Richard Tandy (Electric Light Orchestra)

Richard Tandy, the keyboard player with Electric Light Orchestra was born 26th March 1948. The Electric Light Orchestra were formed in Birmingham, England, In the late 1960s, after Roy Wood — guitarist, vocalist and songwriter of The Move — had an idea to form a new band that would use violins, cellos, string basses, horns and woodwinds to give their music a classical sound, taking rock music in the direction “that The Beatles had left off”. Jeff Lynne, frontman of fellow Birmingham group The Idle Race, was excited by the concept. In January 1970, when Carl Wayne left The Move, Lynne accepted Wood’s second invitation to join the band on the condition that they focus their energy on the new project & when Wood added multiple cellos to a Lynne-penned song and “10538 Overture” became the first Electric Light Orchestra song. The debut album The Electric Light Orchestra was released in 1971.” and10538 Overture” was a hit.

ELO’s debut concert took place on 16 April 1972 at The Greyhound Pub in Croydon, U.K with a line-up of Wood, Lynne, Bevan, Bill Hunt (horns, keyboards), Wilfred Gibson (violin), Hugh McDowell (cello), Mike Edwards (cello), Andy Craig (cello) and Richard Tandy (bass). During the recordings for the band’s second LP, Wood left the band taking cellist McDowell and horn/keyboard player Hunt with him to form Wizzard. Despite predictions from the music press that the band would fold without Wood, Lynne stepped up to lead the band, with Bev Bevan remaining on drums, joined by Gibson on violin, Richard Tandy now playing the Moog synthesiser in place of Hunt, Mike de Albuquerque on bass and vocals, and Mike Edwards and Colin Walker on cellos. The new line-up performed at the 1972 Reading Festival. The band released their second album, ELO 2 in 1973, which produced their first US chart single,”Roll Over Beethoven”. The third album On the Third Day, was released 1973, featuring the single “Showdown. “For the band’s fourth album, Eldorado, Lynne hired an orchestra and choir & Louis Clark joined the band as string arranger. The first single of the album, “Can’t Get It Out of My Head”, became a hit, and it became ELO’s first gold album. The next album Face the Music was released in 1975, producing the hit singles “Evil Woman” and “Strange Magic” and the opening instrumental “Fire On High.

Their sixth album, A New World Record was released in 1976. It contained the hit singles “Livin’ Thing”, “Telephone Line”, “Rockaria!” and “Do Ya”. It was followed by the double-LP Out of the Blue, which featured the singles “Turn to Stone”, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman”, “Mr. Blue Sky”, and “Wild West Hero”. In 1979, the album Discovery was released containing the songs “Don’t Bring Me Down”,”Shine a Little Love”, “Last Train to London”, “Confusion” and “The Diary of Horace Wimp”. In 1980 Jeff Lynne co-wrote the soundtrack for the film Xanadu, with John Farrar which featured Olivia Newton-John and In 1981 ELO’s sound changed again with the science fiction concept album Time, a throwback to earlier, more progressive rock albums like Eldorado this yielded the singles “Hold on Tight”, “Twilight”, “The Way Life’s Meant to Be”, “Here Is the News” and “Ticket to the Moon”. ELO’s next album Secret Messages was released in 1983 & contained the hit “Rock ‘n’ Roll Is King”.ELO’s final album of the 20th century, Balance of Power, was released early in 1986 containing the song “Calling America”.Lynne also played a small number of live ELO performances in 1986, in England, Germany & the US appearing on American Bandstand, Solid Gold, then at Disneyland. In 1986 They played a charity concert called the The Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986 which was organised by Bevan in ELO’s hometown of Birmingham. George Harrison appeared onstage during the encore at Heartbeat, joining in the all-star jam of “Johnny B. Goode”. ELO’s last performance of the century occurred on 13 July 1986 in Stuttgart, Germany playing as support band to Rod Stewart & they effectively disbanded after that final show in Stuttgart. Although there is a Greatest Hits compilation.

ELO released eleven studio albums between 1971 and 1986 and another album in 2001, plus numerous Greatest Hits collections. They have been awarded 19 CRIA, 21 RIAA and 38 BPI awards,and sold over 50 million records worldwide . The group’s name is an intended pun based not only on electric light (as in a light bulb as seen on early album covers) but also using “electric” rock instruments combined with a “light orchestra” (orchestras with only a few cellos and violins that were popular in Britain during the 1960s). The official band logo, was designed in 1976 by artist Kosh, and was first seen on their 1976 album A New World Record and is based on a 1946 Wurlitzer jukebox model 4008 speaker which was itself based upon the upper cabinet of the Wurlitzer model 1015 jukebox.

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