The Electric Light Orchestra 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.)
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, (That will please Mr "Gazza Shackelton no end) 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.
For Olivia Newton John see Number 985
For Black Sabbath see Number 979 & Number 826
For George Harrison see Number 806
For Bob Dylan see Number 929 & Number 841
For Tom Petty see Number 585
For Traveling Wilburys see Number 969
For Joe Cocker see Number 633
For Tom Jones see Number 943 & 740
Labels: ELO 790