Jeff Lynne, ELO Enjoying Resurgence of Popularity + Planning a Big Tour
Suddenly, Jeff Lynne and ELO are a big deal again. And Jeff's a bit surprised.
Lynne reformed the Electric Light Orchestra and recorded a new album 14 years ago. Titled Zoom, the record barely made a dent in the charts.
Despite huge guest appearances from the likes of George Harrison and Ringo Starr, the album sold so poorly that ELO cancelled the planned tour in support of the work due to lackluster ticket sales.
"That showed me I probably shouldn't even bother," he said. "My manager spared me the details of everything. But I wasn't too demoralised, because I got some tunes in films, and I just love recording."
Jeff shrugged it off and went back to his successful "day-job" of producing and writing songs for some of the biggest names in rock history (Jeff has produced classic albums for everyone from Tom Petty to Harrison to Roy Orbison and even pieced together archival tracks from his heroes, The Beatles).
Fast forward to 2014 when BBC Radio DJ Chris Evans began singing the band's praises during his daily program, introducing an entirely new generation to ELO's music. That very same year, Jeff Lynne was asked to reform the band to headline BBC Radio's annual "Festival in a Day" at Hyde Park in London.
The concert sold out in 15 minutes, with a remarkable 50,000 tickets swiped up by ELO fans both young and old.
The European press pounced on the band's resurgence and made a proclamation: ELO was back. Jeff Lynne was even invited to jump on stage with the Foo Fighters at a couple of UK shows.
On Sept. 10 of this year, Lynne made the announcement that a new ELO album was on the way via a new, worldwide record deal with the Columbia imprint. The new work, Alone In The Universe, will be released Nov. 13.
You can check out the first single from the album, "When I Was A Boy" right here:
Listening to the first single, it really does sound like classic ELO and Lynne doesn't appear to have missed a step. Hell, the iconic ELO spaceship even makes an appearance in the album art!
Jeff, for his part, seems very humbled by the band's comeback in Europe...and a little befuddled. "It’s quite amazing to have all this recognition," he told the Telegraph.
That sounds strange coming from multi-platinum rock star. As Lynne readies for the new album's release date, he recalls the Hyde Park show that made all of this possible.
“It was absolutely astonishing, and so thrilling,” Lynne said. “It was beyond anything I could have imagined. I could feel the love and the pleasure they were having, clapping along to every song. It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling.”
“It was magnificent. I couldn’t believe it. They knew all the words. I knew most of them, although not necessarily in that order.”
Early next year, ELO is set to hit the road in the UK and, while nothing is yet confirmed, Jeff also wants to tour America, assuming we Yanks have an interest as well. For the moment, Jeff is taking it one step at a time.
"As far as more shows, we'll see what happens," he says. "It it goes well, I'll certainly do more stuff. Let's hope it goes well."