Saturday, 31 January 2015

BEATLES & SON: THE ELO CONNECTION

George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in 1995 ...
Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Fans of ELO and Jeff Lynne are invariably drawn to the works of The Beatles. My recent articles for ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] about the forthcoming King's Heath Beatles Fest and the limited edition 2CD re-release of  the "All This And World II" OST are reminders of that powerful connection.

With the enigmatic ELO rarity "Beatles Forever" adorning the name of this my blog and it also being the original inspiration for the launch of ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] nearly six [6] years ago as well as the widely accepted fact that The Beatles' "I Am The Walrus" was the spark that gave birth to the idea of The Electric Light Orchestra [ELO], those connections have remained via ELO and Jeff Lynne, in particular, to this very day.

It therefore seems quite apt to me on the weekend of the 46th anniversary of The Beatles' final live performance on the roof of the Apple HQ to attempt to list some of the collaborations, performances and tributes that have drawn The Beatles, Jeff Lynne and ELO together through the years thus:

  • 1972: ELO record and release "Roll Over Beethoven", a song also recorded by The Beatles which featured heavily in early Beatles set lists and is performed by ELO to this day.
  • 1973: "Daytripper" is an integral part of the live ELO set list and is included on their debut live album "The Night The Light Went On [In Long Beach]".
  • 1974: John Lennon famously labels ELO the "Son of [The] Beatles" on NYC radio.
  • 1976: Jeff Lynne sings an arrangement "With A Little Help From My Friends/Nowhere Man" on the "All This And World II" OST. He is joined by ELO co-founder Roy Wood on the album, who also contributes "Lovely Rita" and "Polythene Pam".
  • 1981: The Jeff Lynne composition "21st Century Man" is a highlight of the ELO's "Time" album, written in honour of John Lennon, murdered a few months earlier in December 1980.
  • 1982: ELO perform a medley of songs in tribute to John Lennon during their "Time" tour including "Across The Universe", "Nowhere Man" and "Imagine".
  • 1983: The legendary "Beatles Forever" is recorded during the "Secret Messages" sessions at Hilversum in Holland but tragically fails to make the abridged single LP release.
  • 1987: Jeff Lynne co-produces George Harrison's comeback album "Cloud Nine".
  • 1988: Jeff Lynne, George HarrisonRoy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty combine in the ultimate supergroup to produce their timeless debut release "Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1".
  • 1990: Jeff Lynne and George Harrison rejoin Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, following the passing of Roy Orbison, and release second LP "Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3".
  • 1995: Jeff Lynne produces the hit single "Free As A Bird" with remaining Beatles Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr using a John Lennon demo tape as source material.
  • 1996: Jeff Lynne produces a second hit single "Real Love" with the remaining Beatles.
  • 1997: Jeff Lynne co-produces Paul McCartney's acclaimed album "Flaming Pie".
  • 2001: Jeff Lynne relaunches the ELO spaceship with comeback album "Zoom" featuring guest performances by Ringo Starr and George Harrison.
  • 2002: Following the death of George Harrison in November 2001, Jeff Lynne oversees the release of "Brainwashed" and features heavily in the "Concert For George" concert later that year.
  • 2004: Jeff Lynne performs at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the late George Harrison alongside fellow Wilbury Tom Petty and Dhani Harrison.
  • 2012: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr feature in "Mr. Blue Sky: The Story Of Jeff Lynne and ELO", a documentary of the career of Jeff Lynne.
  • 2014: Jeff Lynne performs "Hey Bulldog!" with Dave Grohl and "Something" with Dhani Harrison during "TheNight That Changed America", a US telecast celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Beatles live TV performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The ELO maestro also contributes "Junk" to "The Art Of McCartney" tribute album by various artistes.

The above list is not exhaustive but, hopefully, it demonstrates the powerful ties between The BeatlesJeff Lynne and The Electric Light Orchestra [ELO].

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 31-Jan-2015

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