The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) are an English rock band formed in Birmingham in 1970, by songwriters/multi-instrumentalists Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood with drummer Bev Bevan. Their music is characterised by a fusion of Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements, and futuristic iconography. After Wood’s departure in 1972, Lynne became the band’s leader, arranging and producing every album while writing virtually all of their original material.
The band was formed to accommodate Lynne’s and Wood’s desire to create modern rock and pop songs with classical overtones, deriving as an offshoot of Wood’s previous band the Move, of which Lynne and Bevan were also members. During their 1970s and 80s heyday, they recorded a string of studio albums that include the conceptual works Eldorado (1974) and Time (1981). For their initial tenure, Lynne, Bevan, and keyboard player Richard Tandy were the group’s only consistent members. In 1986, Lynne lost interest in the band and ceased its operation. Bevan responded by forming his own band, ELO Part II, which later became The Orchestra. With the exception of a short-lived reformation in 2000–01, ELO remained largely inactive for the next three decades. In 2014, Lynne reformed the band once again with Tandy as Jeff Lynne’s ELO, where he resumed concert touring and new recordings under the moniker.
During ELO’s original 13-year period of active recording and touring, they sold over 50 million records worldwide, collecting 19 CRIA, 21 RIAA, and 38 BPI awards. Despite early singles success in the United Kingdom, the band was initially more successful in the United States, where they were billed as “the English guys with the big fiddles.” From 1972 to 1986, ELO accumulated twenty Top 20 songs on the UK Singles Chart, and fifteen Top 20 songs on the US Billboard Hot 100. The band also holds the record for having the most Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hits (20) without a number one single of any band in US chart history. In 2017, the ELO line-up of Wood, Lynne, Bevan, and Tandy were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.