Jeff Lynne: The Electric Light Orchestra - Before and After by John Van der Kiste
|Jeff Lynne: The Electric Light Orchestra - Before and After by John Van der Kiste|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: This first biography of Lynne makes for an engaging read. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 192||Date: August 2015|
|Publisher: Fonthill Media|
Jeff Lynne grew up in a Birmingham suburb right at the end of 1947: even as a child he was passionate about music and was a much respected guitarist as a teenager. He was a member of various semi-professional groups - critical acclaim came when he fronted Idle Race in the late sixties and popularity and a degree of commercial success arrived when he joined the popular group The Move. Whilst still playing with that group he co-founded, along with Roy Wood, the groundbreaking Electric Light Orchestra, but it was with Wood's departure that Lynne turned what had been an occasionally uneasy fusion of classical and rock into a successful and popular act.
Despite not really being a 'singles' group the ELO had an impressive run of hits and sell-out concerts throughout the world, but Lynne disbanded the group in 1986 and went on to have a successful solo career, both as artist and producer, and then became part of The Traveling Wilburys, perhaps the ultimate supergroup, along with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty. There were even a couple of production credits on the final two Beatles singles in the mid nineties.
Lynne was one of the most highly-regarded performers in the second half of the twentieth century and it's a little surprising that this is the first biography, but John Van der Kiste has made an great job of it. Van der Kiste describes it as having backstage anecdotes of overheated orchestras, frontmen rivalries, tour mishaps, cross-group partnerships, unlikely collaborations, and self-imposed exile from the stage in the quest for inspiration and it's difficult to better that summary. What it doesn't tell though is that Van der Kiste has brought to the book the rigour of someone perhaps better known for his historical biographies. The book has a complete list of personnel, a discography and Van der Kiste's bibliography gives plenty of scope for further reading.
I hope that I'm not making the book sound like hard going, because it's anything but. When you read Van der Kiste you know that you're reading someone who knows much more than he's telling you rather than a writer who has managed to shoehorn in every bit of research that he's done. He easily places Lynne in the context of the musical scene at the time and also within what was happening in other spheres. It was a pleasure to read and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Van der Kiste has also reviewed books on popular music for Bookbag. You might like to have a look at Amy Winehouse: A Losing Game by Mick O'Shea, The Autobiography by Johnnie Walker, Cowboys and Indies: The Epic History of the Record Industry by Gareth Murphy, The Eighties: One Day, One Decade by Dylan Jones and Elvis Has Left the Building: The Day the King Died also by Dylan Jones - to name but a few!
You can read more book reviews or buy Jeff Lynne: The Electric Light Orchestra - Before and After by John Van der Kiste at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Jeff Lynne: The Electric Light Orchestra - Before and After by John Van der Kiste at Amazon.com.
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