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Electric Light Orchestra

The Electric Light Orchestra's ambitious yet irresistible fusion of Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements, and futuristic iconography rocketed the group to massive commercial success throughout the 1970s. ELO was formed in Birmingham, England in the autumn of 1970 from the ashes of the eccentric art-pop combo the Move, reuniting frontman Roy Wood with guitarist/composer Jeff Lynne, bassist Rick Price, and drummer Bev Bevan. Announcing their intentions to "pick up where 'I Am the Walrus' left off," the quartet sought to embellish their engagingly melodic rock with classical flourishes, tapping French horn player Bill Hunt and violinist Steve Woolam to record their self-titled debut LP (issued as No Answer in the U.S.). In the months between the sessions for the album and its eventual release, the Move embarked on their farewell tour, with Woolam exiting the ELO lineup prior to the enlistment of violinist Wilf Gibson, bassist Richard Tandy, and cellists Andy Craig and Hugh McDowell; despite the lengthy delay, Electric Light Orchestra sold strongly, buoyed by the success of the U.K. Top Ten hit "10538 Overture."

However, Wood soon left ELO to form Wizzard, taking Hunt and McDowell with him; Price and Craig were soon out as well, and with the additions of bassist Michael D'Albuquerque, keyboardist Richard Tandy, and cellists Mike Edwards and Colin Walker, Lynne assumed vocal duties, with his Lennonesque tenor proving the ideal complement to his increasingly sophisticated melodies. With 1973's ELO II, the group returned to the Top Ten with their grandiose cover of the Chuck Berry chestnut "Roll Over Beethoven"; the record was also their first American hit, with 1974's Eldorado yielding their first U.S. Top Ten, the lovely "Can't Get It Out of My Head." Despite Electric Light Orchestra's commercial success, the band remained relatively faceless; the lineup changed constantly, with sole mainstays Lynne and Bevan preferring to let their elaborate stage shows and omnipresent spaceship imagery instead serve as the group's public persona. 1975's Face the Music went gold, generating the hits "Evil Woman" and "Strange Magic," while the follow-up, A New World Record, sold five million copies internationally thanks to standouts like "Telephone Line" and "Livin' Thing."

The platinum-selling double-LP, Out of the Blue, appeared in 1977, although the record's success was tempered somewhat by a lawsuit filed by Electric Light Orchestra against their former distributor, United Artists, whom the band charged flooded the market with defective copies of the album. Columbia distributed the remainder of the group's output, issued through their own Jet Records imprint, beginning with 1979's Discovery, which notched the Top Ten entries "Shine a Little Love" and "Don't Bring Me Down." In the wake of ELO's best-selling Greatest Hits compilation, Lynne wrote several songs for the soundtrack of the Olivia Newton-John film Xanadu, including the hit title track. The next proper Electric Light Orchestra album, 1981's Time, generated their final Top Ten hit, "Hold on Tight." Following 1983's Secret Messages, Bevan left the group to join Black Sabbath, although he returned to the fold for 1986's Balance of Power, which despite the presence of the Top 20 hit "Calling America," received little interest from fans and media alike.

However, as Electric Light Orchestra's career descended, Lynne emerged as a sought-after producer, helming well-received comebacks from George Harrison (1987's Cloud Nine) and Roy Orbison (1989's Mystery Girl) and additionally re-teaming with both rock legends as well as Bob Dylan and Tom Petty in the hit supergroup the Traveling Wilburys. Lynne made his solo debut in 1990 with Armchair Theatre but otherwise spent the decade out of the limelight, instead producing material for Joe Cocker, Tom Jones, and Paul McCartney in addition to working on the Beatles' Anthology project. In 1988, meanwhile, Bevan formed Electric Light Orchestra Part II with vocalist Neil Lockwood, keyboardist Eric Troyer, and bassist Pete Haycock; although Lynne filed suit against the group (hence the "Part II" tag), a self-titled LP followed in 1991, with a live collection recorded with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra appearing a year later.

In 2001, having successfully secured the rights to the Electric Light Orchestra name, Lynne recorded the album Zoom -- largely by himself -- and released it as an ELO album. After Zoom, Lynne took time off from ELO, working on several projects including his 2002 collaboration with George Harrison, Brainwashed, and his 2009 collaboration with Tom Petty, Highway Companion.

In 2012, Lynne returned to ELO with Mr. Blue Sky, an album of re-recorded Electric Light Orchestra songs. In 2013, Lynne released a solo album of '50s and '60s pop hits titled Long Wave, as well as the ELO album Live, which featured concert performances ELO recorded during the tour for Zoom. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

My sister bought me on vinyl 33. Played it all day& everyday.
This freaked me out. This isn't fake. Apparently, if you copy and paste this on ten comments in ten minutes, you will have the best day of your life tomorrow. You will either be kissed or asked out. If you break this chain, you will see a little girl in your room tonight. In the next 53 minutes someone will say I love you or I'm sorry.
calling out to a lost dream threw forest of lights and streets steaming that never answered the cry for something worth believing all of the shadows they drift along unseen delving into rivers forever unclean with doute clinging to empty souls just to carry them endlessly where channels flow winding down every passage falling farther then eyes can see past open waters promising to one day set them free and casting broken lines of hope that was never ment to be beyond ones own mortal redeeming
Why isn't The Moody Blues included as similar artists?
Please can you ad the lyrics...
The exclusion of Jeff Lynne/ELO from the RnR Hall of Fame renders that venue incomplete.
ONE OF THE GREATEST 70'S BANDS!!
Don't Walk Away is one of my favorite ELO songs!!! Awesome!
ELO..always the best!!
So sweet !!!!!!+++!!!
ELO Need more be said?
Strange magic...
WOW WHAT A GROUP. WAS ONE OF MY FAVORITE COLLEGE BANDS!!
Probably one of greatest bands
Dak below
LOL I thought this was the beegees I never knew who did this song
The best lineup of ELO isn't mentioned in this bio... Kelly Groucutt, Mik Kaminski, Mel Gale, Hugh McDowell, as well as Bev Bevan and Jeff Lynne..
Yeeeeesss!!! ! ! ! Good memoris
darin_clemen t s 3
Jeff Lynne is da s**t.
Strange magic! I can listen to that song over and over and over. ...
I have hated this band since the first time I heard them. In fact I couldn't stand Jeff Lynne when he was with the Move. Get this over produced annoying junk offa my Pandora
mryan5280
Kelly Groucutt?
no mention of Don Arden?????? wtf..homercr a w d a d
omg, love this band!! brings back memories of my childhood..
Stevie Wonder
ELO has no competitor. Pop, rock, technoish, soulful. Sometimes all at once. Jeff Lynne is a genius.
I love ELO all my life!
Agree with droog1961
Just great! reminds me of good old times
My favorite song by ELO! The ending of this song gives me the shivers.
A good band
ELO sounds better the more you listen to them! Classic greatness!
ELO has been one of my favorite Groups growing up
This $ong is classic have not heard in a long time
Classic
Why are there only 8000 likes to elo? There should be way more..
Ah the seventys
I love ELO sooooo much that it can be considered as creepy.
jmarro38
The song the telephone line . remember the high school time.the seventys.
DAD got me interested
To the comment below me. Lynne and Tandy occasionally reunite to do small shows like benefits.
i love ELO does anyone know if they still tour?
Eldorado.... . . . . . . . . . . . . ELO's best album,heaven l y
Rockin!
Timeless¡!!!
Somthing
Some of the backup vocals toward the end have a prequel fill for Evil Woman, no surprise, being from the same record.
:D I have this on my phone.
Something I didn't know for a long time and now that I know I say Yeah that sounds right!.- Marc Bolan of T.Rex played on Ma Ma Belle.
I love this song it
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