Richard Tandy, Keyboardist of Electric Light Orchestra, has passed away

With deep sadness, we announce the passing of Richard Tandy, the long-time keyboardist of Electric Light Orchestra. Jeff Lynne, the band’s founder, confirmed the sad news in a short statement paying tribute to his musical partner. ‘It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of my longtime collaborator and dear friend Richard Tandy,’ says Lynne, ‘He was a remarkable musician and friend and I’ll cherish the lifetime of memories we had together. Sending all my love to Sheila and the Tandy family.’

Born in 1948 in Birmingham, England, Richard Tandy met future ELO drummer Bev Bevan while attending Moseley School. The two first worked together in the Move, including future ELO members Lynne and Roy Wood, when Tandy added keyboards to the 1968 No. 1 hit “Blackberry Way.” Tandy also served as touring keyboardist for the Move and later as touring bassist while Trevor Burton recovered from a shoulder injury. Over the years, ELO scored hits with, among others, “Mr. Blue Sky”, “Can’t Get It out of My Head”, “Livin’ Thing” and “Roll over Beethoven”.

In 1970, Wood, Lynne and Bevan formed ELO, with Tandy soon joining as bassist. When Lynne became the group leader following Wood’s departure, Tandy switched to keyboards, a position he would maintain throughout his time with the band. His extensive arsenal of instruments included the piano, Minimoog, Clavinet, Wurlitzer electric piano and Mellotron, among others. Tandy played on every ELO album from 1973’s “ELO 2” through 1986’s “Balance of Power”, after which the group disbanded. He also made guest appearances on 2001’s “Zoom” and 2019’s “From Out of Nowhere”, which were essentially Lynne’s solo ventures.

‘At the start, I probably did most of the keyboards, but as recording techniques changed and synthesizers and electronics came into the picture, Jeff did more and more,’ Tandy previously told ELO fanzine ‘Light!’. ‘By the time we got to Balance of Power, the usual way was to have a stack of keyboards in the control room, and me and Jeff playing along to a drum track, and Bev adding his things later.’

Outside of ELO, Tandy also founded the Tandy Morgan Band with ELO tour members Dave Morgan and Martin Smith, releasing the concept album Earthrise in 1985. Richard Tandy is 76 years old. It is not known what caused Tandy to die.

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