Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Remembering Hugh McDowell

#1,463: Fans of the Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard were left stunned and saddened on Wednesday 7th November to hear the news that ELO's very own eclectic cellist Hugh McDowell had passed away in St. John's Hospice in London at the age of 65 years having been ill for some time.

London born Hugh was on stage when ELO's live career commenced in Croydon on 16th April 1972 and rejoined Jeff Lynne's orchestrated rockers in 1973 after a successful stint with Roy Wood's Wizzard during which he received a songwriting credit for "Bend Over Beethoven", the reverse side of "See My Baby Jive" and perhaps a backhanded nod to his then former band mates. Hugh developed a reputation for his energetic cello sorcery during ELO's live shows for the next five years and played on the albums "On The Third Day", "Eldorado", "Face The Music", "A New World Record" and "Out Of The Blue" as ELO approached their commercial peak. He was also to be found bearing his belly button on the revamped  front cover of OTTD as well as having his nose somewhat squashed on the rear cover of FTM!
The tongue-in-cheek flip side of Wizzard's #1 hit "See My Baby Jive" (HAR5070) was credited to Hugh ...
Hugh also appeared on the promo film for "Discovery" in 1979 although he did not participate in the recording sessions. Over a decade passed before Hugh returned to the ELO universe as he played alongside The Moscow Symphony Orchestra with Electric Light Orchestra Part Two in 1991 and also reconnected with Kelly Groucutt and Mik Kaminski for their OrKestra project. More recently in 2016, Hugh could be found contributing to The Ancient Order of Froth Blowers' "El Original Brew", the follow-up to another famed Wizzard 'B' side: "The Carlsberg Special" alongside Nick Pentelow and Bill Hunt.
Hugh McDowell: 31st July 1953 to 7th November 2018
As far as Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) are concerned, Hugh McDowell will forever be remembered as one of the Magnificent Seven, the classic ELO line up that adorned the album covers and inner sleeves of the first records I ever bought. ELO were a band like no other and Hugh was an integral part of their Seventies success as he cavorted across the stages of the world with white cello in hand whilst being immortalised in a certain poster found inside copies of the OOTB double album (see above). Our thoughts and commiserations go out to his daughter Adelise as we bid farewell to someone recently lauded as "the Jimi Hendrix of the cello".

The funeral for Hugh McDowell will take place on Friday 23rd November.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 07-Nov-2018


  1. Jimi Hendrix of the cello indeed. Pure class.

  2. Gutted, one of my heroes growing up, made the Cello COOL. RIP

  3. after Jeff I loved Hugh great stage man bless you Mr McDowell

  4. He also played with the Radio Stars and was credited in the notes for Saint Etienne's "Tales From Turnpike House". R.I.P. Hugh.

  5. Gutted is the word to use, very very sad piece of news indeed! Another piece of my childhood taken away.

  6. I lived not far from Hugh in South Wales, during the 1990s my wife and I would go to the village pub close to where he lived and met him on a few occasions. He was very approachable, down to earth and always had time to talk. I am deeply saddened.

    1. Was that at the Clytha Arms pub? Hugh was afriend of mine,very approachable and down to earth. A friend of mine lived near Hugh and posted The ELO Story book by Bev Bevan as he wanted a copy.😄
      Hugh was very grateful and we kept in touch ever since . RIP Hugh. Will always remember you ❤️

  7. RIP Hugh,there will never be another like you.❤

  8. I was fortunate enough to see the 7 piece line up TWICE in 76 and in 78 since then everything else pales in comparison, it was just amazing to see these 7 legends looking like they were having the best times, in truth for me personally they WERE the very best times EVER.
    You can keep all your comebacks, replace people etc, but nothing can ever come close to those early days for me, I was so very lucky, but saddened to learn of Hugh's death, another legend gone too soon, rest in peace with Kelly and Mike xxx

  9. Thank You Keith for the great tribute to Hugh.

  10. Hugh was the real deal, extraordinarily talented, the showman of the band and from the stories I've heard a wonderful human being... he'll be sadly missed. R.I.P. Hugh.

  11. For me that's the biggest issue i have with Jeff as well as the HOF!! the Magnificient should all be in the hall of fame along with Wood! despite Jeff Lynne's attempts to disavow any connection with the others, like redoing everything himself to cut everybody else out of the well as only including himself, wood, tandy and bevan in the HOF inductions..real ELO fans know and will always know who the real ELO were and its not Jeff's current band which shouldn't be called ELO in any capacity.

  12. omg, I have just discovered this! i had no idea, I shared a house with Hugh in Chalk Farm during the 1970s. In fact i moved into Mike's room when he moved out. I have very found memories of Hugh, drinking in the Coach and horses in Hampstead, eating curries at the restaurant next door plus regular visits to Dingwalls !
    I am particular grateful to him for letting the two girls from California stay in his room while he was in LA :)
    sad loss