Following his stint as leader of the Electric Light Orchestra, singer/guitarist Jeff Lynne forged an equally successful career in the '80s and '90s as a producer with his distinctive sound gracing the latter-day records of many veteran rock & roll legends. Lynne began his career in the late '60s as the frontman of a group called the Idle Race, which recorded the album The Birthday Party for RCA in 1969. In 1970, Lynne accepted an invitation from Move leader Roy Wood to join his revamped band; the two shared a vision of fusing electric rock & roll with classical orchestrations, a concept that eventually transformed the Move into the Electric Light Orchestra (instead of the two groups running concurrently, as had originally been planned). The Lynne composition "Do Ya" provided the aggregation's first U.S. hit in 1973; Wood soon abdicated his share of the group's leadership to form Wizzard, leaving Lynne in charge. He ran the group into the '80s, scoring several U.S. Top Ten singles and albums and contributing to the soundtrack of the 1980 film Xanadu.
In 2009, he produced a few songs on Regina Spektor's Far; then Lynne turned his attention to recordings of his own. He returned to action in 2012 with a pair of albums: a collection of re-recorded Electric Light Orchestra songs called Mr. Blue Sky and a collection of covers of '50s and '60s pop hits called Long Wave. Long Wave debuted at number seven on the U.K. albums chart and 133 on Billboard in the U.S.; Mr. Blue Sky debuted at number eight in the U.K. and 118 in the U.S. Early in 2013, reissues of Armchair Theatre and Zoom appeared, along with a release of the lone concert ELO gave in 2001 in support of Zoom. Two years later, Lynne revived the name ELO — this time the billing was Jeff Lynne's ELO — for Alone in the Universe, his first album of originals in 14 years. It appeared on Columbia in November of 2015. With new songs at their disposal, the band went on tour, including dates in America, festival appearances, and a July U.K. show at Wembley Stadium that was recorded for their 2017 live album, Wembley or Bust. Lynne quickly returned with a new studio album called From Out of Nowhere in November 2019. ~ Steve Huey