JEFF LYNNE Biography - Musicians


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Name: Jeffrey Lynne                                                                       
Born: 30 December 1947 Birmingham, England                                               
Jeffrey Lynne (born December 30, 1947 in Shard End, Birmingham) is a Grammy               
Award-winning English rock songwriter, singer, guitarist and record producer.             
In 1963, Jeff Lynne, Robert Reader and David Walsh formed a group using little           
more than Spanish guitars and cheap electrical instruments to produce music.             
They were originally named "The Rockin' Hellcats" however this was changed to "The       
Handicaps" and finally to "The Andicaps". They practiced at Shard End Community           
Centre and performed weekly. However, in 1964, Robert Reader and David Walsh             
left the band and Lynne brought in replacements. At the end of 1964, Lynne               
decided to leave to replace Mick Adkins of the local band "The Chads".                   
In 1966, Lynne joined the line-up of The Nightriders as guitarist, the band               
would soon change their name to the The Idle Race, a name allegedly given to             
them unwittingly and sarcastically by his grandmother Evelyn Lynne who probably           
disapproved of the pop music culture as not being a proper job. Despite                   
recording two critically acclaimed albums with the band and producing the second,         
success eluded him. In 1970, Lynne accepted a lifeline from friend Roy Wood to           
join the line up of the more successful band The Move.                                   
Lynne contributed songs to The Move's last two albums while formulating with Roy         
Wood and Bev Bevan a band built around a fusion of rock and European classical           
music, a project which would eventually become the highly successful Electric             
Light Orchestra (ELO). Problems elaborated on in Mojo magazine 2007, led to Wood's       
departure in 1972, after the band's eponymous first album, leaving Jeff Lynne as         
the band's dominant creative force. Thereafter followed a succession of band             
personnel changes and increasingly popular albums: 1973's ELO II and On The               
Third Day, 1974's Eldorado and 1975's Face the Music.                                     
By A New World Record, Lynne had almost completely abandoned the roots of the             
group for a dense and unique pop-rock sound mixed with studio strings and                 
layered vocals and tight, catchy pop singles. Jeff Lynne's now almost complete           
creative dominance as producer, songwriter, arranger, lead singer and guitarist           
could make ELO appear to be an almost solo effort, the sound was also shaped by           
Louis Clark's co-arranging, Bev Bevan's drumming, Richard Tandy's use of new             
keyboard technology and arranging skills, all brought the music that Jeff Lynne           
wrote into focus.                                                                         
Some believe the pinnacle of ELO's chart success and worldwide popularity was             
the expansive 1977 double album Out of the Blue, which was largely conceived in           
a Swiss chalet during a two-week writing marathon. The band's 1978 world tour             
was a spectacular featuring an elaborate "space ship" set and laser light show.           
In order to recreate the complex instrumental textures of their albums, the band         
used pre-recorded supplemental backing tracks in live performances and although           
the practice has now become commonplace, it caused considerable derision in the           
press. Jeff Lynne has often stated that he prefers the creative environment               
of the studio to the rigors and tedium of touring.                                       
In 1979, Lynne followed up the stunning success of Out of the Blue with                   
Discovery, an album primarily associated with its two disco-flavored singles, "Shine     
a Little Love" and "Last Train to London". However, the remaining seven non-disco         
tracks on the album reflected Lynne's broad range as a pop-rock songwriter               
including a heavy, mid-tempo rock anthem ("Don't Bring Me Down") that                     
represented the antithesis of disco. On a recording distributed to the fan club           
of the time, Lynne stated that he liked the "bang bang" of disco,                         
although the absence of any further forays into dance music indicates that this           
may have been a sentiment purely for promotional benefit. In 1979, Lynne                 
rejected an offer for ELO to headline the Knebworth Concert in the UK, allowing           
Led Zeppelin to headline instead.                                                         
In the absence of any touring to support Discovery, Lynne had time to contribute         
five tracks to the soundtrack for the 1980 movie musical Xanadu (film). The               
quality of his production work for Xanadu was on par with the best of his ELO             
work, and the score yielded a pair of top-40 singles, with "Xanadu" reaching             
number one in the UK. Nevertheless, Lynne was not integrated into the                     
development of the film and his material subsequently had only superficial               
attachment to the plot. Despite its later resurgence as a cult favorite, Xanadu           
performed weakly at the box-office and has often been regarded as the nadir of           
the musical film genre. Lynne subsequently disavowed his limited contribution to         
the project, although he later reappraised his work and re-recorded the title             
song (with his lead vocal) for the 2000 box-set Flashback. In 2007, the film was         
loosely adapted into a successful Broadway musical, incorporating almost all of           
the songs from the original film, and also using two other ELO hits: Strange             
Magic and Evil Woman.                                                                     
1981 saw Lynne taking the band into a somewhat different direction with the               
science-fiction themed album Time, reaching number one for two weeks in the UK,           
producing the second top 3 single in less that two years, jettisoning the                 
strings in favor of heavily synthesized textures. Following a marginally                 
successful tour, Lynne kept this general approach with 1983's Secret Messages             
and a final contractually-obligated ELO album Balance of Power in 1986. Although         
ELO could still get a hit single into the top 40, it was assumed, Lynne was               
tired of the artistic constraints and promotional demands imposed by the ELO             
concept. Lynne discusses the contractually-obligated nature of the final albums           
on the short interview included with the 'Zoom' DVD. With only three remaining           
official members (Lynne, Bevan and Tandy), the band had become just a trio again.         
Lynne began devoting his full energy to producing.                                       
During his time in the Electric Light Orchestra, Lynne did manage to release a           
few recordings under his own name. In 1976, Lynne covered The Beatles songs "With         
a Little Help from My Friends" and "Nowhere Man" for All This and World War II.           
In 1977, Lynne released his first ever solo single, the disco-flavoured "Doin'           
That Crazy Thing"/"Goin' Down To Rio". Despite ELO's high profile at that time,           
it received little airplay and failed to chart. In 1984 Lynne and ELO                     
keyboardist Richard Tandy contributed two original songs "Video!" and "Let It             
Run" to the film Electric Dreams. Lynne also wrote the song "The Story of Me"             
which was recorded by the Everly Brothers on their comeback album EB84.