Sunday, 14 February 2021

Remembering Louis Clark

#1,566: For many fans of classic ELO, Louis Clark was the man who literally pulled the strings when it came to their sweeping orchestral arrangements for their epic studio albums from "Eldorado: A Symphony by the Electric Light Orchestra" in 1974 all the way through to his four track contribution on "Secret Messages" in 1983 not forgetting his guiding hand behind the "Hooked On Classics" series and his pivotal role in the launch of ELO Part II alongside Bev Bevan and his essential contribution to The Orchestra.

Although recently unwell, his passing away on Saturday 13th February at the age of 73 years came as a shock to many fans and followers of the classically trained conductor, arranger and composer affectionately known as Sir Lou. The name Louis Clark on the label or in the credits it ensured that ELO's trademark orchestral rock sound was a key component on seven bestselling albums including the aforementioned "Eldorado", "Face The Music", "A New World Record", "Out Of The Blue" and "Discovery".
When he wasn't involved with ELO, you could find Lou busy either fusing classical and popular music together music with his much loved "Hooked On Classics" albums whilst conducting The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and The English Pops Orchestra or working with a wide range of artists such as Roy Orbison, Roy Wood, Kelly Groucutt, Ozzy Osbourne, America and Asia on their recordings. You might also consider getting hold of a copy of his 1979 solo LP "(per-spek'-tiv)n." (#JETLP218) as it is also well worth investigating.
Personally, I'll always treasure seeing Sir Lou in his all white suit conducting the 80-piece Moscow Symphony Orchestra during ELO Part II's debut tour in 1991 and his constant involvement thereafter with their many live shows and those of The Orchestra. Without a doubt, his "Moment Of Truth (Overture)" remains a testament to his stellar musical CV. This writer had the pleasure of bumping into Louis of a number of occasions down the years at various gigs and it was always a thrill to chat and engage with him.
Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) wish to extend their deepest condolences to Gloria, Louis, Jemma, Rachel and the family at this sad time. Earlier today, I asked Lou's longtime ELO cohorts Bev Bevan and Dave Scott-Morgan to recall their fave moment with their former bandmate. You'll find their thoughts as well as those of his wife Gloria and those of my friend Christian Evans (from a fans perspective) below. Truly, Louis Clark will be much missed by many and forever a huge part of the Electric Light Orchestra story.
Bev Bevan: "A great shame. Really, really lovely guy. My fondest memory is our trip together to meet Konstantin Krimets, the conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra in 1990. I've got some great photos from that trip!"

Dave Scott-Morgan"My favourite memory of Lou is me and him sitting side by side scrubbing cellos on The Terry Wogan Show back in '86 giggling the whole time with our posh leather jackets on!"

Gloria Bentley Clark: "Sadly today Louis, Jemma, Rachel and I had to say goodbye to the most loved, loving and kind man we know. He will be missed in a way that words cannot express. He had been ill for many months. He fought hard, but his time had come. He passed very peacefully surrounded by love. This morning he watched Premier League soccer and listened to The Beatles, two things he loved. This afternoon I told him I loved him, he said I love you too, and we kissed. He was gone five minutes later. We love this man forever and always. He was a good man, loved by many and will be greatly missed by all. We want to thank family, friends and fans who have always loved and supported him."

Christian Evans: "Very sad to hear about the passing of Louis Clark this morning, long standing member of the Electric Light Orchestra, ELO Part II and The Orchestra. Louis was integral to the orchestral sound of ELO throughout the mid to late 70’s, particularly on albums such as Eldorado, Face The Music, A New World Record and Out of the Blue. It is with great fondness that I remember meeting Louis backstage at Wolverhampton Civic Hall in 1993 after an ELO Part II gig with my good friend and longstanding gig buddy Keith Sinclair (ELO Beatles Forever). Other standout memories are seeing ELO Part II for the first time on 1991 at Birmingham NEC as it was back then and watching Louis conduct The Moscow Symphony Orchestra, truly amazing. Seeing Louis conduct the Halle Orchestra with ELO Part II at Manchester Apollo in 1999 was also another highlight, this was recorded live for Radio 2. My last memory of Louis was meeting him after The Orchestra gig at The Plug in Sheffield in 2014. Myself and my good friend KJS had the pleasure of meeting and chatting to him in the hotel bar after the gig. A truly lovely man and very gifted musician who will be sadly missed."
Louis Clark: 27th February 1947 to 13th February 2021
Related KJS/ELOBF articles

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... 14-Feb-2021 ***


  1. Did not expect. In my honest opinion Louis should have received more composing credit on ELO stuff. Just because you wrote the main chords, does not mean any additional chords and melody on top should not count as composing. Louis absolutely co-wrote many ELO songs.

    And I do have Perspective on CD.

  2. I worked with Lou as recording engineer on a regular basis during the '70s on early ELO stuff and also on his Perspektiv album. He was a newcomer to the London studio scene and his complex arrangements were not taken seriously by the session musicians of the time and he was treated disgracefully by them for a while before the penny dropped.

    I agree that he should have had more composer credits on certain ELO stuff. On more than one occasion, Jeff used Lou's top string line as a main part of a song melody, but Lou was only ever credited as an orchestral arranger. Not fair.

    Very sad early loss of a great and mega-talented guy.

    Dick Plant

    1. Hi Dick! Many thanx for your poignant and informative comment. Many ELO fans feel that not enough songwriting credit was given at the time to Lou, Richard Tandy and Kelly Groucutt et al. Your insight is much appreciated! ... KJS@elobf

    2. Hello Dick,

      Thank you for your very insightful information about Louis Clark, Jeff Lynne and Electric Light Orchestra's studio sessions!

      Was it Thunderthighs who did the female background singers on Showdown?

      They provided backing vocals to Lou Reed's hit single, "Walk on the Wild Side" (from his 1972 Transformer album)

      Thanks again,

      Rick Vendl II