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Electric Light Orchestra

Band from Birmingham

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Mr Blue Sky

Electric Light Orchestra

Electric Light Orchestra Biography

The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) are an English rock band formed in Birmingham in 1970 by songwriters-multi-instrumentalists Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood with drummer Bev Bevan. Their music is characterised by a fusion of Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements and futuristic iconography. After Wood's departure in 1972, Lynne became the band's sole leader, arranging and producing every album while writing nearly all of their original material. For their initial tenure, Lynne, Bevan and keyboardist Richard Tandy were the group's only consistent members.History 1983–1986: Secret Messages, Balance of Power, disbanding ELO performing in 1986 (Jeff Lynne and Richard Tandy pictured) Jeff Lynne ...
The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) are an English rock band formed in Birmingham in 1970 by songwriters-multi-instrumentalists Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood with drummer Bev Bevan. Their music is characterised by a fusion of Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements and futuristic iconography. After Wood's departure in 1972, Lynne became the band's sole leader, arranging and producing every album while writing nearly all of their original material. For their initial tenure, Lynne, Bevan and keyboardist Richard Tandy were the group's only consistent members.


1983–1986: Secret Messages, Balance of Power, disbanding

ELO performing in 1986 (Jeff Lynne and Richard Tandy pictured)

Jeff Lynne wanted to follow Time with a double album, but CBS blocked his plan on the grounds that a double vinyl album would be too expensive in the oil crisis and not sell as well as a single record, so as a result, the new album was edited down from double album to a single disc and released as Secret Messages in 1983 (many of the out-takes were later released on Afterglow or as b-sides of singles). The album was a hit in the UK reaching the top 5; but its release was undermined by a string of bad news that there would be no tour to promote the LP. Lynne, discouraged by the dwindling crowds on the Time tour, CBS's order to cut Secret Messages down to one disc, and his falling out with manager Don Arden (he would eventually leave Arden and Jet by 1985), decided to end ELO in late 1983. Drummer Bevan moved on to play drums for Black Sabbath and bassist Groucutt, unhappy with no touring income that year, decided to sue Lynne and Jet Records in November 1983, eventually resulting in a settlement for the sum of £300,000 (equivalent to £994,300 in 2018). Secret Messages debuted at number four in the United Kingdom, but it fell off the charts, failing to catch fire with a lack of hit singles in the UK (though "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" was a sizeable hit in UK, the US and Australia) and a lukewarm media response.[citation needed]

That same year, Lynne moved into production work, having already produced two tracks for Dave Edmunds' album Information, and he would go on to produce six cuts from his next one, Riff Raff, in 1984 and one cut on the Everly Brothers reunion album EB 84. He also composed a track for former ABBA member Agnetha Fältskog's 1985 album Eyes of a Woman.

Lynne and Tandy went on to record tracks for the 1984 Electric Dreams soundtrack under Lynne's name; however, Lynne was contractually obliged to make one more ELO album. So Lynne, Bevan and Tandy returned to the studio in 1984 and 1985 as a three-piece (with Christian Schneider playing saxophone on some tracks and Lynne again doubling on bass in addition to his usual guitar in the absence of an official bass player) to record Balance of Power, released early in 1986 after some delays. Though the single "Calling America" placed in the Top 30 in the United Kingdom (number 28) and Top 20 in the States, subsequent singles failed to chart. The album lacked actual classical strings, which were replaced once again by synthesizers, played by Tandy and Lynne. However, despite being a 3-piece, much of the album was made by Lynne alone, with Tandy and Bevan giving their additions later.

The band was then rejoined by Kaminski, Clark and Morgan, adding Martin Smith on bass guitar, and proceeded to perform a small number of live ELO performances in 1986, including shows in England and Germany along with US appearances on American Bandstand, Solid Gold, then at Disneyland that summer. The Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986 was a charity concert organised by Bevan in ELO's hometown of Birmingham on 15 March 1986, and ELO performed. A hint of Lynne's future was seen when George Harrison appeared onstage during the encore at Heartbeat, joining in the all-star jam of "Johnny B. Goode". ELO's last performance for several years occurred on 13 July 1986 in Stuttgart, Germany playing as opening act to Rod Stewart. With Lynne no longer under contractual obligation to attend further scheduled performances, ELO effectively disbanded after that final show in Stuttgart in 1986, but there was no announcement made of it for the next two years, during which George Harrison's Lynne-produced album Cloud Nine and the pair's follow-up (with Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty as Traveling Wilburys) Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 were released.

1989–1999: ELO Part II

ELO Part II in concert

Bev Bevan (under an agreement with Lynne, who co-owned the ELO name with him) continued on in 1989 as ELO Part II, initially with no other former ELO members, but with ELO's main orchestra conductor, Louis Clark. Bevan also recruited Eric Troyer, Pete Haycock, and Neil Lockwood. ELO Part II released their debut album Electric Light Orchestra Part Two in May 1991. Mik Kaminski, Kelly Groucutt and Hugh McDowell, at the time working in a group called OrKestra, joined the group for their first tour in 1991. While McDowell did not stay, Groucutt and Kaminski became fully-fledged members. In 1994, after the departure of Haycock and Lockwood, the remaining five recorded Moment of Truth with their newest member, Phil Bates. This lineup toured extensively up to 1999. Bevan retired from the lineup in 1999 and sold his share of the ELO name to Jeff Lynne in 2000, after Lynne had expressed his dismay that in certain areas the band were billed as 'ELO', rather than with '...Part II' added, suggesting it was the original outfit. After Bevan left, the band continued after they changed its name to The Orchestra. In 2001 The Orchestra would release their debut album No Rewind.

2000–2001: Reformation

Lynne's comeback with ELO began in 2000 with the release of a retrospective box set, Flashback, containing three CDs of remastered tracks and a handful of out-takes and unfinished works, most notably a new version of ELO's only UK number one hit "Xanadu". In 2001 Zoom, ELO's first album since 1986, was released. Though billed and marketed as an ELO album, the only returning member other than Lynne was Tandy, who performed on one track. Guest musicians included former Beatles Ringo Starr and George Harrison. Upon completion of the album, Lynne reformed the band with completely new members, including his then-girlfriend Rosie Vela (who had released her own album, Zazu, in 1986) and announced that ELO would tour again. Former ELO member Tandy rejoined the band a short time afterwards for two television live performances: VH1 Storytellers and a PBS concert shot at CBS Television City, later titled Zoom Tour Live and released on DVD. Besides Lynne, Tandy and Vela, the new live ELO lineup included Gregg Bissonette (drums, backing vocals), Matt Bissonette (bass guitar, backing vocals), Marc Mann (guitars, keyboards, backing vocals), Peggy Baldwin (cello), and Sarah O'Brien (cello). However, the planned tour was cancelled, reportedly due to poor ticket sales.

2001–2013: Non-performing work, reissues and miniature reunions

The Orchestra during a performance in 2013

From 2001 to 2007, Harvest and Epic/Legacy reissued ELO's back catalogue. Included amongst the remastered album tracks were unreleased songs and outtakes, including two new singles. The first was "Surrender" which registered on the lower end of the UK Singles Chart at number 81, some 30 years after it was written in 1976. The other single was "Latitude 88 North".

On 9 August 2010, Eagle Rock Entertainment released Live – The Early Years in the UK as a DVD compilation that included Fusion – Live in London (1976) along with never before released live performances at Brunel University (1973) and on a German TV show Rockpalast (1974). The US had a slightly edited release on 24 August 2010. The Essential Electric Light Orchestra artwork was re-jigged to feature two different covers. The US and Australian releases shared one design, while the rest of the world featured the other for a new double album release in October 2011.

Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra was released on 8 October 2012. It is an album of re-recordings of ELO's greatest hits, performed by Lynne exclusively, along with a new song titled "Point of No Return". Released to coincide with Lynne's second solo album release Long Wave, these new albums contained advertisement cards, announcing the re-release of expanded and remastered versions of both the 2001 album Zoom and Lynne's debut solo album Armchair Theatre, originally released in 1990. Both albums were re-released in April 2013 with various bonus tracks. Also released was the live album, Electric Light Orchestra Live, showcasing songs from the Zoom tour. All three releases also featured new studio recordings as bonus tracks.

Lynne and Tandy reunited again on 12 November 2013 to perform, under the name Jeff Lynne and Friends, "Livin' Thing" and "Mr. Blue Sky" at the Children in Need Rocks concert at Hammersmith Eventim Apollo, London. The backing orchestra was the BBC Concert Orchestra, with Chereene Allen on lead violin.

2014–present: Jeff Lynne's ELO

Jeff Lynne's ELO performing at Hyde Park, September 2014

The success of the Children in Need performance was followed by support from BBC Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans, who had Lynne as his on-air guest and asked his listeners if they wanted to see ELO perform. The 50,000 tickets for the resulting BBC Radio 2's "Festival in a Day" in Hyde Park on 14 September 2014 sold out in 15 minutes. Billed as "Jeff Lynne's ELO", Lynne and Tandy were backed by the Take That/Gary Barlow band from the Children in Need concert, led by Mike Stevens and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Lynne chose to use the name as a response to ELO offshoot, tribute and imitation bands, (ELO Part II, The Orchestra, OrKestra and the Music of ELO) who repeatedly used the ELO name for promoting their own tours, justified or not. Chereene Allen was again the lead violinist for the band. The development of modern digital processing added a smoother finish to the work, which led Lynne to reconsider his preference for studio work, hinting at a UK tour in 2015.

On 8 February 2015, Jeff Lynne's ELO played at the Grammy Awards for the first time. They performed a medley of "Evil Woman" and "Mr. Blue Sky" with Ed Sheeran, who introduced them as "A man and a band who I love".

On 10 September 2015, it was announced that a new ELO album would be released. The album was to be under the moniker of Jeff Lynne's ELO, with the band signed to Columbia Records. Alone in the Universe was released on 13 November 2015. The album was ELO's first album of new material since 2001's Zoom. The first track, and single, "When I Was a Boy" was made available for streaming on the same day and a music video for the song was also released. A small promotional tour followed the album's release which saw Jeff Lynne's ELO perform a full concert for BBC Radio 2 along with their first two shows in the United States in 30 years, both which sold out very quickly. Jeff Lynne's ELO also made rare US television appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live and CBS This Morning. A 19-date European tour was announced for 2016, with the band playing the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival on 26 June 2016.

In 2017 they played their "Alone in the Universe" tour. That same year, on 7 April, they played at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as they were inducted during the 32nd Annual Induction Ceremony.

The band continued to tour in 2018 in North America and Europe. A video was created for the City of Birmingham which used the original recording of "Mr. Blue Sky" as its music; this was played at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony during the handover presentation of Birmingham 2022.

On 3 August 2018, Secret Messages was reissued "as originally conceived" as a double album. It included several cut tracks, such as the CD exclusive bonus track "Time After Time", B-side exclusives "Buildings Have Eyes" and "After All", the Afterglow exclusives "Mandalay" and "Hello My Old Friend", and the 2001 reissue exclusives "Endless Lies" and "No Way Out".

On 22 October 2018 Lynne announced that Jeff Lynne's ELO would embark on a 2019 North American tour from June to August 2019.

ELO released their 14th album, From Out of Nowhere, on 1 November 2019. While a tour from the album was announced to begin in October 2020, the official Jeff Lynne's ELO Twitter page then later announced that the tour was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legacy and influence

According to music journalist Simon Price, ELO was "arguably the most uncool, even defiantly anti-cool, of the lot and have been the slowest to be rehabilitated since ... They've been sampled by dozens upon dozens of acts, from Company Flow to the Pussycat Dolls, if you go looking. Every now and then in my journalistic career, it's been possible to coax a contemporary band to admit to an ELO influence; the Flaming Lips and Super Furry Animals being two examples. But the band with arguably, the greatest amount of ELO DNA are outside the rock genre altogether: Daft Punk."

In November 2016, Jeff Lynne's ELO won Band of the Year at the Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards. In October 2016, ELO were nominated for the 2017 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the first time. It was the first time the Hall had announced in advance the members of bands who would be inducted; the members of ELO listed were Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, Bev Bevan and Richard Tandy. On 20 December 2016, it was announced ELO had been elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2017.


Principal members

  • Jeff Lynne – vocals, guitars, bass, piano, keyboards, cello, drums, percussion (1970–1983, 1985–1986, 2000–2001, 2014–present)
  • Roy Wood – vocals, guitars, bass, cello, oboe, bassoon (1970–1972)
  • Bev Bevan – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1970–1983, 1985–1986)
  • Richard Tandy – piano, keyboards, synthesizer, bass, guitar, backing vocals (1972–1983, 1985–1986, 2000–2001, 2014–2016, 2019–present)

Source : Wikipedia
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Electric Light Orchestra Discography

  • 1980AlbumXanadu (From the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  • 1990AlbumNo Answer
  • 2001AlbumZoom
  • 2005AlbumAll Over the World: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra
  • 2011AlbumThe Essential: Electric Light Orchestra
  • 2012AlbumMr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra
  • 2013AlbumElectric Light Orchestra Live
  • 2014AlbumFlashback
  • 2015AlbumA New World Record
  • 2015AlbumAlone In the Universe
  • 2015AlbumAlone In the Universe (Bonus Track Version)
  • 2015AlbumBalance of Power
  • 2015AlbumDiscovery
  • 2015AlbumEldorado
  • 2015AlbumElectric Light Orchestra II
  • 2015AlbumFace the Music
  • 2015AlbumOn the Third Day
  • 2015AlbumOut of the Blue
  • 2015AlbumSecret Messages
  • 2015AlbumThe Collection
  • 2015AlbumTime
  • 2017AlbumWembley or Bust (Live)
  • 2019AlbumFrom Out Of Nowhere
  • 2021SingleKAPTEENI
  • 2021SingleSwish
  • 2021AlbumVocoder
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