus for several years in the mid-1970s, and in 1976, Pinder released his debut solo album, The Promise. He rejoined the group to record the 1978 album Octave, then left the band permanently.

After Leaving The Moody Blues

Pinder released another solo album, Another the Stars, in 1994, and following it with the 1995 spoken-word collection A Planet with One Mind.

Pinder was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with The Moody Blues in 2018. Although he attended the ceremony, he didn’t give a speech or perform with the group.

Justin Hayward and John Lodge Pay Tribute

Both Hayward and Lodge released statements paying tribute to Pinder after his death.

“Mike was a natural born musician who could play any style of music with warmth and love,” Hayward wrote. “His re-imagining and rebuilding (literally) of the Mellotron gave us our identifiable early sound. He was a huge part of my own musical journey. My sincere condolences to his loving and devoted family.”

Lodge, meanwhile, posted two different notes on his social media pages.

“All the love possible goes out from the Lodge family to Mike’s family today… RIP,” he wrote on Facebook. A separate note on on his X page reads, “Mike your music will last forever. Rest in peace on your travels to heaven.”

About the Death’s of The Moody Blues’ Other Original Members

As mentioned above, Pinder had been the last surviving original Moody Blues member. Warwick died in 2004, Thomas in 2018, Edge in 2021, and Laine in 2023.

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