Ray Thomas is, along with Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson, Men at Work's Greg Ham, and Mel Collins and Ian McDonald of King Crimson, one of a handful of well-known flute players in rock music -- the main difference is that he was there first, as a founding member of the Moody Blues in the early '60s, and as a singer and songwriter within the band. Born in Stourport on Severn, he attended the Paget Road Secondary Modern School and seemed destined for a life as an engineer and industrial toolmaker. Music always figured in his life, however, starting before his teens when he joined the Birmingham Youth Choir. He aspired to play the flute in part from the influence of one of his grandfathers, who was a virtuoso player on the instrument. He continued singing and later, in tandem with the growing influence of American music in England, took up the harmonica.