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Electric Light Orchestra Open Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony With Chuck Berry Tribute

Kevin Kane, Getty Images
Kevin Kane, Getty Images

Jeff Lynne led Electric Light Orchestra through a thunderous version of Chuck Berry‘s “Roll Over Beethoven” to open tonight’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

ELO’s version was originally included on 1973’s ELO II, and, as with that original recording, included an opening reference to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The performance followed a lengthy video tribute to Berry, who died at age 90 in March.

Lynne continued with “Evil Woman,” the Electric Light Orchestra’s Top 10 1975 hit, followed by “Mr. Blue Sky” from 1977’s Out of the Blue. In a surprise, fellow ELO inductee Richard Tandy – the only other legacy member of the band who regularly appears with Lynne – was not onstage. Instead, Bernie Smith was at the keyboard.

Tandy joined in 1972, the same period that saw co-founder and 2017 Hall of Fame honoree Roy Wood depart. Bev Bevan, who bowed out of tonight’s induction ceremony because of touring obligations, was a member from 1970-86. Even before Bevan departed, Lynne was already playing a far more central role than in the band’s early, more collaborative years.

By the time Lynne released 2000’s Zoom under the Electric Light Orchestra banner, Tandy was the only band member left – and he only played on one track, “Alright.” Lynne meticulously re-recorded all of the songs for 2012’s Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra, all by himself. Alone in the Universe was also largely recorded alone by Lynne, and released with the new band name Jeff Lynne’s ELO in 2015.

Tandy was most recently featured on 2013’s Electric Light Orchestra Live. In the meantime, Lynne and Bevan remained estranged. Bevan later started ELO Part II, sparking a legal battle over the band name with Lynne.

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

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