Our returning friends, the hugely popular ELO Experience…Blank Mobile Our returning friends, the hugely popular ELO Experience…Blank
Our returning friends, the hugely popular ELO Experience…

Our returning friends, the hugely popular ELO Experience…

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So synonymous with their late 1970s hit singles have the mighty Electric Light Orchestra become that its surprising to recall that they’d emerged out of Birmingham right at the start of that decade, born from the ashes of psychedelic popsters The Move. Principal songwriter and frontman Jeff Lynne’s catchy tunes, coupled with his ‘big hair and sunglasses’ look, came to be the instantly recognisable sound and face of the band, but the early line-up saw Lynne and legendary ‘ELO’ drummer Bev Bevan joined by their fellow Move-departee Roy Wood, a larger-than-life character who’d soon, well, move on again and become forever famous as the glitter-and-sparkles leader of  ‘See My Baby Jive’ glam rockers Wizzard. 

 

Our returning friends, the hugely popular ELO Experience, delve into a particularly rich back catalogue. ELO themselves might be particularly remembered for the breathless effervescence of the classic Mr Blue Sky, with original fans having a wry grin at its 7” blue vinyl single, with its charming run-out exhortation to ‘please turn me over’, a message lost on the musical streaming generation but a helpful reminder to flip the disc and hear the likely more experimental B-side back in the day. But there’s a whole host of genius songs to celebrate. Livin’ Thing, Telephone Line, Turn To Stone, Rockaria, Don’t Bring Me Down… they still sound fabulous to this day! 

We always feel that’s what these evenings in the Cornwall Playhouse do as part of keeping popular music alive in a live environment, as it were, a continuous rejoicing in the cross-generational appeal of the great singles and hit-packed LPs of yore. And in this instance, we’re celebrating the music of a band that itself cherished the sound of those who came before them. It’s said that the initial idea of ELO, that fusion of cello, violin and woodwind with contemporary rock, came from Roy Wood, but it was Lynne who ran with it for much of the band’s history, melding strings and horns on the stage with a love for The Beatles and The Beach Boys worn on his sleeve. Indeed, it became almost a cliché to ponder whether ELO were the band that The Beatles might have become had they continued into the 70s, while the surf rock influence of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks’ seminal ‘Heroes and Villains’ is evident on ELO’s classic Out of The Blue album track Across The Border.  

 In these blogs, we love to remind long-time music fans of gigs they might have seen way back when, here in the days of Truro City Hall or elsewhere across Cornwall’s venues, and indeed some digging around finds ELO in our own much-loved building on 19 July 1973 as part of a mini-tour jaunt around the west country – let us know if you remember that one! And if your concert-going memory stretches further back, tell us about The Move (with Roy Wood and Bev Bevan, but pre-Jeff Lynne) playing Redruth’s Flamingo Club in August ’67… we’d be thrilled to hear about those shows! 

Eventually Lynne and ELO eschewed that famous symphonic sound for the straighter soft rock of the sci-fi concept album Time, a different beast from their A New World Record, Out of the Blue, and Discovery peak, but a new direction, at the time, that has also worn-well over the years. Let’s join the ELO Experience in keeping these wonderful tunes reverberating around our auditorium, for the music ages like a fine wine and never grows old. 

Written by Ian Abrahams

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