EXPIRED: 09/03/10 – Mike Edwards, 62, was a pioneer in ‘rock’ but it was the ‘roll’ that eventually killed him.
While driving on his the highway near his home in the English countryside a big round bale of hay weighing over 1300 pounds rolled down a hillside and smashed into his van.
He didn’t know what hit him.
A cellist focusing on classical music, Edwards was coaxed into becoming a founding member of Jeff Lynne’s groundbreaking British rock ensemble the Electric Light Orchestra.
He played as a member of the band from their 1st live gig in Croydon in 1972 and he was a major draw. What other band had a cello player? Better yet, what other band had a cellist who would play the instrument with an orange or grapefruit? His signature piece was the spastic cello solo that ended in the instrument exploding in an amazing display of fire and smoke during the song “The Dying Swan.”
Edwards contributed to their debut album as well as ELO II, On the Third Day, The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach) and Eldorado.
He quit in 1975 when the band’s success in America started to keep him away from his family too long. He was later replaced as cellist by Melvyn Gale. When he returned to England he turned back to more classical endeavors and took a job teaching the cello to others.
Later in life he became a Zen-Buddist Swami known as Deva Pramada, or simply Pramada, and was known for composing music as a key member of Devon Baroque and the L’Ardito Baroque Trio, small musical groups based near his hometown of Totnes in Devon, England.
A bale of hay. I can’t get it out of my head…