Electric Light Orchestra- ELO
History of ELO
The Electric Light Orchestra was formed in 1970 in Birmingham, England with Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne wishing to create modern pop songs with classical overtones. After Wood’s departure following the band’s debut record, Lynne wrote and arranged all of the group’s original compositions and produced every album. By the mid-1970s, they had become one of the biggest selling bands in music.
Their album “Face the Music” was released in 1975, producing the hit singles “Evil Woman” and “Strange Magic”. The album was the band’s first to reach Platinum sales and laid the groundwork for future world success.
The platinum selling A New World Record, hit the top ten there in 1976. It contained the hit singles “Livin’ Thing”, “Telephone Line”, “Rockaria!” and “Do Ya.” The album sold over five million units worldwide within its first year of release.
“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.
In 1979, the multi-platinum album “Discovery was released. 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”, “Last Train to London”, “Confusion” and “The Diary of Horace Wimp”. The album itself was the first ever to generate four top-ten singles (one of which was a Double A-side) from a single LP in the UK and was eventually certified 2x platinum by the RIAA in 1997. The Electric Light Orchestra finished 1979 as the biggest selling act in the United Kingdom.
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,” #1 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.
In 1981 ELO’s sound changed again with the science fiction concept album “Time,” a throwback to earlier, more progressive rock albums. “Time” topped the U.K. charts for two weeks and was the last ELO studio album to date to be certified platinum in the United Kingdom. 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”.
ELO essentially disbanded after that final show in Stuttgart in 1986, and there was no announcement made of it for the next two years. Bevan approached Lynne to make another ELO album in 1988. Lynne was not interested and went on to announce that ELO was no more.
Jeff Lynne’s comeback with ELO began in 2000 with the release of a retrospective box set, “Flashback.” 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 Jeff Lynne was Richard Tandy, who performed on one track.
From 1972 to 1986, ELO accumulated 27 Top 40 hit singles in both the UK and the US. The group also scored 20 Top 20 U.K. hit singles, as well as 19 Top 20 hit singles in the U.S. Billboard charts. The band also holds the record for having the most Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hits of any band in US chart history without ever having a number one single.
In 2012, Lynne and Tandy teamed up at Lynne’s Bungalow Palace home studios to record a live set of ELO’s songs. This was broadcast on TV as part of the Mr. Blue Sky documentary.
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,
The success of the Children in Need was followed by BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans, who asked his listeners if they wanted ELO to 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, The development of modern digital processing added a smoother finish than previously, which has 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 “Evil Woman”, then “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 the 13 November 2015. The album was ELO’s first album of brand new songs in nearly 15 years. 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 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 U.S. television appearances on. A 10 date European tour was announced for 2016, and they will be playing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival on 26 June 2016.