Moody Blues Co-Founder Mike Pinder Passes Away At 82

(L) John Lodge and Mike Pinder of The Moody Blues attend the 33rd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Auditorium on April 14, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) / (R) British rock group The Moody Blues, 26th July 1978. Clockwise from top left, Graeme Edge, Ray Thomas, John Lodge, Mike Pinder and Justin Hayward. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
4:20 PM – Thursday, April 25, 2024

At the age of 82, Mike Pinder, the keyboardist for the Moody Blues and the last living founding member of the band, has passed away.


The band’s bassist, John Lodge, released a statement from Pinder’s family announcing his passing, which said that Pinder had passed away quietly at home on Wednesday in Northern California. There was no stated cause of death.

He was described as a “musician, father, cosmic philosopher & friend” who “lived his life with a childlike wonder, walking a deeply introspective path which fused the mind and the heart.”

Pinder was a supporter of the Mellotron, a keyboard that was effectively an early sampler and produced a recognizable orchestral sound that can be heard in many of the Moody Blues’ and other progressive-rock bands’ songs.

Pinder was born in 1941 in Birmingham, in the British Midlands, and he was exposed to the city’s thriving music scene. Other legendary bands like Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Black Sabbath, The Move, and Traffic all originated from the same area in the UK.

In 1964, he and Graeme Edge, Ray Thomas, Clint Warwick, and singer Denny Laine formed the “Moodies,” which would later go on to become The Moody Blues.

With their rendition of Bessie Bank’s melancholic ballad “Go Now,” the group shot to fame in 1965. Pinder co-wrote several of the group’s early original songs with Laine, but he left in 1966 and eventually joined Paul McCartney’s band “Wings” a few years later.

Justin Hayward, Laine’s replacement, was brought in by Pinder, and Lodge soon followed, completing the band’s iconic line-up that would last until 1978.

“I’d written some songs and sent them to Eric Burdon [of the Animals]. Unbeknownst to me he passed them to Mike Pinder in the Moodies and soon I had a call from Mike. I came up to London to meet him and we got on,” Hayward told reporters.

“Days of Future Passed,” the album that many believe to be the first progressive rock album, was produced in 1967 by the group using an orchestra whose sound Pinder would live replicate on the Mellotron. Five years after its release, the album featured the iconic orch-rock song “Nights in White Satin,” which unexpectedly became a huge hit single in the United States.

However, during this time, the Moody Blues were already a popular band in both the United States and the United Kingdom, as all six of their albums issued between 1967 and 1972 went gold or platinum.

Later, the band took a break in the middle of the 1970s, during which time Pinder released his solo album, “The Promise.” The group reformed in 1978 with the album “Octave,” but Pinder decided not to stay in the band and left soon after its release.

He and his family eventually moved to Northern California, where he worked in the tech world and only occasionally returned to music. However, in 1994, he released his second solo album.

“Michael Thomas Pinder died on Wednesday, April 24th, 2024, at his home in Northern California, surrounded by his devoted family. Michael’s family would like to share with his trusted friends and caring fans that he passed peacefully. 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; as 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,” John Lodge posted on Facebook.

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