Jeff Lynne and Electric Light Orchestra have been making hits since 1972, when their “10538 Overture” – off their self-titled debut – made it into the Top 10 on the U.K charts. Their ornately arranged rock songs, played by a live lineup that currently includes three keyboardists, a violinist and two cellists, among others, eventually resonated in the U.S. and their singles “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Can’t Get It Out of My Head” and “Evil Woman” all became Top 10 hits prior to the group’s disbandment in 1986. Lynne and keyboardist Richard Tandy reactivated the group in 2000 and again in 2014, leading to the release of 2015’s Alone in the Universe under the banner of Jeff Lynne’s ELO.
Lynne, Tandy and multi-instrumentalist Roy Wood made appearances at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Friday to accept their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Founding drummer Bev Bevan chose not to attend the ceremony, instead honoring previously booked live engagements. Following some words by Dhani Harrison, son of Lynne’s late Traveling Wilburys bandmate George, the musicians gave their own speeches. Read the full speech below.
Roy Wood: Well, first of all, I would really like to thank Jeff for his
dedication to writing the songs, otherwise we wouldn’t have been invited here tonight. And also to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for
this wonderful award. It really means a lot. Thank you very much.
Jeff Lynne: Well, thank you very much indeed. It’s
such a pleasure to get one of these, because I’ve watched lots and lots and lots, hundreds, of people getting awards. It’s like my dad said, everything comes to him what waits. And talking
about my dad, my musical education actually was, I was walking down the street with him
one day – I was about seven – in the street, there was a great big sewer pipe, about probably
10 feet long. I would’ve been four-foot-five. He said, “Come over here. On the street.” And
he went to the sewer pipe, and he went, “Ah, ah, ah, ahhhh.” And of course, like a choir of angels that was beautiful, and that’s how I learned
harmony, believe it or not. And he said, “Come on. You have a go.” And of course, I was
seven, so I went, [higher-pitched] “Ah, ah, ah, ahhh.” And it was so fantastic, I went, “God!
Is that all you have to do?” And that’s a chord.
And that was a chord, and I said ‘I can do a chord. It’s brilliant.’ And so,
from that moment on, I knew what chords were. I mean, I didn’t really, but I thought I did,
but it took me then another forty years to actually master all the chords.
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And the old
business, but that was the way I got started really. It wasn’t
easy to get started because my mother didn’t really want me to do music at all. She thought
it was all drugs and booze and all that. Even then, it wasn’t anything. It was just like,
yeah, singing and recording. Anyway, it turned out, she kept banging on the stairs,
booming, blundering, going, “Get up, you lazy bugga!” And I’d go, this one day, I’ve joined a
professional group. I said, “Mom. Don’t ever do that again, please. I’m now a professional
musician, and I never have to get up ever again.”
You should’ve seen her face. Anyway, she got used to it about 30 years in and was
pleased with some of my music, so, thank you all very much for being here. Enjoy your
I just have to say, Richard couldn’t be here tonight, and that’s a shame. And Bev couldn’t be
here tonight, but Roy was here tonight, which is great. And I think that’s about it really. I
think I’ve said it all. So thank you all very much indeed. And I’ll hand you over to somebody