Electric Light Orchestra

Essential Albums

Artist Playlists

About Electric Light Orchestra

Outside of the prog scene, the most ambitious rock band of the ’70s were Electric Light Orchestra. Thanks to the meticulous production ear and vivid imagination of frontman Jeff Lynne, their music melded together lush orchestral arrangements and Beatles-caliber melodic pop tropes. Electric Light Orchestra initially formed in 1970 as an offshoot of psychedelic rock troupe The Move, which Lynne had joined at the urging of future Wizzard multi-instrumentalist Roy Wood. Together, the pair created the blueprint for ELO’s sound, which emerged fully formed on the string-laden 1972 debut single “10538 Overture.” Wood departed the band that same year, but Lynne and a rotating group of collaborators propelled ELO to stardom by merging their Beatles-y sound with changing musical trends: jaunty art pop (“Mr. Blue Sky”), glammy hard rockers (“Don’t Bring Me Down”), and frothy disco numbers (“Shine a Little Love,” the Olivia Newton-John collaboration “Xanadu”). Lynne put playing with ELO on ice in 1986 and spent much of the next three decades focused on production work for artists such as George Harrison and Tom Petty. However, in his absence, ELO’s influence started emerging in modern bands; both Flaming Lips’ animated psychedelic pop and Daft Punk’s elaborate arrangements and staging bear Lynne’s imprint. When ELO took flight once again in 2014 for rare concerts and subsequent tours (including the band’s first North American dates in 37 years), that creative magic returned. In 2019, Lynne released a new ELO album, From Out of Nowhere, that overflowed with sweet harmonies and plush instrumentation.

Birmingham, England
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