The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) is a famed English rock band formed in 1970. Their unforgettable sounds are characterized by a fusion of Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements and futuristic iconography. But their success came with the transformation of time and the brilliance of talented teamwork.
After one ELO’s original members, Roy Wood made his departure in 1972, Lynne became the band’s sole leader, arranging and producing every album while writing virtually all of their original material. For their initial tenure, Lynne, Bevan and keyboardist Richard Tandy were the group’s only consistent members.
In 1979, the multi-platinum album Discovery was released, reaching number one on the UK Albums Chart. Although the biggest hit on the album (and ELO’s biggest hit overall) was the rock song “Don’t Bring Me Down”, the album was noted for its heavy disco influence.
Discovery also produced the hits “Shine a Little Love”, their first and only no. 1 hit from 1972 to the present with any of the 4 major or minor US singles charts on Radio & Records (R&R), “Last Train to London”, “Confusion” and “The Diary of Horace Wimp”. Another song, “Midnight Blue”, was released as a single in Southeast Asia. The band recorded promotional videos for all the songs on the album.
By the end of 1979, ELO had reached the peak of their stardom, selling millions of albums and singles, and even inspiring a parody/tribute song on the Randy Newman album Born Again, titled “The Story of a Rock and Roll Band”. During 1979 Jeff Lynne also turned down an invitation for ELO to headline the August 1979 Knebworth Festival concerts. That allowed Led Zeppelin the chance to headline instead.
In 1980, Jeff Lynne was asked to write for the soundtrack of the musical film Xanadu and provided half of the songs, with the other half written by John Farrar and performed by the film’s star Olivia Newton-John.
The movie performed poorly at the box office, but the soundtrack did exceptionally well, eventually going double platinum. The album spawned hit singles from both Newton-John (“Magic”, a #1 hit in the United States, and “Suddenly” with Cliff Richard) and ELO (“I’m Alive”, which went gold, “All Over the World” and “Don’t Walk Away”).
The title track, performed by both Newton-John and ELO, is ELO’s only song to top the singles chart in the United Kingdom. More than a quarter of a century later, Xanadu, a Broadway musical, based on the film, opened on 10 July 2007 at the Helen Hayes Theatre to uniformly good reviews. It received 4 Tony Award nominations. The musical received its UK premiere in London in October 2015.
Casey Kasem called The Electric Light Orchestra a “7-man supergroup” and “amazing” for hitting The Top 40 a remarkable 6 times in a one-year period from August 1979 to August 1980 before playing “All Over the World” at #23. Source