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Ray Thomas (born 29 December 1941, Stourport-on-Severnmarker, Englandmarker) is an English musician, best known as the flautist and as a singer and composer in the rock band, The Moody Blues.

Career

In the 1960s, Thomas joined the Birmingham Youth Choir. He began singing with various Birminghammarker blues and soul groups, including the Saints and Sinners as well as the Ramblers. Taking up the harmonica, he then started a band with bass guitarist and future Moody Blues bandmate John Lodge. The two performed together in El Riot and the Rebels. After a couple of years, keyboardist and friend Mike Pinder, another future Moody, joined as well. Thomas and Pinder (sans Lodge) were later in a band called Krew Cats. El Riot and the Rebels had once opened for The Beatles in Tenbury Wellsmarker; the Krew Cats formed in 1963 and played in Hamburgmarker and other plaves in Northern Germanymarker, possibly at some of the same venues which the Beatles had played although this is unconfirmed.

Thomas and Pinder then recruited guitarist Denny Laine along with drummer Graeme Edge and bassist Clint Warwick to form a new, blues-based band. The name of the band, chosen by Pinder, was "The Moody Blues." The name was a subtle reference to Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo."

Their first album, The Magnificent Moodies, yielded a #1 UK hit (#10 in the US) with "Go Now." The album also featured Thomas singing lead vocals on a cover of George and Ira Gershwin's "It Ain't Necessarily So", which was originally from the musical Porgy and Bess.

Following this album, Warwick left the band, followed by Laine a few months later. Thomas suggested an old bandmate, bassist John Lodge, as a replacement for Warwick (in between there had been another bass guitarist, Rodney Clark) and also recruited Justin Hayward to replace Denny Laine. With its new lineup, the band released 7 successful albums between 1967 and 1972, and became known for a pioneering orchestral sound. Some of Thomas' compositions on these albums are "Another Morning" and "Twilight Time" (from Days of Future Passed), "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume" and "Legend of a Mind" (from In Search of the Lost Chord), "Dear Diary" and "Lazy Day" (from On the Threshold of a Dream), "Floating" (from To Our Children's Children's Children), "And the Tide Rushes In" (from A Question of Balance), "Our Guessing Game" and "Nice to Be Here" (from Every Good Boy Deserves Favour) and "For My Lady" (from Seventh Sojourn).

In 1974, the band took a hiatus (reported at the time as a break-up), during which the members all did solo projects. Thomas released the albums, From Mighty Oaks (1975) and Hopes Wishes and Dreams (1976). It was during this period that he earned his nickname, 'The Flute'. Within the band he was also known as 'Tomo' (pronounced tOm-O).

The band then reformed (largely minus Mike Pinder who was only with them for the first album after the reformation) and continued to release albums throughout the '80s, with Thomas' "Veteran Cosmic Rocker" being prominently featured on the album Long Distance Voyager. This song has often been regarded as a theme song for the band itself as a whole and for Thomas in particular, and it again features his use of the harmonica. During the mid 1980s, Thomas temporarily stopped writing new songs for the band. His last three songwriting contributions for the Moodies include "Celtic Sonant" (1991), "Never Blame the Rainbows for the Rain," (1991), and "My Little Lovely" (1999).

Although he most commonly plays flute, Thomas is actually a multi-instrumentalist, playing various other woodwind instruments, such as the oboe on the album, In Search of the Lost Chord, and saxophone on Octave. The 1972 video for "I'm Just a Singer " features Thomas playing the tenor saxophone, although Pinder has stated on his website that this was just for effect in the video, and that Thomas was not the sax player on the actual recording. Although typically comfortable singing in the lower tenor register, Thomas was also responsible for the distinctive falsetto voice on many of the group's earlier recordings, before the arrival of Hayward and Lodge.

Thomas retired at the end of 2002 due to gout and diabetes. The Moody Blues - now consisting only of Hayward, Lodge and Edge plus four long-serving touring band members, including Norda Mullen who has taken over Thomas' flute parts - have released one album, December, since his departure from the band.

In July 2009 it became known that Thomas, who has written at least two of his songs - "Adam and I" and "My Little Lovely" - for his son and granddaughter, respectively, has recently married again. Thomas wed his longtime girlfriend, Lee, during a ceremony in Wales on 9 July 2009.

Compositions

The Moody Blues



Solo



References

  1. Independent.co.uk
  2. http://www.jimnewsom.com/PFW-GraemeEdge.html
  3. through "moodytalk" and private pictures at myspace


External links




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