UPDATED WITH VIDEO of the performance – see bottom of this post.
Jeff Lynne, who carved a niche and added some electronically classical elements to rock and roll with the hit after hit 1970s ensemble ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), is set to perform tonight at the 57th Grammy Awards, which will air on CBS. Lynne’s ELO will be performing with Ed Sheeran, the British born latest musical flavor of the month. Alongside the pair will be talent like the legendary piano jazz man Herbie Hancock, guitarist John Mayer, and Questlove from The Roots.
No word on what the ELO lineup will be performing at the Grammys, but with the inclusion of Lynne, it’s a safe bet to say that an ELO tune or two might be heard on the stage, especially when that band had reunited and played its first live show in almost 30 years this past autumn.
The British band ELO enjoyed its peaks of success during the mid-1970s; they were a sonic patchwork of The Beatles meets other British bands like The Small Faces and a tinge of the blues scene that was in full crystallization during that time. They had hit after hit on both sides of the Atlantic during their heyday and songs like “Evil Woman,” “Do Ya,” “Living Thing,” “Strange Magic,” “Mr. Blue Sky,” and “Don’t Bring Me Down,” remain high on radio playlists on classic rock stations, and are still loved and admired to this day by legions of fans.
Jeff Lynne and keyboardist Richard Tandy teamed up for several ELO reunions projects from 2012-2014, including headlining the 50,000-ticket Radio 2 festival in Hyde Park, London, in September 2014, which sold out in just minutes. After the successful performance, Lynne told the Birmingham Mail there’s been talk of a possible tour:
“My manager always wants me to go on tour. We’ve been talking about it. If today goes well and Richard and I really enjoy it I will certainly look at how to do a tour of Britain. I would love it.”
Perhaps the band’s appearance at tonight’s Grammy Awards will spark even some interest in ELO by younger generations turning in to see the 23-year-old Sheeran.
Lynne has been in the news recently as he was named a co-writer on a Sam Smith song called “Stay With Me,” which sounded eerily like the 1988 top 20 Tom Petty hit “I Won’t Back Down” he co-wrote with Petty. Smith gave the co-credit to the two men earlier this year for his “Stay With Me,” which is up for a huge cachet of Grammy’s this year, including Song of the Year. Smith will duet with Mary J. Blige at the awards show. Other performances of note scheduled for tonight include Madonna, AC/DC, and Rihanna with Paul McCartney and Kanye West.
The 57th Grammy Awards will air live tonight, Sunday, February 8, 2015 on CBS at 8pm EST, with a tape delay for the West Coast.
Last night, Lynne posted to his FB page about rehearsing for the big award show, along with a photo: