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Jeff Lynne Recalls ‘Long Road’ to ELO’s Induction Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Speech

Kevin Kane, Getty Images
Kevin Kane, Getty Images

Over the years, Electric Light Orchestra have become synonymous with Jeff Lynne, with only occasional contributions from fellow inductee Richard Tandy, who joined the band a couple of years after its founding in 1972.

And it was Lynne who gave a short but sweet speech during ELO’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the induction ceremony tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. He remarked on the band’s “long road” to the honor.

The band began as a collaborative act that also included Lynne’s fellow former Move bandmates Roy Wood (1970-72) and Bev Bevan (1970-86). All four were honored tonight at the ceremony.

Dhani Harrison was on hand to induct ELO, a reminder of the lasting connection between his father George Harrison and Lynne. Both 1987’s Cloud Nine and Harrison’s posthumous 2002 album Brainwashed were co-produced by Lynne. They were also members of the Traveling Wilburys, and later collaborated on Beatles reunion songs in the ’90s.

“If my father was still with us, I imagine he’d be standing where I am now, graciously inducting the original members of ELO into the Hall,” Dhani said during his induction speech. “He loved ELO.”

Wood spoke first, and thanked Lynne for “writing the songs. Otherwise we wouldn’t have been invited here tonight.” His speech was short, as was Lynne’s, who said “it’s been a long road. It’s such a pleasure to get one of these because I’ve watched lots and lots and lots, hundreds of them, people getting them all the time. … But like me dad said, ‘Everything comes to him who waits.’ It’s true.”

Lynne continued to explain how he learned about music from his father and a sewer pipe. “It took me 40 more years to learn all the chords,” he said, and pointed out how his mom finally enjoyed his music after about “30 years in.” Lynne also said it was a shame that Tandy and Bevan couldn’t make the ceremony.

Bevan initially said he looked forward to seeing Lynne again, but ended up missing a reunion with his estranged fellow co-founder in order to play dates with a solo band. They reportedly haven’t spoken in decades, after Lynne initially broke up ELO in the ’80s. Bevan later co-founded ELO Part II, leading to a legal battle with Lynne. Later, Lynne began leading his own version of the group.

Though honored by his inclusion, Bevan earlier questioned why key Electric Light Orchestra contributors like Mik Kaminski, Hugh McDowell, Melvyn Gale and Kelly Groucutt were not also among the band’s selected group of honorees.

This year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will debut on HBO at 8PM ET on April 29.

12 Bands With Key Members Snubbed by the Hall of Fame

Next: Top 10 Electric Light Orchestra Songs

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