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Electric Light Orchestra

Entry updated 26 February 2015. Tagged: Music.

Also known as ELO. British pop-rock band, founded by Roy Wood (1946-    ), Jeff Lynne (1947-    ) and Bev Bevan (1944-    ), whose full names are Roy Adrian Wood, Jeffrey Lynne and Beverley Bevan. ELO were notable for their skill at blending classical orchestral and pop-rock music idioms. The band's first single "10538 Overture" (1972) was not sf, despite a title that seems to contain a far-future date (in fact it is the number of an escaped prisoner); but their second album, eventually released under the bland title Electric Light Orchestra II (1973), was originally to be a concept-album called The Lost Planet. Though the concept was dropped during recording, several of the songs on the album retain a science-fictional edge, especially "From the Sun to the World (Boogie No #1)" and "Kuiama". In 1972 Wood departed and Lynne became the major artistic force in the group. The band's first masterpiece followed: Eldorado: A Symphony (1974), a concept album about a Walter-Mitty type fantasist whose dream-world takes over his life. The enormously successful Out of the Blue double-album (1977) contained no sf songs, although the cover art by Shūsei Nagaoka depicted the ELO logo (originally a circular juke-box design) refashioned as a huge Spaceship; a trope the band exploited for tour performances which brought an enormous model of the spaceship on stage. Time (1981) is a concept-album set at the turn of the twenty-first century, and mostly concerned with a man who falls in love with a Robot. ELO's commercial star was waning by this point, but many consider Time to be the group's greatest work, a joyful musical suite that combines synthesizers, guitars, choral vocals and Beatles-influenced songwriting to very striking and rather Golden Age science-fictional effect. One notable fan of ELO's work is Russell T Davies, who worked many references to it into his script for the Doctor Who episode "Love and Monsters" (2006). [AR]


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