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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. Two years later, Lynne revived ELO -- this time the billing was Jeff Lynne's ELO -- for Alone in the Universe, his first album of originals in 14 years. It appeared on Columbia Records in November 2015. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Live

1. Evil Woman

2. Showdown

3. Secret Messages

4. Livin' Thing

5. Sweet Talkin' Woman

6. Mr. Blue Sky

7. Can't Get It out of My Head

8. Twilight

9. Confusion

10. Don't Bring Me Down

11. Roll over Beethoven

x

Track List: All Over The World: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra

1. Mr. Blue Sky

2. Evil Woman

3. Don't Bring Me Down

4. Sweet Talkin' Woman

5. Shine A Little Love

6. Turn To Stone

7. The Diary Of Horace Wimp

8. Confusion

9. Hold On Tight

10. Livin' Thing

11. Telephone Line

12. All Over The World

13. Wild West Hero

14. Showdown

15. Ma-Ma-Ma Belle

16. Xanadu

17. Rockaria!

18. Strange Magic

19. Alright

20. Rock And Roll Is King

x

Track List: The Essential Electric Light Orchestra

1. Evil Woman

2. Do Ya

3. Can't Get It Out Of My Head

4. Mr. Blue Sky

5. Strange Magic

6. Livin' Thing

7. Turn To Stone

8. Sweet Talkin' Woman

9. Telephone Line

10. Shine A Little Love

11. Hold On Tight

12. Calling America

13. Rock And Roll Is King

14. Don't Bring Me Down

15. Roll Over Beethoven

x

Track List: Zoom (Deluxe Edition)

1. Alright

2. Moment In Paradise

3. State Of Mind

4. Just For Love

5. Stranger On A Quiet Street

6. In My Own Time

7. Easy Money

8. It Really Doesn't Matter

9. Ordinary Dream

10. A Long Time Gone

11. Melting In The Sun

12. All She Wanted

13. Lonesome Lullaby

14. One Day

15. Turn To Stone (Live From CBS Television City)

x

Track List: Burning Bright

1. Turn To Stone

2. Livin' Thing

3. Standin' In The Rain

4. Stranger

5. Strange Magic

6. Hold On Tight

7. Night In The City

8. Do Ya

9. Fire On High

10. Rock 'n' Roll Is King

x

Track List: Balance Of Power [W/ Bonus Tracks]

1. Heaven Only Knows

2. So Serious

3. Getting To The Point

4. Secret Lives

5. Is It Alright

6. Sorrow About To Fall

7. Without Someone

8. Calling America

9. Endless Lies

10. Send It

x

Track List: Secret Messages

1. Secret Messages

2. Loser Gone Wild

3. Bluebird

4. Take Me On And On

6. Four Little Diamonds

7. Stranger

8. Danger Ahead

9. Letter From Spain

10. Train Of Gold

11. Rock 'N' Roll Is King

13. Endless Lies

14. After All

x

Track List: Time

1. Prologue

2. Twilight

3. Yours Truly, 2095

4. Ticket To The Moon

5. The Way Life's Meant To Be

6. Another Heart Breaks

7. Rain Is Falling

8. From The End Of The World

9. The Lights Go Down

10. Here Is The News

11. 21st Century Man

12. Hold On Tight

13. Epilogue

x

Track List: Discovery

1. Shine A Little Love

2. Confusion

3. Need Her Love

4. The Diary Of Horace Wimp

5. Last Train To London

6. Midnight Blue

7. On The Run

8. Wishing

9. Don't Bring Me Down

10. On The Run

x

Track List: ELO'S Greatest Hits

1. Evil Woman

2. Livin' Thing

3. Can't Get It Out Of My Head

4. Showdown

5. Turn To Stone

6. Rockaria

7. Sweet Talkin' Woman

8. Telephone Line

9. Ma-Ma-Ma Belle

10. Strange Magic

11. Mr. Blue Sky

x

Track List: Out Of The Blue

1. Turn To Stone

2. It's Over

3. Sweet Talkin' Woman

4. Across The Border

5. Night In The City

6. Starlight

7. Jungle

8. Believe Me Now

9. Steppin' Out

10. Standin' In The Rain

11. Big Wheels

12. Summer And Lightning

13. Mr. Blue Sky

14. Sweet Is The Night

15. The Whale

16. Birmingham Blues

17. Wild West Hero

x

Track List: A New World Record

1. Tightrope

2. Telephone Line

3. Rockaria!

4. Mission (A World Record)

5. So Fine

6. Livin' Thing

7. Above the Clouds

8. Do Ya

9. Shangri-la

x

Track List: Ole ELO

1. 10538 Overture

3. Roll Over Beethoven

4. Showdown

5. Ma-Ma-Ma Belle

6. Can't Get It Out Of My Head

7. Boy Blue

8. Evil Woman

9. Strange Magic

x

Track List: Eldorado

1. Eldorado Overture

2. Can't Get It Out Of My Head

3. Boy Blue

4. Laredo Tornado

5. Poor Boy (the Greenwood)

6. Mister Kingdom

7. Nobody's Child

8. Illusions in G Major

9. Eldorado

10. Eldorado Finale

x

Track List: On The Third Day

1. Ocean Breakup/King of the Universe

2. Bluebird is Dead

3. Oh No not Susan

4. New World Rising/Ocean Breakup Reprise

5. Showdown

6. Daybreaker

7. Ma-Ma-Ma Belle

8. Dreaming of 4000

9. In The Hall of the Mountain King

x

Track List: Electric Light Orchestra II

x

Track List: No Answer

1. 10538 Overture

2. Look At Me Now

3. Nellie Takes Her Bow

4. The Battle Of Marston Moor (July 2nd 1644)

5. First Movement (Jumping Biz)

6. Mr. Radio

7. Manhattan Rumble (49th Street Massacre)

8. Queen Of The Hours

9. Whisper In The Night

x

Track List: When I Was A Boy (Single)

Comments

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Nothing makes me as happy as ELO!
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Mr. Blue Sky...Oh happy feet music! Luv, luv, luv it!!!
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STRANGE...MA G I C . . . . . . . . . . . . X X X X X X X O O O O O
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Don't bring me dowwwwwn...n o no no no no woo hoo ;-p I love ELO
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My first one as well. Remember it like yesterday but was 40 years ago
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I grew up with ELO through my high school years, one of my favorite bands.
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mewilcox5
My 1st concert was ELO in 1974, I was 12...it was incredible!
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What is involved in R&R Hall of Fame nomination? Seems like with this fan support, it should have happened!
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Is that REALLY TRUE Dave ? There NOT in the R&R Hall Of Fame ? That's truely unbelieveabl e !!!
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.
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Great song. Why Jeff Lynne and ELO are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame he beyond my comprehensio n .
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albecraig..L e t s ' roller boogie together...y e s ?
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this song was one of the soundtracks to the movie role models
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Love ELO. Yea, they do make me wanna roller boogie. They were at the top of their game here. Miss those 70's bygone days.
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ELO...perfec t . . . . f a n t a s t i c roller boogie skate dance...wher e did u guys GO? Venice dance skate team...summe r of 77'
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Electric Light Orchestra had a unique sound to their many Rock/Classic a l songs. I love 'em!
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RIGHT ELO...!!
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JEFF LYNN ..YOU HAVE TALENT
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ELO IN 1977 ...THE BEST YEAR...ROLLE R SKATE DANCE..GOOD 1 ELO...DANE
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Listening to ELO makes you walk faster.
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1976, nice ELO on beach at ft. Lee va. Great memories for life.
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Grew up listening to E.L.O....lov e the band..never get old
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this song was one of the soundtracks to the movie Billie Madison
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Love this band they will never get old
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wait until you listen to ELO to chear you up and realize telephone line is about someone not calling... lol
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Fire on High is their very best.
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ELO-Jeff Lynne-amazin g ! L o v e .
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Finally 10,000 likes on Pandora! Jeff Lynne and ELO DESERVE 100,000,000, 0 0 0 + !!!
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Their best work.
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Love ELO but I have to say BLUE SKY DAY is my all time favorite.
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ELO is the best! How often do you hear an ELO song and say Oh Man, I forgot about that one.....and it's just another great song.
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Oh oh ... I think I may have opened a can of worms with this opinion... Since I am PRO ( women's) choice!!!!!!
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I like the musical part of song... It's a living thing.... However.... Is this an anti~ abortion song.... :( that's a shame since I loved ELO
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Can't Get It Out Of My Head from ELO on Eldorado is clearly their best song in my opinion. If you search You Tube there is a video of them doing this in a house/studio . It's the best. Jeff Lynne is obviously stoned but then weren't we all.
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dragonlady60 8 8
ELO...
..Excellant
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mike3668
No mention of Mik Kaminski and his blue violin?
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Love ELO... No other band like em
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One of my dad's favorite bands! Every song reminds me of him miss u dad!
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devlin15
How can you write a bio about ELO and not mention Kelly Grocutt?
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Flat out loved listening to ELO, from start
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I luv the movie Xanadu so much
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Love this song
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Do Ya !!
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ELO Rules & Mr. Lynn - One of my all time favorite lead singers keep Rocking
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cyberianexil e
JEFF LYNNE WILL YOU MARRY ME?
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Jeffyyyyyyyy y y y y y y
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Kshsj
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Every ELO Song has great meaning and keeps me dreaming....
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My favorite ELO song the very first time I heard it was on the Midnight Special..... . .
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one of the soundtracks to the movie Billy Madison
Show more

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