I’ve upgraded my laptop to "Big Sur," Apple’s latest release of Mac OS, release 11.0.1. I chose to do that rather than write this, because I was having trouble deciding who to profile today.
Anyway, our guest artist today is guitarist/singer/songwriter/producer Jeff Lynne. He’s had an interesting career, and a lot of it has intersected with The Beatles, particularly George Harrison. You can tell the influence they’ve had on him, and vice versa.
- The Move, "Brontosaurus": Jeff’s first recording experience was with the British rock band The Move. He joined them for their 1970 album Looking On, from which "Brontosaurus" was taken. It went to #7 in the UK, but didn’t chart in the US. Regardless, I seem to recall having a copy of it.
- Electric Light Orchestra, "Mr. Blue Sky": ELO grew out of The Move, with multi-instrumentalist Roy Wood envisioning an orchestral rock project, of which Lynne and drummer Bev Bevan were a part. It formed in 1970, while The Move was still recording, and through 1986 they released a number of Top Ten singles and albums. "Mr. Blue Sky" was from their 1977 album Out Of The Blue; it reached #6 in the UK and #8 in the Netherlands, but only #35 in the US and #27 in Canada.
- Traveling Wilburys, "Rattled": Lynne produced George Harrison’s 1987 album Cloud Nine, and during the recording they started kicking around the idea of putting together a band with some of their friends. George suggested Bob Dylan, Jeff suggested Roy Orbison, and when George was at Tom Petty’s house he suggested that he might like to join them. They recorded two albums, one with Roy Orbison and the other without; Jeff was "Otis Wilbury" on the first album and "Clayton Wilbury" on the second. "Rattled" was on the first album: it was written and sung by Jeff, with help from the others (Roy contributed the growl, I believe).
- The Beatles, "Free As A Bird": In 1995 Paul McCartney received a tape from Yoko Ono containing two songs that John Lennon had been working on. Between Paul, George, and Ringo, they were able to take the tapes and build the two songs into full Beatles songs. They had wanted to get George Martin, their legendary producer and the "Fifth Beatle," but he was unavailable. Knowing that trying to produce the songs themselves would be a disaster, they chose Jeff to produce the recordings, effectively being the "fifth Beatle."
- Jeff Lynne’s ELO, "When I Was A Boy": Jeff re-formed ELO as "Jeff Lynne’s ELO" in 2014. They released Aloe In The Universe in late 2015, from which "When I Was A Boy" was the lead track and the first single. The album reached #23 on Billboard‘s Top 200 albums, #2 on the Top Rock albums chart, #4 in the UK, and #34 in Canada.
Jeff Lynne, your Five For Friday, November 13, 2020. Happy birthday, Kip!