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Electric Light Orchestra

It was the Moody Blues who made the world safe for symphonic pop-rock, but it was Birmingham, England-based ELO who came to define the genre. Founded in 1970, the group had an ever-changing lineup, with the constant core being guitarist/composer Jeff Lynne and drummer Bev Bevan. Their stage shows, long on special effects rather than performer personality, drove a steady string of gold and platinum albums and hit singles, and the group continued to enjoy considerable success until the early '80s. At that point, both Lynne and Bevan were branching out -- Lynne to songwriting, soundtrack composition and studio production, Bevan eventually leaving the group in 1983 to join Black Sabbath. Lynne went on to become a sought-after producer, with such credits as George Harrison's Cloud 9 and Roy Orbison's Mystery Girl. He also joined Harrison, Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan in the Traveling Wilburys. Legal hassles ensued in the late '80s when Bevan tried to form a new band under the ELO name, resulting in his new group's name of Electric Light Orchestra Part II. That group continues to tour and record periodically.

Written by: Mary Eisenhart

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