Friday, 19 January 2018

Why ELO Part II, The Orchestra & ELO Tribute Bands Matter

#1,369: When Jeff Lynne pulled the plug on ELO back in 1986, it left a black hole in the musical universes of members and fans alike, even though we all marvelled at and applauded the rise and rise of Jeff Lynne with the likes of George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, The Traveling Wilburys, Paul McCartney, The Beatles and not a few others. At that time, there was no appetite for ELO by the Shard Ender who had overseen and perhaps outgrown his band. Fast forwarding to the 21st century, we were all excited about the relaunch of ELO and then Jeff Lynne's ELO ... and we still are, judging by the hit albums and epic sold out shows since.

Most ELO fans also know how ELO Part II came about courtesy of Bev Bevan and how it became The Orchestra almost a decade later. The incredible growth of ELO tribute bands is also a testament to the popularity and ageless appeal of the music of Jeff Lynne/ELO. It was during that intervening period between "Balance Of Power" and Jeff's sensational Hyde Park return that elobeatlesforever (elobf) was born in February 2009 and Yours Truly KJS had many opportunities to see and hear those wonderful Electric Light Orchestra songs that we all know and love performed by a plethora of former members, great bands and gifted musicians.

Sadly, I never got to see classic ELO in the flesh despite getting into the band at the age of ten in 1977. Indeed, my first experience of ELO music in the live arena was with ELO Part II and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra in May 1991. It reignited my passion for the music and was followed by many trips to see both ELO Part II and The Orchestra and, thereafter, many fab ELO tribute bands before I finally got to see Jeff Lynne's ELO in person at Liverpool during April 2016.

It is for that reason that this writer is forever grateful to the likes of Bev Bevan, ELO Part II, The Orchestra and Phil Bates (not forgetting The ELO Experience, ELO Again, The Explosive Light Orchestra and latterly The ELO Encounter) for keeping ELO music live (and, to a degree, alive), particularly when Jeff Lynne was otherwise occupied in the studio. As a result, I get the best of both worlds these days because I can go see and hear ELO music played live regularly by multiple artistes in various venues in between Jeff Lynne's ELO tours!

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 19-Jan-2018


  1. ooh I saw my logo! Thanks buddy! Eloquence)

  2. Good article Keith. When Jeff decided that he was tired with ELO he did the right thing. Instead of carrying on for the sake of the name he went on to do different things, and wow, look at what he did. I bet he never regrets it for one minute! As you rightfully point out this did leave a big gap, and millions of ELO fans left with the prospect of never hearing the music of ELO live again. Therefore how grateful we have been to ELO pt2, then the Orchestra for playing to a very high standard the music of ELO. This is in conjunction with many excellent tribute bands, whose rendition of ELO 's music is also to a high standard. Thanks to them for keeping the music live. It's just a shame that it took 30 years for Jeff to realise how much he and the music of ELO is still loved in the UK. The look of total surprise to the warm welcome he received on his return to the UK tells me that he was led to believe that he was no longer popular. I wonder where he got his information from?

  3. Not only did ELO Part 2 and the Orchestra fill the gap, but they've got us the prepared for the inevitable day when Jeff puts down his guitar for good. The song book is incredible and it's comforting to know that Jeff's music will continue to be played live. On the East Coast of the US I can see the Orchestra or I can go to see Parthenon Huxley (he always mixes in some ELO tunes with his own material) and there's a relatively new tribute band called "A New World Record". ELO will be a "livin thing" for a long time to come!