Feb 23

I have returned home from a few days away to find my email inbox flooded with messages of sadness and condolence. It took me a few moments to realise what was going on, then reality hit. Kelly Groucutt was dead.

“Who?”, I hear you ask. Let me explain.

For reasons I will not bore you with, I am currently on a mailing list concerned with the music of the Electric Light Orchestra (a.k.a. ELO). It appears that on the 19th of February, Kelly Groucutt – bass player with ELO from 1975 to 1983 – died suddenly in the UK.

Being the callous, cold-hearted bastard I am, I deleted most of the R.I.P. emails, but I took the time to read through two or three. One of the more emotional messages was from a chemistry teacher in Iowa, USA. He had dedicated that day’s chemistry class to the late Mr Groucutt, temporarily setting aside bunsen burners and the periodic table to pass on to his presumably bewildered students some words of wisdom concerning 1970s symphonic rock.

ELO were one of my favourite bands when I was in my mid-teens. I have all their records and still listen to them occasionally, when the mood strikes. Although Kelly Groucutt was a bit of a gaybean, I appreciate the role he played in the band when they were at their creative and commercial peak. I even bought his crappy 1982 solo record, Kelly.

Here is a video clip of ELO in their prime, circa 1977, performing – well, miming to – one of my favourite ELO songs, “Turn to Stone” from their album Out of the Blue. Kelly is at the right, in blue satin jumpsuit and white choker. His facial hair inspired a generation.

4 Responses

  1. MsJaye Says:

    ZOMG! You’re a closet ELO fan too? No-one else understands, and when I mention my love, they give me looks that suggest I’ve joined some sort of deeply scary cult.

  2. snubian Says:

    I guess a lot of people choose not to see beyond the bad hair and 70s fashion. Listen to the music, I say!

  3. MsJaye Says:

    Just curious, what are your feelings regarding Supertramp? I can see some sort of booze-fueled symphonic-rock evening brewing…

  4. snubian Says:

    Oh yes, Supertramp was part of the whole Queen/Alan Parsons/Pink Floyd/ELO clade. This also fed into more contemporary bands such as Marillion, though I was never a big fan. Re Supertramp – a mate and I used to share records in high school, he ended up with the Supertramp, I got the Queen, which is fine by me. I was never a huge Supertramp nut, but still have the Breakfast in America record which I love, and have Rodger Hodgson’s 1984 solo record, which spawned a big hit at the time, “Had a Dream”.