Jeff Lynne Biography

30 December 1947, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. Lynne’s long and varied musical career began in 1966 when he joined the Nightriders, a popular beat group still reeling from the loss of their leader, Mike Sheridan, and guitarist, Roy Wood. Having completed all contractual obligations, the band took the name, Idle Race and, under Lynne’s guidance, became a leading exponent of classic late 60s pop. Frustrated at a lack of commercial success, the artist opted to join the Move in 1970, where he was teamed with the aforementioned Wood. Lynne’s contributions to the unit’s late-period catalogue included the riff-laden ‘Do Ya’, but this era is also marked by the duo’s desire to form a more experimental outlet for their talents. This resulted in the launch of the Electric Light Orchestra, or ELO, of which Lynne took full control upon Wood’s early and sudden departure. ELO gradually developed from cult favourites into one of the 70s leading recording acts, scoring international success with several platinum-selling albums, including A New World Record and Out Of The Blue. Lynne’s dual talents as a composer and producer ensured the band’s status but sensing an artistic sterility, he abandoned his creation in 1986. The artist then assumed an increasingly backroom role, but won praise for his production work with George Harrison (Cloud Nine), Randy Newman (Land Of Dreams) and Roy Orbison (Mystery Girl). He also contributed his distinctive production qualities to much of Tom Petty’s output during this period.

Lynne’s work with Orbison coincided with his position as ‘Otis Wilbury’ in the Traveling Wilburys, an informal ‘supergroup’ completed by Orbison, Harrison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan. This particularly prolific period was also marked by his work with Brian Wilson on the ex-Beach Boys’ first long-awaited solo album. In 1990, Lynne also unveiled his own solo debut, Armchair Theatre, on which his gifts for pop melody remained as sure as ever. In the mid-90s, Lynne gained a measure of success (and some criticism) for his production of the Beatles lost tapes, notably ‘Free As A Bird’ and ‘Real Love’. He co-produced Paul McCartney’s excellent Flaming Pie in 1997. In 2001, he returned to the ELO moniker and released a new album.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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