They aren't in the band anymore, but they are always remembered by fans for the stunning work they contributed to a brilliant group that, sadly, just doesn't get the recognition it once did.

Ray Thomas turns 70 today (December 29) and Mike Pinder turned 70 on December 27.

Ray was born in Stourport-on-Severn, England in 1941.  He retired in 2002, but the lilting sound of his flute echoes down through all the years he was with the band.  He also lent his talents as singer and composer to the Moody Blues.

Mike Pinder was born in Birmingham, England, also in 1941.  He left the Moodies back in 1978, right after the band's album, "Octave", was recorded.  But he left an indelible stamp on the band's sound.  He worked at a plant that built Mellotrons (tape replay keyboards) and made the instrument pretty much a signature sound for the band.  I ask you: where would "Nights in White Satin" be without it?

To pay homage to two amazing artists who contributed so much to a great band, here's "Gypsy (From A Strange And Distant Time)" from the album "To Our Children's Children's Children" that showcases both Ray's flute and Mike's mellotron: