The most underrated member of the Traveling Wilburys is arguably Jeff Lynne. He is a producer extraordinaire and excellent songwriter, but was the last of the Wilburys to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His group, Electric Light Orchestra, was finally honored by the Rock Hall in 2017. The band was introduced by Dhani Harrison, also known as Ayrton Wilbury, who played the guitar solo on “Like A Ship” from the vinyl edition of The Traveling Wilburys Collection. Lynne produced George Harrison‘s 1987 album, Cloud Nine, which included the #1 hit “Got My Mind Set On You.” He also produced Roy Orbison‘s 1989 release Mystery Girl, featuring the top 40 hit, “You Got It,” and co-produced Tom Petty‘s Full Moon Fever. And of course, Lynne—or rather, Otis Wilbury—co-produced Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 with George Harrison (er, Nelson Wilbury). The Wilbury’s 1990 follow-up, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, was produced by Clayton and Spike Wilbury (Jeff and George, respectively).
Another 2017 Rock Hall inductee gets the “fun card” treatment today…one of my more recent obsessions, Electric Light Orchestra.
The group’s debut album was released in 1971 in the UK, 1972 in the USA, featuring former members of The Move. Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan were with the group until 1986, when Lynne disbanded ELO and Bevan formed ELO Part II. Roy Wood recorded only the first album, leaving in 1972 to form Wizzard.
Richard Tandy joined the group in 1972, making his recording debut on the 1973 album, ELO 2 (not to be confused with Bevan’s offshoot, ELO Part II). He continues to tour with Lynne today. Wilfred Gibson lasted two albums, while Mike de Albuquerque appeared on ELO 2, On the Third Day, and Eldorado.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognized only Lynne, Wood, Bevan, and Tandy, though many others contributed to their success over the years. Lynne, Wood, and Tandy were present at the induction ceremony last month; Bevan, who has reportedly not spoken to Lynne in decades, was playing a gig elsewhere. Personally, I think I would have rescheduled that gig.
“Mr. Blue Sky,” originally on 1977’s Out of the Blue, is featured on this year’s soundtrack of the year, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2: Awesome Mix Vol. 2.