Electric Light Orchestra
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 characterized by a fusion of Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements, and futuristic iconography. 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.
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 ceased its operation. Bevan responded by forming his own band, ELO Part II, which later became the Orchestra. With the exception of a short-lived reunion in 2000–01, ELO remained largely inactive for the next three decades. In 2014, Lynne re-formed the band again with Tandy as Jeff Lynne’s ELO, where he resumed concert touring and new recordings under the moniker.
During ELO’s original 14-year period of active recording and touring, they sold over 50 million records worldwide, collecting 19 CRIA, 21 RIAA, and 38 BPI awards. 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”. From 1972 to 1986, ELO accumulated twenty Top 20 songs on the UK Singles Chart, and fifteen Top 20 songs on the US Billboard Hot 100. 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. In 2017, the ELO line-up of Wood, Lynne, Bevan, and Tandy were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.