Jeff Lynne

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After a fallow period throughout much of the 2000’s, Jeff Lynne, frontman, songwriter and producer of the Electric Light Orchestra, is busier than ever, with new album projects and back catalogue re-issues. In 2014, he was honoured with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

It’s a richly deserved award in the eyes of many, although the affable brummie still elicits mixed response from music aficionados. If he does, on occasion, lack divine inspiration, then he remains a master craftsman, consistently capable of absorbing, distilling, and refining his greatest influences into songs that reinforce our melodic pop sensibilities.

It has never been my intention to regurgitate reams of information readily available on the worldwide web; hence the copious use of suitable links throughout my commentaries. The following contains a useful precis of ELO’s career.

There is something very straightforward about Lynne. He has a sociable, genial demeanour, but you sense that he is happiest in his own company, chasing the sounds he hears in his head. His live performance in London’s Hyde Park, was an unexpected surprise, so averse has he been for two decades about concert tours. “Well, I can play bass and drums and most other things,” notes the multi-instrumentalist. “The way I make records, I do one instrument at a time and layer them. I love to be a one-man band.”

In ELO, he wrote most of the songs and played most of the instruments in the studio, which probably contributed to the disillusionment and departure of fellow founding member, drummer Bev Bevan. “I really like to record with complete separation, one drum at a time, playing to a click track and a few guitars. It can make drummers a bit uptight, cause you’re going ’just the hi hat please’, ’OK, just the cymbal crashes’. But when you put it together it sounds clean as a whistle. I’m over the moon when that happens.” Less receptive to this way of recording a complete kit, Ringo Starr was quick to establish his position at the Beatles’ reunion sessions, telling Lynne in no uncertain terms: “I am the ——ing click!” Jeff can laugh about it now; “He doesn’t like being restricted.”

Suitably reinvigorated by the Hyde Park concert experience, Lynne would subsequently craft the first ELO album in fourteen years for a fall 2015 release.

Recommended listening

Face the music (1975)

With new members Kelly Groucutt (bass)and Melvyn Gale (Cello) on board, and the first ELO album to be recorded in Musicland Studios Munich, Lynne would gear up for more singles success – the obvious ’45 ‘pulls’ “Evil Woman” and “Strange Magic” charting well – whilst “Nightrider” would register as an undeserving flop despite heavy promotion.

The album top tenned in America but chart action at home would remain elusive.

The band would hit the road for a thirteen month world trek – Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand etc – in support of the album. Now a headlining act, ELO were fast approaching their peak period.

Available in remastered form with bonus tracks, the album has been reissued as part of an ELO five CD box set, that also includes ‘A New World record’, ‘Discovery’,‘On the third day’ and ‘Time’. Classic Lynne for under a tenner. Trust me, I succumbed…..

A New World Record (1976)

Suitably galvanised by his dad – “You know the problem with your tunes? – there’s no bloody tune!”, Jeff would finally get his old man humming with this blockbuster release.

The sixth Electric Light Orchestra album and their first multi-platinum release, ‘A New World Record’ would define the future direction of Lynne\‘s music. For those unmoved by the hard rock excess of Led Zeppelin, and the confectionery gloss of teen idol releases, ELO would offer an alternative listening experience, combining uncanny musical motifs with classical orchestrations, whilst issuing a slew of best selling recordings throughout the next seven years.

Progressive leanings safely parked, Lynne would refocus on memorable pop-rock material, combining Beatlesque sensibilities – “Telephone Line”, “Livin’ Thing”, “Rockaria” – with the hard rock of “Do Ya” and the funky “So Fine”.

Out of the blue (1977)

Discovery (1979)


ELO & Jeff Lynne

ELO Discovery - Welcome to the show

Nicolas Guibert’s website and an extensive collection of film clips, soundbites, interviews and current news on Jeff’s latest production work.

Jeff Lynne Songs

The ultimate Lynne database.