Moody Blues Co-Founder Mike Pinder Passes Away at 82

The 82-year-old keyboardist Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues has passed away.

Joined by Graeme Edge, Denny Laine, Clint Warwick, and Ray Thomas, the band was officially named the “Moodies” in 1964. Their 1965 rendition of “Go Now,” a mournful ballad by Bessie Bank, helped propel the band to stardom, and Pinder and Laine collaborated on several of the group’s early original compositions.

When Laine departed the band in 1966, Pinder was instrumental in locating Justin Hayward to replace him. John Lodge, who would later play bass for the band, joined soon after Hayward. Justin Hayward replaced Laine, and Lodge followed quickly, solidifying the group’s iconic lineup until 1978. Pinder played a significant role in this recruitment.

For their 1967 album “Days of Future Passed,” the Moody Blues became the first progressive rock band to use the Mellotron to recreate the sound of an orchestra.

Each depression of a key of the Mellotron triggers a tape loop that was an actual recording of violins (or other instruments.)

“Nights in White Satin,” featuring the mellotron, is an orch-rock classic that became an improbable smash single in the United States. The Moody Blues remained a hit in the US and UK; six albums from 1967–1972, for example, were awarded gold or platinum.

In the mid-1970s, the band took a break, and Pinder released an album as a solo artist called “The Promise.” Though he did make a brief comeback for the band’s 1978 reunion record “Octave,” he ultimately decided not to stay.

1994, Pinder released his second solo album after relocating to Northern California with his family. He worked in the computer business and only sometimes returned to music. He appeared at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the Moody Blues but chose not to speak. Fans saw it as a swipe at the Hall, but he clarified that it was only because the ceremony had dragged on for too long.