Electric Light Orchestra

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Electric Light Orchestra
ELO - Time Tour 81-82.jpg
ELO performing live during their 1981 Time Tour.
From left: Jeff Lynne, Louis Clark (obscured), Kelly Groucutt, Bev Bevan, and Richard Tandy
Background information
Also known as
  • ELO
  • Jeff Lynne's ELO
Origin Birmingham, England
Years active1970–1983, 1985-1986, 2000–2001, 2014–present
Associated acts
Website jefflynneselo.com
Past members

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. [5] After Wood's departure in 1972, Lynne became the band's leader, arranging and producing every album while writing virtually all of their original material. For their initial tenure, Lynne, Bevan and keyboardist Richard Tandy were the group's only consistent members.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily from the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Birmingham Major city in the English Midlands, 2nd highest population of UK cities

Birmingham is a major city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom and the most populous city in the English Midlands. It is also the most populous metropolitan district in the United Kingdom, with an estimated 1,137,123 inhabitants, and is considered the social, cultural, financial, and commercial centre of the Midlands. It is situated within the larger West Midlands conurbation, which is the third most populated urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2,897,303 in 2017. The wider Birmingham metropolitan area is thesecond largest in the United Kingdom with a population of over 3.8 million. It is frequently referred to as both England and the United Kingdom's "second city".

Jeff Lynne British rock musician

Jeffrey Lynne is an English songwriter, singer, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist who co-founded the rock band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). The group formed in 1970 as an offshoot of the Move, of which Lynne was also a member. Following the departure of Roy Wood in 1972, Lynne assumed sole leadership of the band and wrote, arranged and produced virtually all of its subsequent records. Before, Lynne was also involved with the Idle Race as a founding member and principal songwriter.


ELO was formed out of Lynne's and Wood's desire to create modern rock and pop songs with classical overtones. It derived as an offshoot of Wood's previous band, The Move, of which Lynne and Bevan were also members. During the 1970s and 1980s, ELO released a string of top 10 albums and singles, including two LPs that reached the top of British charts: the disco-inspired Discovery (1979) and the science-fiction-themed concept album Time (1981). In 1986, Lynne lost interest in the band and disbanded the group. Bevan responded by forming his own band, ELO Part II, which later became the Orchestra. After a brief reunion from 2000–01, ELO remained largely inactive until 2014, when Lynne re-formed the band again with Tandy as Jeff Lynne's ELO. [6]

The Move British rock band

The Move were a British rock band of the late 1960s and the early 1970s. They scored nine Top 20 UK singles in five years, but were among the most popular British bands not to find any real success in the United States. Although bassist-vocalist Chris "Ace" Kefford was the original leader, for most of their career the Move was led by guitarist, singer and songwriter Roy Wood. He wrote all the group's UK singles and, from 1968, also sang lead vocals on many songs, although Carl Wayne was the main lead singer up to 1970. Initially, the band had 4 main vocalists who split the lead vocals on a number of their earlier songs.

Disco music genre

Disco is a genre of dance music and a subculture that emerged in the 1970s from the United States' urban nightlife scene.

<i>Discovery</i> (Electric Light Orchestra album) 1979 studio album by Electric Light Orchestra

Discovery is the eighth studio album by English rock band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). It was released on 31 May 1979 in the United Kingdom by Jet Records, where it topped record charts, and on 8 June in the United States on Jet through Columbia Records distribution.

During ELO's original 14-year period of active recording and touring, they sold over 50 million records worldwide, [7] and collected 19 CRIA, 21 RIAA, and 38 BPI awards. [8] [9] For a period in the mid 1970s, the band saw more success in the United States, where they were billed as "the English guys with the big fiddles". [10] From 1972 to 1986, ELO accumulated twenty seven Top 40 songs on the UK Singles Chart, and fifteen Top 20 songs on the US Billboard Hot 100. [11] [12] The band also holds the record for having the most Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hits (20) without a number one single of any band in US chart history. [13] [14] [nb 1] In 2017 the ELO line-up of Wood, Lynne, Bevan and Tandy were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [17] [18]

Recording Industry Association of America Trade organization representing the recording industry in the U.S.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a trade organization that represents the recording industry in the United States. Its members consist of record labels and distributors, which the RIAA says "create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legally sold recorded music in the United States." The RIAA headquarters is in Washington, D.C.

British Phonographic Industry Trade association of the recorded music industry in the United Kingdom

The BPI Limited, commonly known as the British Phonographic Industry or BPI, is the British recorded music industry's trade association.

UK Singles Chart British singles sales chart

The UK Singles Chart is compiled by the Official Charts Company (OCC), on behalf of the British record industry, listing the top-selling singles in the United Kingdom, based upon physical sales, paid-for downloads and streaming. The Official Chart, broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and MTV, is the UK music industry's recognised official measure of singles and albums popularity because it is the most comprehensive research panel of its kind, today surveying over 15,000 retailers and digital services daily, capturing 99.9% of all singles consumed in Britain across the week, and over 98% of albums. To be eligible for the chart, a single is currently defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as either a 'single bundle' having no more than four tracks and not lasting longer than 25 minutes or one digital audio track not longer than 15 minutes with a minimum sale price of 40 pence. The rules have changed many times as technology has developed, the most notable being the inclusion of digital downloads in 2005 and streaming in July 2014.


1970–1973: Formation and early albums

In 1968, Roy Wood — guitarist, vocalist and songwriter of The Move — had an idea to form a new band that would use violins, cellos, string basses, horns and woodwinds to give their music a classical sound, taking rock music in the direction to "pick up where The Beatles left off". [19] The orchestral instruments would be the main focus, rather than the guitars. Jeff Lynne, frontman of fellow Birmingham group The Idle Race, was excited by the concept. When Trevor Burton left The Move in February 1969, he was asked by Wood to join, only for Lynne to say no, as he was still focused on finding success with his band. But in January 1970, when Carl Wayne quit the band, Lynne accepted Wood's second invitation to join, on the condition that they focus their energy on the new project.

Roy Wood English singer-songwriter and musician

Roy Wood is an English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He was particularly successful in the 1960s and 1970s as member and co-founder of The Move, Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard. As a songwriter, he contributed a number of hits to the repertoire of these bands. Collectively, hit records by The Move, Electric Light Orchestra, Wizzard, and Wood's own solo singles demonstrated an impressive chart run for an individual, both as composer and performer. Altogether he had more than 20 singles in the UK Singles Chart under various guises, including three UK No. 1 hits.

Violin bowed string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths

The violin, sometimes known as a fiddle, is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in the family in regular use. Smaller violin-type instruments exist, including the violino piccolo and the kit violin, but these are virtually unused. The violin typically has four strings, usually tuned in perfect fifths with notes G3, D4, A4, E5, and is most commonly played by drawing a bow across its strings, though it can also be played by plucking the strings with the fingers (pizzicato) and by striking the strings with the wooden side of the bow.

Cello Bowed string musical instrument

The cello ( CHEL-oh; plural celli or cellos) or violoncello ( VY-ə-lən-CHEL-oh; Italian pronunciation: [vjolonˈtʃɛllo]) is a bowed (and occasionally plucked) string instrument of the violin family. Its four strings are usually tuned in perfect fifths: from low to high, C2, G2, D3 and A3, an octave lower than the viola. Music for the cello is generally written in the bass clef, with tenor clef and treble clef used for higher-range passages.

On 12 July 1970, when Wood added multiple cellos to a Lynne-penned song intended to be a Move B-side, the new concept became a reality and "10538 Overture" became the first Electric Light Orchestra song. The original plan was to end The Move following the release of the Looking On album at the end of 1970, crossing over to the new unit in the new year, but to help finance the fledgling band, one further Move album, Message from the Country , was also recorded during the lengthy ELO recordings and released in mid-1971. The resulting debut album The Electric Light Orchestra was released in December 1971. Only the trio of Wood, Lynne and Bevan played on all songs, with the outside help coming from Bill Hunt, who supplied the French Horn parts and Steve Woolam, who played violin. It was released in the United States in March 1972 as No Answer. The name was chosen because a record company secretary had tried to ring the UK company and get the name of the album—since they were unable to contact them they left a note saying "No answer". [20] "10538 Overture" became a UK top-ten hit. Due to both band's albums being in the stores at the same time, The Move appeared on television during this period as did ELO.

10538 Overture 1972 single by Electric Light Orchestra

"10538 Overture", released in 1972, was the first single by The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO).

<i>Looking On</i> 1970 studio album by The Move

Looking On is the third album by The Move, released in the UK in December 1970. The LP is their first to feature Jeff Lynne, their first containing entirely original compositions, and the first on the Fly label, its catalogue number being FLY 1. It includes both their 1970 singles, the Top 10 hit "Brontosaurus," released on Regal Zonophone in March, and the less successful "When Alice Comes Back To The Farm," released on Fly in October.

<i>Message from the Country</i> 1971 studio album by The Move

Message from the Country is the fourth and final album by the Move, as well as its only album for EMI's Harvest label. It was recorded while the band was morphing into the Electric Light Orchestra.

ELO's debut concert took place on 16 April 1972 at the Greyhound Pub in Croydon, Surrey, [21] with a line-up of Wood, Lynne, Bevan, Bill Hunt (keyboards/French horn), Andy Craig (cello), Mike Edwards (cello), Wilfred Gibson (violin), Hugh McDowell (cello), and Richard Tandy (bass). However, this line-up did not last for long.[ failed verification ] First Craig departed, and then Wood, during the recordings for the band's second LP. Taking Hunt and McDowell with him, Wood left the band to form Wizzard. Both cited problems with their manager, Don Arden, [22] who Wood felt failed in his role, and an unsatisfactory tour of Italy, where the cellos and violins could not be heard over the electric instruments. Despite predictions from the music press that the band would fold without Wood, who had been the driving force behind the creation of ELO, Lynne stepped up to lead the band, with Bevan, Edwards, Gibson and Tandy (who had switched from bass to keyboards to replace Hunt) remaining from the previous line-up, and new recruits Mike de Albuquerque and Colin Walker joining the band on bass and cello, respectively. [23]

Croydon town in South London, England

Croydon is a large town in southern Greater London, England, 9.4 miles (15.1 km) south of Charing Cross. The principal settlement in the London Borough of Croydon, it is one of the largest commercial districts outside Central London, with an extensive shopping district and night-time economy.

Mike Edwards (musician) musician

Mike Edwards, known as Swami Deva Pramada or simply Pramada, was an English cellist and music teacher. He was a member of the Electric Light Orchestra.

Wilfred Gibson was an English violinist, session musician, and early member of the Electric Light Orchestra.

The new line-up performed at the 1972 Reading Festival. Barcus Berry instrument pick-ups, now sported by the band's string trio, allowed them to have proper amplification on stage for their instruments, which had previously been all but drowned out by all the sound of the electrified instruments. The band released their second album, ELO 2 in early 1973, which produced their second UK top 10 and their first US chart single, an elaborate version of the Chuck Berry classic "Roll Over Beethoven" (which also incorporated the first movement of Beethoven's own Fifth Symphony). [24] ELO also made their first appearance on American Bandstand . During the recording of the third album, Gibson was let go after a dispute over money, Mik Kaminski joined as violinist and Walker left since touring was keeping him away from his family too much. Remaining cellist Edwards finished the cello parts for the album. The resulting album, On the Third Day , was released in late 1973, with the American version featuring the popular single "Showdown". After leaving Wizzard, Hugh McDowell then returned as the group's second cellist, also in late 1973.

1974–1982: Global success and concept albums

For the band's fourth album, Eldorado , a concept album about a daydreamer, Lynne stopped overdubbing strings and hired an orchestra and choir instead. Louis Clark was hired by the band as string arranger. [25] The first single off the album, "Can't Get It Out of My Head", became their first US top 10 hit, and Eldorado, A Symphony became ELO's first gold album. Mike de Albuquerque departed the band during the recording sessions as he wished to spend more time with his family, and consequently much of the bass on the album was performed by Lynne.

Following the release of Eldorado Kelly Groucutt was recruited as bassist and in early 1975, Melvyn Gale replaced Edwards on cello. The line-up stabilised as the band took to a decidedly more accessible sound. ELO had become successful in the US at this point and the group was a star attraction on the stadium and arena circuit, and regularly appeared on The Midnight Special (1973, 1975, 1976 and 1977) more than any other band in that show's history with four appearances.

Face the Music was released in 1975, producing the hit singles "Evil Woman", their third UK top 10, and "Strange Magic". [24] The opening instrumental "Fire on High", with its mix of strings and acoustic guitars, saw heavy exposure as the theme music for the American television program CBS Sports Spectacular in the mid-1970s. The group toured extensively from 3 February to 13 April 1976, playing 68 shows in 76 days in the US.

Their sixth album, the platinum selling A New World Record , became their first UK top ten album when it was released in 1976. [24] It contained the hit singles "Livin' Thing", "Telephone Line", "Rockaria!" and "Do Ya", the latter a re-recording of a Move song recorded for that group's final single. The band toured in support in the US only from September 1976 to April 1977 with a break in December, then an American Music Awards show appearance on 31 January 1977, [26] plus a one-off gig in San Diego in August 1977. Casey Kasem said that the Electric Light Orchestra is the "World's first touring rock 'n' roll chamber group" before he played "Livin' Thing" at #28. [27]

A New World Record was followed by a multi-platinum selling album, the double-LP Out of the Blue , in 1977. Out of the Blue featured the singles "Turn to Stone", "Sweet Talkin' Woman", "Mr. Blue Sky", and "Wild West Hero", each becoming a hit in the United Kingdom. The band then set out on a nine-month, 92-date world tour, with an enormous set and a hugely expensive space ship stage with fog machines and a laser display. In the United States the concerts were billed as The Big Night and were their largest to date, with 62,000 people seeing them at Cleveland Stadium. [28] The Big Night went on to become the highest-grossing live concert tour in music history up to that point (1978). [29] The band played at London's Wembley Arena for eight straight sold-out nights during the tour, another record at that time.

In 1979, the multi-platinum album Discovery was released, reaching number one on the UK Albums Chart. [24] Although the biggest hit on the album (and ELO's biggest hit overall) was the rock song "Don't Bring Me Down", the album was noted for its heavy disco influence. Discovery also produced the hits "Shine a Little Love", their first and only no. 1 hit from 1972 to the present with any of the 4 major or minor US singles charts on Radio & Records (R&R) , [30] [31] "Last Train to London", "Confusion" and "The Diary of Horace Wimp". Another song, "Midnight Blue", was released as a single in Southeast Asia. The band recorded promotional videos for all the songs on the album.

ELO performing live in Oslo, Norway, in 1978 Elo 27041978 04 800.jpg
ELO performing live in Oslo, Norway, in 1978

By the end of 1979, ELO had reached the peak of their stardom, selling millions of albums and singles, and even inspiring a parody/tribute song on the Randy Newman album Born Again , titled "The Story of a Rock and Roll Band". During 1979 Jeff Lynne also turned down an invitation for ELO to headline the August 1979 Knebworth Festival concerts. That allowed Led Zeppelin the chance to headline instead.

In 1980, Jeff Lynne was asked to write for the soundtrack of the musical film Xanadu , with the other half written by John Farrar and performed by the film's star Olivia Newton-John. The movie performed poorly at the box office, but the soundtrack did exceptionally well, eventually going double platinum. The album spawned hit singles from both Newton-John ("Magic", a #1 hit in the United States, and "Suddenly" with Cliff Richard) and ELO ("I'm Alive", which went gold, "All Over the World" and "Don't Walk Away"). The title track, performed by both Newton-John and ELO, is ELO's only song to top the singles chart in the United Kingdom. [32] More than a quarter of a century later, Xanadu , a Broadway musical, based on the film, opened on 10 July 2007 at the Helen Hayes Theatre to uniformly good reviews. It received 4 Tony Award nominations. The musical received its UK premiere in London in October 2015. [33] Casey Kasem called The Electric Light Orchestra a "7-man supergroup" and "amazing" for hitting The Top 40 a remarkable 6 times in a one-year period from August 1979 to August 1980 before playing "All Over the World" at #23 [34]

In 1981, ELO's sound changed again with the science fiction concept album Time , a throwback to earlier, more progressive rock albums like Eldorado. With the string section now departed, synthesisers took a dominating role, as was the trend in the larger music scene of the time; although studio strings were present on some of the tracks conducted by Rainer Pietsch, the overall soundscape had a more electronic feel in keeping with the futuristic nature of the album. Time topped the UK charts for two weeks and was the last ELO studio album to be certified platinum in the United Kingdom until Alone in the Universe in 2015. Singles from the album included "Hold On Tight", "Twilight", "The Way Life's Meant to Be", "Here Is the News" and "Ticket to the Moon". The band embarked on their last world tour to promote the LP. For the tour Kaminski returned to the line-up on violin, whilst Louis Clark (synthesizers) and Dave Morgan (guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, vocals) also joined the on stage lineup. Clark had previously handled string arrangements for the band.

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

ELO performing in 1986 (Jeff Lynne and Richard Tandy pictured) Electric Light Orchestra (1986).jpg
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 and 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 .

Lynne and Tandy also recorded 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 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. 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.

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 , [36] Solid Gold , then at Disneyland that summer. [37] The Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986 was a charity concert organised by Bevan in ELO's hometown of Birmingham on 15 March 1986. [38] 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. 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.

ELO Part II in concert Electric Light Orchestra 3.jpg
ELO Part II in concert

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. ELO Part II released their debut album Electric Light Orchestra Part Two in May 1991. Mik Kaminski, Kelly Groucutt and Hugh McDowell joined the band for the first tour in 1991. McDowell left after that tour. Bevan, Groucutt, Kaminski and Clark recorded a second album, Moment of Truth , in 1994 and toured extensively until 1999. Bevan retired from the line-up in 1999 and sold his share of the ELO name to Jeff Lynne in 2000. After Bevan left, the band continued after they changed its name to 'The Orchestra'.

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. [39] 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 , twas 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). But the planned tour was cancelled. [40]

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

The Orchestra during a performance in 2013 Electric Light Orchestra in 2013 on Stage.jpg
The Orchestra during a performance in 2013

For the next six years, 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). [41] The US had a slightly edited release on 24 August 2010. [42] 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. [43]

Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra was released on 8 October 2012. It is an album of new recordings of ELO's greatest hits by Lynne; along with a new song "Point of No Return", released to coincide with Lynne's second solo album release Long Wave . [44] These new 2012 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. [45]

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. [46]

2014–present: Jeff Lynne's ELO

Jeff Lynne's ELO performing at Hyde Park, September 2014 Jefflynne hydepark.jpg
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 [47] 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 ELO for promoting their own tours. [48] Chereene Allen [46] was 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. [49]

On 8 February 2015, Jeff Lynne's ELO played at the Grammy Awards for the first time. [50] 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". [51]

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. [52] Alone in the Universe was released on 13 November 2015. The album was ELO's first album of new material in nearly 15 years. [53] 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. [53] A small promotional tour followed the album's release which saw ELO perform a full concert for BBC Radio 2 along with ELO's first two shows in the United States in 30 years, both which sold out very quickly. ELO also made rare US television appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon , Jimmy Kimmel Live and CBS This Morning . [54] A 19-date European tour was announced for 2016, [55] with the band playing the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival on 26 June 2016. [56]

In 2017 they played their "Alone in the Universe" tour. [57] [58] 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. [59]

The band continued to tour in 2018 and performed at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony during the handover presentation of Birmingham 2022 joining rapper Lady Sanity. [60]

On 22 October 2018 Lynne announced that ELO would embark on a 2019 North American tour from June to August 2019. [61]

ELO keyboardist Richard Tandy last toured with the group in 2016.

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." [62]

In November 2016, Jeff Lynne's ELO won Band of the Year at the Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards. [63] In October 2016, ELO were nominated for the 2017 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the first time. [64] 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. [65] On 20 December 2016, it was announced ELO had been elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2017. [17]


Current members

Current live members (Jeff Lynne's ELO)

  • Mike Stevens – musical director, guitar, backing vocals (2014–present)
  • Milton McDonald – lead guitar, backing vocals (2014–present)
  • Lee Pomeroy – bass guitar, backing vocals (2014–present)
  • Donavan Hepburn – drums (2014–present)
  • Marcus Byrne – keyboards (2014–2017); piano, vocoder (2017-present)
  • Jo Webb – keyboards (2017-present)
  • Steve Turner – keyboards (2018-present)
  • Iain Hornal – backing vocals, guitar (2014–present)
  • Melanie Lewis-McDonald – backing vocals (2014–present)
  • Amy Langley – cello (2016–present)
  • Jess Cox – cello (2016–present)
  • Jessie Murphy – violin (2019–present)

Former members

  • Richard Tandy – piano, keyboards, synthesisers, bass, guitar, backing vocals (1972–1983, 1985-1986, 2000–2001, 2014-2016)
  • Bev Bevan – drums, percussion, vocals (1970–1983, 1985-1986)
  • Roy Wood – lead and backing vocals, guitar, bass, cello, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, recorder (1970–1972)
  • Rick Price – bass guitar (1970) (recorded the original bass lines for '10538 Overture', however this was deleted & re-done by Wood)
  • Bill Hunt – keyboards, French horn, hunting horn (1971–1972)
  • Steve Woolam – violin (1971; died 1971)
  • Andy Craig – cello (1971–1972)
  • Hugh McDowell – cello (1972, 1973–1979; died 2018)
  • Mike Edwards – cello (1972–1975; died 2010)
  • Wilfred Gibson – violin (1972–1973; died 2014)
  • Mike de Albuquerque – bass guitar, backing vocals (1972–1974)
  • Colin Walker – cello (1972–1973)
  • Mik Kaminski – violin (1973–1979)
  • Kelly Groucutt – bass guitar, backing and lead vocals (1974–1983; died 2009)
  • Melvyn Gale – cello (1975–1979) [66]

Former live members

  • Mik Kaminski – violin (1981–1982, 1986) (also appeared in music videos during this period)
  • Louis Clark – synthesisers, keyboards (1981–1982, 1986)
  • Dave Morgan – synthesisers, acoustic guitar, backing vocals (1981–1982, 1986)
  • Martin Smith – bass (1986)
  • Peggy Baldwin – cello (2000–2001)
  • Gregg Bissonette – drums, backing vocals (2000–2001)
  • Matt Bissonette – bass guitar, backing vocals (2000–2001)
  • Marc Mann – guitars, keyboards, backing vocals (2000–2001)
  • Sarah O'Brien – cello (2000–2001)
  • Rosie Vela – backing vocals (2000–2001)
  • Mick Wilson – percussion, backing vocals (2014)
  • Chereene Allen – violin (2014)
  • Bernie Smith – keyboards (2014–2017)
  • Rosie Langley – violin (2016–2018)


  • Rick Payne – cello (1971) [67] (intended to be a live cellist but never played live with E.L.O.)
  • Mike Atkins – cello (1971) (intended to be a live cellist but never played live with E.L.O.)
  • Trevor Smith – cello (1971–1972) (intended to be a live cellist but never played live with E.L.O.)
  • Rick Pannell - cello, sound engineer (1972–1974) (pretended to play cello during TV appearances)
  • Louis Clark – conductor, arranger (1974–1979, 1983) [nb 2]
  • Rainer Pietsch – conductor, arranger (1981)


Electric Light Orchestra

Touring member timeline

Electric Light Orchestra


PersonnelStudio albums/Tours
January 1970 – July 1970
  • Recording of 10538 Overture only (Price's bass part later re-recorded by Wood)
July 1970 – June 1971
  • Roy Wood - vocals, guitar, bass, cello, oboe
  • Jeff Lynne - vocals, guitar, piano, Moog synthesizer, bass
  • Bev Bevan - drums
  • Bill Hunt - brass
  • Steve Woolam - violin
January 1972 – July 1972
  • Promotional tours
August 1972 – July 1973
  • Jeff Lynne - vocals, guitar
  • Bev Bevan - drums
  • Richard Tandy - piano, Moog synthesizer
  • Mike de Albuquerque - bass, backing vocals
  • Wilfred Gibson - violin
  • Colin Walker - cello
  • Mike Edwards - cello
  • ELO 2 , January 1973
  • ELO 2 tour, 1973
July 1973 – September 1973
  • Jeff Lynne - vocals, guitar
  • Bev Bevan - drums
  • Richard Tandy - piano, Moog synthesizer
  • Mike de Albuquerque - bass, backing vocals
  • Mik Kaminski - violin
  • Mike Edwards - cello
  • On the Third Day , November 1973
  • On the Third Day (Do it with the Light on) tour, 1973
September 1973 – August 1974
  • Jeff Lynne - vocals, guitar
  • Bev Bevan - drums
  • Richard Tandy - piano, Moog synthesizer
  • Mike de Albuquerque - bass, backing vocals
  • Mik Kaminski - violin
  • Mike Edwards - cello
  • Hugh McDowell - cello
August 1974 – December 1974
  • Jeff Lynne - vocals, guitar
  • Bev Bevan - drums
  • Richard Tandy - piano, Moog synthesizer
  • Kelly Groucutt - bass, backing vocals
  • Mik Kaminski - violin
  • Mike Edwards - cello
  • Hugh McDowell - cello
  • First half of Eldorado tour, 1974
January 1975 – January 1980 (classic line-up)
  • Jeff Lynne - vocals, guitar
  • Bev Bevan - drums
  • Richard Tandy - piano, Moog synthesizer
  • Kelly Groucutt - vocals, bass
  • Mik Kaminski - violin
  • Melvyn Gale - cello
  • Hugh McDowell - cello
  • Second half of Eldorado tour, 1975
  • Face the Music , September 1975
  • Face the Music tour, 1975 - 1976
  • A New World Record , September 1976
  • A New World Record tour, 1977
  • Out of the Blue , October 1977
  • Out of the Blue (The Big Night) tour, 1978
  • Discovery *, May 1979
  • Discovery (Music Video), 1979
January 1980 – September 1981
  • Jeff Lynne - vocals, guitar
  • Bev Bevan - drums
  • Richard Tandy - piano, Moog synthesizer
  • Kelly Groucutt - vocals, bass
September 1981 – March 1982
  • Jeff Lynne - vocals, guitar
  • Bev Bevan - drums
  • Richard Tandy - piano, Moog synthesizer, Yamaha CS-80, Oberheim OB-Xa
  • Kelly Groucutt - vocals, bass

touring members:

  • Time tour, 1981 - 1982
March 1982 – February 1983
  • Jeff Lynne - vocals, guitar
  • Bev Bevan - drums
  • Richard Tandy - piano, Moog synthesizer, Yamaha CS-80, Oberheim OB-Xa
  • Kelly Groucutt - vocals, bass
1984 – July 1986
  • Jeff Lynne - vocals, guitar, bass
  • Bev Bevan - drums
  • Richard Tandy - piano, Moog synthesizer

touring members:

  • Mik Kaminski - violin
  • Louis Clark - string synthesizer
  • Dave Morgan - acoustic guitar, backing vocals
  • Martin Smith - bass, backing vocals

* Mik Kaminski, Hugh McDowell and Melvyn Gale did not perform on the Discovery album in any capacity but were still officially part of the band until the release of the Discovery music video where they were officially dismissed around January 1980. [68]


Studio albums
Soundtrack album


  1. The band did reach #1 on the Radio & Records chart with "Shine a Little Love" in 1979. [15] [16]
  2. Eldorado marks the first album on which Jeff Lynne hired an orchestra; on previous albums, Lynne would overdub the strings. Louis Clark co-arranged (with Lynne and keyboardist Richard Tandy) and conducted the strings, and would eventually go on to become a full member of the band. - David Wild, "The Story of a Rock and Roll Band and the Pop Genius Who Dared to Go Baroque.", Flashback, Electric Light Orchestra box set from 2000.

Related Research Articles

<i>Face the Music</i> (Electric Light Orchestra album) 1975 studio album by Electric Light Orchestra

Face the Music is the fifth studio album by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). It was released in September 1975 by United Artists Records and on 14 November 1975 in the United Kingdom by Jet Records. The album moves away from the large-scale classical orchestrated sound from the previous album, Eldorado, in favor of more "radio-friendly" rock/pop songs, though the string sections are still very prominent. The new sound proved successful for the group as Face the Music was the first ELO album to go platinum.

<i>On the Third Day</i> 1973 studio album by Electric Light Orchestra

On the Third Day is the third studio album by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), and the first to be recorded without input from Roy Wood. It was released in the United States in November 1973 by United Artists Records, and in the United Kingdom on 14 December 1973 by Warner Bros. Records. From this album on, the word The was dropped from the band's name. The album was reissued on 12 September 2006.

<i>ELO 2</i> 1973 studio album by Electric Light Orchestra

ELO 2 is the eponymous second studio album by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), released in 1973. In the US, the album was released as Electric Light Orchestra II. It was also the last album to be released by the band under the Harvest label, the last where the band used the definite article The on its name and introduced their abbreviated name ELO.

<i>Zoom</i> (Electric Light Orchestra album) 2001 studio album by Electric Light Orchestra

Zoom is the twelfth studio album by British symphonic rock band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), released on 12 June 2001 on Epic Records. It was the first official ELO album since 1986's Balance of Power.

<i>Balance of Power</i> (album) 1986 studio album by Electric Light Orchestra

Balance of Power is the eleventh studio album by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) released in 1986. It is the final album by the band to feature co-founder Bev Bevan on drums, as well as the last album to feature keyboardist Richard Tandy in an official capacity.

<i>ELOs Greatest Hits</i> 1979 greatest hits album by Electric Light Orchestra

ELO's Greatest Hits is a compilation by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), released in 1979.

<i>Flashback</i> (Electric Light Orchestra album) 2000 box set by Electric Light Orchestra

Flashback is the second box set compilation by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), released in November 2000 in the US and the following month in the UK.

<i>Strange Magic: The Best of Electric Light Orchestra</i> 1995 greatest hits album by Electric Light Orchestra

Strange Magic: The Best of Electric Light Orchestra is a compilation album by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), released in 1995 only in the US.

Showdown (Electric Light Orchestra song) song written by Jeff Lynne and recorded by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)

"Showdown" is a 1973 song written by Jeff Lynne and recorded by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). It was the band's last contemporary recording to be released on the Harvest label. It was released as a single and reached No 12 in the UK Singles Chart and No 9 on the Norwegian chart VG-lista.

Ticket to the Moon Electric light orchestra

"Ticket to the Moon" is a popular song written by Jeff Lynne and performed by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO).

<i>Showdown</i> (Electric Light Orchestra album) 1974 compilation album by Electric Light Orchestra

Showdown is an Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) compilation album, covering their Harvest Records years. It is the first in a very long line of Electric Light Orchestra compilation albums. It was also the first time the hit single "Showdown" featured on an album in the UK.

ELO Part II English rock/pop band

ELO Part II were a band formed by Electric Light Orchestra drummer and co-founder Bev Bevan. The band also included former ELO bassist Kelly Groucutt, and violinist Mik Kaminski for most of its career, along with conductor Louis Clark who toured as a guest with ELO in its later years.

<i>Live at Wembley 78</i> 1998 live album by Electric Light Orchestra

Live at Wembley '78 is a live recording by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). Edited in length as was the VHS/DVD version.

<i>Zoom Tour Live</i> live album by Electric Light Orchestra

Zoom Tour Live was a one-off concert performed by the Electric Light Orchestra recorded originally for television, later released as a film.

<i>Eldorado</i> (Electric Light Orchestra album) 1974 studio album by Electric Light Orchestra

Eldorado is the fourth studio album by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). It was released in the United States in September 1974 by United Artists Records and in the United Kingdom in October 1974 by Warner Bros. Records.

<i>The Electric Light Orchestra</i> (album) 1971 debut studio album by Electric Light Orchestra

The Electric Light Orchestra is the eponymous debut studio album by English rock band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), released in December 1971 in the United Kingdom by Harvest Records. In the United States, the album was released in March 1972 as No Answer, after a misunderstood telephone message made by a United Artists Records executive asking about the album name; the caller, having failed to reach the ELO contact, wrote down "no answer" in his notes, and this was misconstrued to be the name of the album.

Nightrider (song) single by Electric Light Orchestra

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Light Years, The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra is a two CD compilation album by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO).

<i>ELO – Total Rock Review</i> 2006 video by Electric Light Orchestra

ELO – Total Rock Review is a Band biography DVD released in 2006 regarding the founding of Electric Light Orchestra.

<i>The BBC Sessions</i> (Electric Light Orchestra album) 1999 live album by Electric Light Orchestra

The BBC Sessions is a live compilation album of the British progressive rock band Electric Light Orchestra. The sessions were recorded at the BBC's Langham 1 studio and later broadcast on BBC program In session with Bob Harris. The dates they were recorded/transmitted are:


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Further reading