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Rock and Roll With a Symphonic Beat

Updated on September 3, 2016
Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

I'm a writer, a poet, a dreamer. Born and raised in New York City. I live in the suburbs of Riga, Latvia. I have a wonderful cat named Sid.

This is another fantastic British rock group that comes from Birmingham, England. Actually if you just hear their name they sound like a symphonic orchestra. During their popularity in the years between 1971 and 1986 they came out with 11 studio albums and added on one more in 2001. This band came together as the creation of Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne whose dream it was to add classical overtones to rock and pop songs. Wood departed the band after they came out with their debut album but Lynne stayed and wrote and arranged all of their original compositions and also produced all of their albums.

When ELO reached the U.S. they became even more popular than they ever were in the U.K. By the time the mid-70s rolled around they had become one of the biggest-selling acts in music. The band holds the record for having the most Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hits. They have received many different awards and have sold more than 50 million records all over the globe.

The idea for the band began in the late 60s by Roy Wood who thought it would be great to create a band that used instruments that would usually be used by symphonic orchestras so that their music would have a classic sound. Their first song was “10538 Overture” and the debut self-titled album came out in 1971 and released in the U.S in 1972 titled “No Answer”. “10538 Overture” became a top-10 hit in the U.K. Lynne. Wood and Bev Bevan were the founding members and were later joined by Bill Hunt (keyboard, horns) and Steve Woolam (violin).

Their first U.S. chart single was a very elaborate version of Chuck Berry’s classic “Roll over Beethoven” ELO also made their first appearance on the popular TV show “American Bandstand”. Their third album On the Third Day came out in 1973 and included the popular single “Showdown”.

Their first U.S. Top 10 hit was “Can’t Get It Out of My Head” from their fourth album Eldorado, A Symphony which became their first gold album. Other hits followed like “Evil Woman” and “Strange Magic”. Their sixth album went platinum A New World Record and included the hit singles “Livin’ Thing”, “Telephone Line”, “Rockarial” and “Do Ya”. More albums and more singles followed including “Turn to Stone”, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman”, “Mr. Blue Sky” and “Wild West Hero”.

In 1979 they released the multi-platinum album Discovery which included one of ELO’s biggest hits “Don’t Bring Me Down”. The album also had the hits “Shine a Little Love”, “Last Train to London”, “Confusion” and “The Diary of Horace Wimp”. They continued to record and roll out the hits until 1989 when ELO officially disbanded. Remaining members of ELO continue to record and tour calling themselves The Orchestra.

© 2016 Gypsy Rose Lee


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    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 16 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Glad you enjoyed the music Shauna. I do believe my one all time favorite song by ELO is Rock and Roll is King but then you know how highly I think of rock.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 16 months ago from Central Florida

      I love ELO. I didn't know the remaining members are still touring under the name The Orchestra.

      I'll now go back and watch each of the videos - my favorite part!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 16 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thank you Manatita. Still enjoy listening to their songs.

      Glad you enjoyed this Bill. I love watching their videos and seeing a guy with a violin instead of a guy blasting music from an electric guitar. Hope you and Bev are having a great Labor Day weekend.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      They really were a very entertaining and somewhat unique band. One of my favorites of the 70s. Thanks for the review. I do love this series.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 16 months ago from london

      They were a great group with some really nice songs like Evil Woman. Some real rock influence too. Well done Gypsy.