Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Jeff Lynne

It is a pleasure to say Happy Birthday to one of my favorite musicians, who I listen to just as much as I do The Beatles, Mr. Jeff Lynne.

Young Jeff Lynne (Middle)
Jeffrey Lynne,  or as other may know him as Otis Wilbury/ Clayton Wilbury from the Grammy Award Winning Supergroup, The Traveling Wilburys, was born on 30 Decemeber, 1947 in Shard End, Birmingham, England. Lynne attended Alderlea Boys' Seconday School as a child and recieved his first guitar, an acoustic, from his father when he was sixteen years old - Jeff still plays the £2 guitar today.  His first  music experiences came from his grandparents, who themselves were very musical. With his guitar he formed a band with Robert Reader and David Walsh, calling themselves The Rockin' Hellcats, later to be known The Handicaps, and finally to The Andicaps, based off of Lynne's inspirations from Roy Orbison to The Beatles, who in fact (like many other musicians) once hearing The Beatles wanted to get a guitar.  However The Andicaps didn't last and in 1964 Jeff decided to join another local band called The Chads. it was also in that year that Lynne bought his first electric guitar, a second hand Burns Sonic along with a Vox AC30 amp.

Once again, Lynne had parted with this group and would later join The Nightriders in 1966 after receiving his first studio recording equipment, a Bang & Olufsen Beocord 2000 De Luxe stereo reel-to-reel tape recorder, which as Jeff states, taught him how to be a producer and the previous year receiving a brand new Fender Esquire. Two years after joining The Nightriders, or The Idle Race as they were now known (a name coined from Jeff's grandmother, Evelyn Lynne) released their first album with Liberty Records, The Birthday Party and a year later would released their second album, Idle Race, in which Jeff produced at age twenty-two.

After releasing Idle Race, Lynne had reevaluated himself and his success and decided to join a more successful band, The Move, after being offered a spot from his friend Roy Wood. Lynne helped create The Move's last two albums with Wood and Bev Bevan, creating a sound built around the foundations of mixing the beloved rock music with the melodies of classic; thus Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) was born.
"...pick up where The Beatles left off." -ELO: The Band The Beatles Could Have Been

The 1970s became a promising year for Lynne as he married Rosemary and unfortunately Roy Wood left the band in 1972 after their first album, No Answer, and after the band's first live show at Fox & Hounds, but lead to Jeff Lynne becoming the dominate force. Lynne, along with other members of ELO, became a beloved and favorite band amongst listeners All Over The World, with memorable works like, "10538 Oveture", "Showdown", "Can't Get It Out of My Head", "Evil Woman", "Strange Magic", "Mr. Blue Sky"... you get the point.

In 1977 Rosemary and Jeff were divorced and two years later Lynne had found himself settling down with Sandi Kapelson  after a secret wedding in California;  that year also was a peek for Electric Light Orchestra earning the title as the biggest selling act in the UK. But as all good things must come to an end, 1983 lead to the disbandment.  Bevan was now drumming for Black Sabbath and the bands bassist, Kelly Groucutt had already departed from the band but Lynne was obligated by contract to create on more album with ELO, this album became known as Balance of Power, released in 1986.

After the end of ELO, Lynne had began to devote more of his time to producing and his own work. Prior to Electirc Light Orchestra's break Jeff released a few of his own recordings, including "Doin' That Crazy Thing"/ "Goin' Down to Rio" in 1977, along with covers of one of his biggest influences, The Beatles with his covers of "With A Little Help From My Friends" - "Nowhere Man"

Post ELO Jeff began working with ex-Beatle and good friend, George Harrison for Harrison's Cloud Nine album. This album not only brought George back into the recording scene after a long absence but was also the start of what would become The Traveling Wilbury's, a supergroup formed with George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan, with drumming talents of Jim Keltner.

After the Wilbury's Volume 1 was released and very well received, Lynne continued to work and produce with Orbison, when they released Orbison's last album, Mystery Girl, containing Orbison's last major hit, "You Got It", co-written by Lynne.  In 1989 he worked with Tom Petty in co-producing Full Moon Fever which also contained songs co-written by Jeff including one of Petty's most recognizable songs, "Free Fallin'" .  Besides working with his fellow Wilbury's, Lynne worked on helping Del Shannon release his last album, Rock On!. Amongst his works with Orbison, Petty and Shannon, Lynne co-wrote and produced Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys "Let It Shine", which can be heard on Wilson's first solo album Brian Wilson, along with other notable contributes.

The Traveling Wilbruys
With big success towards the end of 1980s, the following decade flourished for Jeff Lynne, starting with The Traveling Wilbury's working on their second album, Volume 3. Following The Wilbury's success of  there second and last album, Lynne released his first solo album in 1990, Armchair Theatre, which received propitious feedback. The following year Jeff was back producing and co-writing for Tom Petty with The Heartbreakers Into The Great Wide Open, and in 1992 he worked once again in keeping a beloved musician and friend of his music alive, when he produced King of Hearts, the posthumous album of Roy Orbison. But one of Lynne's greatest accomplishments could be well noted when he worked alongside the three surviving members of The Beatles on their project for the Anthology series, which would break The Beatles own record for album sales and became multi-platinum. If you think working with The Fab Four was good enough, Lynne was awarded the Ivor Novello for Outstanding Services to British Music in 1996.  Then Paul McCartney released Flaming Pie in 1997, an album that was co-produced by Jeff Lynne who also can be heard throughout the record. Not only did Lynne continue to work with McCartney and Harrison but producing Ringo Starr's works, making the 1990s a very successful decade.

The early 2000s brought Lynne to successfully buy the full rights of ELO and began working on re-mastering the old band classics; this became known as Flashback. The following year Jeff Lynne put out an album under the name ELO, becoming their first release in fifteen years;  a thirteen track album called Zoom, which featured Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and ELO keyboardist Richard Tandy. Within that same year Jeff and George Harrison worked on another album together, this one however was known that it was going to be the last of Harrison's music contributes. The album became known as Brainwashed and was finished by Jeff Lynne and George's son, Dhani, after George's departure on 29 November, 2001.  In 2006 he worked once again with Tom Petty on Petty's  Highway Companion, and in 2009 joined Tom Petty, and was honored with the Golden Note Award, an award presented to musicians who have conquered milestones in their career. A few years later Lynne would release his second solo album, Long Wave, featuring covers of musicians such as Etta James "At Last" and Roy Orbison's "Running Scared". Lynne also released Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra, featuring re-recorded ELO classics.  In 2012 Lynne and Richard Tandy teamed up to record a live set of ELO tracks which became part of the documentary, Mr Blue Sky. That same year Jeff was nominated as performer/songwriter for the 2013 Songwriters Hall of Fame induction. This past March Jeff was honored with a Star on the Broad Street Walk of Stars, and is to be honored with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

What can we look forward to with Jeff Lynne in the upcoming year? Well Here Is The News; It's been rumored that the brilliant musician is to release a new album soon.

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