Firstly my apologies for the lateness of this tribute to Kelly Groucutt. The news only filtered through to me very recently. Kelly, best remembered as the bass player and second vocalist in the Electric Light Orchestra, passed away after suffering a heart attack on February 19th 2009. He was 63 years old.
Kelly initially joined ELO in 1974 just in time to add his bass skills, additional vocals, and stage presence to the Eldorado album tour. The sight of Kelly sharing the stage with band leader Jeff Lynne both sporting similar hairstyles, and sharing the vocals became a familiar one as ELO grew into one of the worlds biggest selling acts.
The first ELO album that Kelly appeared on was Face The Music, the band's fifth studio record, which was released in 1975. It signalled the start of a run of albums that saw ELO become one of the biggest bands of the time, capable of filling major arenas the world over.
Albums such as New World Record, Out Of The Blue, and Discovery all became huge commercial successes. By this time they were able to sell out the Wembley Arena on eight consecutive nights.
Hit singles were by now the norm for the band. "Turn To Stone," "Evil Woman," "Mr. Blue Sky," " Telephone Line," "Sweet Talkin' Woman," "Don't Bring Me Down," "Strange Magic," and "The Diary Of Horace Wimp" are just a few that spring to mind.
Kelly took the vocals on several ELO tracks and supported lead singer Jeff Lynne when playing live. That year saw the band provide the soundtrack for the film Xanadu starring Olivia Newton-John. Despite the film being a commercial disappointment, the title song gave ELO a number one UK hit single.
1981 saw the release of their concept album Time which gave the band another hit with "Hold On Tight." The last ELO album that Kelly appeared on was Secret Messages. By now though the band had peaked and by 1982 Groucutt was working on a solo album simply called Kelly featuring several ELO members as guests.