Moody Blues Co-founder Mike Pinder Passes Away At Age 82

( – Mike Pinder, a co-founder of influential rock group The Moody Blues, has died. Often underestimated, the band influenced some of the most popular groups of the 1970s and 1980s. Pinder was the last surviving member of the original lineup.

Michael Thomas Pinder was born in Birmingham, England, on December 27, 1941. As a child, his main interest was outer space; his first nickname was “Mickey the Moon Boy.” After training as an electrical engineer, he went on to work at an electronics factory that made the newly developed Mellotron keyboard, one of the first keyboards affordable enough for small bands or individuals to own.

In May 1964, Pinder, who had obviously been playing the keyboards as well as building them, quit his job and, together with Ray Thomas, Denny Laine, Clint Warwick, and Graeme Edge, founded The Moody Blues. Moving to London, the home of Britain’s recording industry, they managed to get a deal with Decca Records. Their first single, a Bobby Parker cover, sank without a trace — but their second, a cover of “Go Now” by Bessie Banks, shot to Number 1 in Britain and hit Number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in April 1965.

As well as being the group’s sole keyboard player for more than a decade, Pinder was one of its principal songwriters. He wrote most of the band’s B sides, as well as several album tracks, along with Laine. However, their breakthrough was the rock/classical concept album “Days of Future Passed,” particularly the song “Nights in White Satin,” which was released as a single in 1967.

The band went on to release six more albums by 1974 and also toured widely. In 1974, exhausted, they decided to take a break. Soon after, Pinder, who had recently married, relocated to California, where he released a solo album in 1976. The band reformed in 1977, but Pinder left a year later and was replaced on keyboard by Patrick Moraz.

Pinder went on to work as a music consultant for Atari. He also released a second solo album in 1994. He married twice and had three children. He died at his home in California on April 24, aged 82.

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