Jeff Lynne is an English rock musician who is probably best known for his involvement in Electric Light Orchestra; he is also notable for his work and production with other artists including Tom Petty and Roy Orbison. He has collaborated on various projects with former members of The Beatles.
The Beatles were a major influence on Lynne. In 1968, while performing with the Idle Race, he met The Beatles during the making of The White Album. Years later he admitted, "To be in the same room as the four of them caused me not to sleep for, like, three days." The original aim of Electric Light Orchestra was to take up "where the Beatles had left off, and to present it on stage." Indeed, John Lennon had called them the "Sons of the Beatles".
Critics often compared Electric Light Orchestra to The Beatles and they were often criticised for "ripping off" the band. Lynne admitted that he "was very influenced by the Beatles’ sound of ’68 and ’69. That has obviously been a big influence on the way [he] looked at songwriting" and said that being compared with The Beatles was the "ultimate compliment".
Lynne worked with Harrison very closely in the late 1980s. In 1987 he produced the Cloud Nine album, Harrison's first since 1982's Gone Troppo. Before the release of "This Is Love", the third and final single from Harrison's highly acclaimed album, the record company asked for a B side for the song. Deciding he needed help, Harrison gathered some of his musician friends, eventually resulting in the formation of the Traveling Wilburys. Lynne was a member of the supergroup along with Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison. Harrison and Lynne contributed to the writing of all Wilburys tracks including "Handle with Care", "Wilbury Twist" and "End of the Line".
In 1990 Ringo Starr recorded a cover version of The Beatles' "I Call Your Name" for a television special marking the 10th anniversary of John Lennon's death and the 50th anniversary of his birth. The track, produced by Lynne, features a supergroup composed of Lynne, Petty, Joe Walsh and Jim Keltner.
In 1992 Lynne produced two tracks of Starr's Time Takes Time album. A third track produced by Lynne appeared as a bonus track on CD single and on the Japanese issue of the album.
In 1994, Lynne was approached by the remaining three Beatles to help them produce their "new" songs and restore John Lennon's vocals from poorly-preserved mono tapes containing some unfinished Lennon demos that they were given by Yoko Ono. The songs were "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love". McCartney admitted he was worried about Lynne being chosen as producer saying "He's such a pal of George's. They'd done the Wilburys, and I was expecting him to lead it that way. To tell you the truth, I thought that he and George might create a wedge, saying, 'We're doing it this way' and I'd be pushed out." "Free as a Bird" later won a Grammy.
Lynne co-produced eight tracks on McCartney's 1997 Flaming Pie album. Upon its May 1997 release, the critical reaction to Flaming Pie was very strong, with McCartney achieving his best reviews since 1982's Tug of War. With fresh credibility even with young fans who had been introduced to him through the Anthology project, and anticipation raised with the excellent reviews, Flaming Pie debuted at #2 in the UK and US, giving McCartney his first US Top 10 album since Tug of War. In both countries, the album was the biggest entry in its initial week.
Harrison began work on Brainwashed in 1988, with "Any Road" having been written by Harrison during the making of a video for "This Is Love" off the Cloud Nine album, and would continue to do so in a sporadic manner over the next decade and a half. After recuperating from his 30 December 1999 knife attack in his home by Michael Abram, Harrison focused more on getting his album finished, simultaneously sharing his ideas for all its details (from the sound of the finished songs to the album's artwork) with his son Dhani — information that would ultimately prove very valuable. After Harrison's death in late 2001, Lynne and Dhani completed production. PopMatters called the album "a rich musical treasure trove well mined in execution and production". Rave reviews were also given by Allmusic - "Brainwashed isn't just a success, it's one of the finest records Harrison ever made." In late 2002 Lynne took part in a special tribute, Concert for George, performing "The Inner Light", "I Want to Tell You", "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)" and collaborating with Petty and the Heartbreakers on "Handle with Care". When Harrison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Lynne joined Petty in a performance of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".
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