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Posts Tagged ‘El Riot and the Rebels’

RIP, Ray Thomas (January 4, 2018) The Moody Blues

Posted by themusicsover on January 4, 2018

Ray Thomas
December 29, 1941 – January 4, 2018

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Ray Thomas, a founding member of the English rock band, the Moody Blues passed away on January 4, 2018 at the age of 76.  Cause of death was not immediately released.  Thomas was just nine years old when his father taught him to play the harmonica, and by the time he was 16, he had already quit school by two years and had set his music career in motion.  He had also taken up the flute, later, his primary instrument, by that time as well.  His first band of note was called El Riot and the Rebels who opened a gig for the Beatles in 1963.  The following year, he and fellow band mate, Mike Pinder recruited Denny Laine, Graeme Edge and Clint Warwick, and the Moody Blues was born.  The band’s first album, The Magnificent Moodies was released in 1965.  Having a Merseybeat/R&B sound then, which was very popular in the UK, the album produced a #1 UK hit and #10 US hit with the band’s cover of “Go Now.”  Warwick and Laine soon exited, and in 1966, a new era for the band was born with the addition of John Lodge and Justin Hayward.  The group’s sound became more orchestral and complex.  The first resulting album was 1967’s Days of Future Passed, which propelled the band to fame across Europe and North America.  Songs like “Tuesday Afternoon,” and in particular, “Nights in White Satin,” laid the foundation for what would be called Prog Rock. Thomas’ flute solo in “Nights in White Satin” is considered a watershed moment for the genre. He was later nicknamed “The Flute,” for obvious reasons. Health concerns and the Moody Blues’ move into more of a synth sound during the ’80s lead to Thomas’ retirement in 2002, but he did show up on a recording here and there in later years.  In 2013, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. And December 13, 2017 – less than a month before Thomas passed away, it was announced that the Moody Blues would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Class of 2018.

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