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ELO Part II were an offshoot band formed by former Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan. They are currently known as The Orchestra.

Unfinished Symphony

In 1988 ELO drummer Bev Bevan approached Jeff Lynne wanting to do another ELO album. After Lynne declined to participate, Bevan intended to continue the band without him. Lynne objected and lawyers were soon involved. The legal agreement reached between Lynne and Bevan resulted in Bevan forming a new band in 1989 initially called Electric Light Orchestra Part Two. John Payne was considered for vocalist, but this never came to fruition. He ended up joining Asia instead where he covered ELO's "Showdown". Original ELO co-founder Roy Wood was also approached about joining but turned them down. Bevan recruited longtime ELO string conductor and co-arranger Louis Clark into his new band, along with Eric Troyer (keyboards and vocals), Peter Haycock[372282] (guitar and vocals) and Neil Lockwood (guitar and vocals). ELO Part Two released a self-titled album in 1991 which featured former ELO violinist Mik Kaminski on one track. The album was intended to harken back to ELO's classic sound of the mid-to-late 1970s, but opinion is strongly divided as to whether or not it succeeded. The first tour featured the band performing live with The Moscow Symphony Orchestra, (MSO), and was well-received in the UK. Approximately two-thirds of the songs performed were ELO hits. The concert in ELO's home town of Birmingham was captured on video and on the live album with the long-winded title Performing ELO's Greatest Hits Live Featuring The Moscow Symphony Orchestra. Kaminski, former ELO cellist Hugh McDowell, and former ELO bassist Kelly Groucutt were part of the live band, with Groucutt sharing lead and backing vocals with Troyer, Haycock and Lockwood. Kaminski and Groucutt were initially appearing as guest artists from another ELO offshoot band they had formed called OrKestra, but eventually they ended their own band and joined ELO Part Two full-time by 1993. McDowell's tenure with the band was short, as some personality conflicts emerged and he was let go. Plans to tour the USA with the MSO were cancelled, as costs became prohibitive.

The band continued to tour Germany and the UK in 1992 with Louis Clark playing keyboards to duplicate the strings of the absent orchestra. In 1993 Haycock and Lockwood left the band, and were replaced by guitarist/vocalist Phil Bates, who had been in the band Trickster who were one of the opening acts for ELO's 1978 world tour. An ambitious world tour was undertaken by ELO Part Two in 1993, including dates in the USA and Eastern Europe.

Now a six-piece band with a slightly altered name, Electric Light Orchestra Part II recorded a second studio album, Moment Of Truth, which was released in 1994. The album was not a commercial success but was generally considered superior to their first album. The band continued its rigorous tour schedule over the following years, sometimes augmenting the core band with a backing orchestra. On these occasions they took only a small number of string players on the road and added local musicians to the orchestra at each venue to cut down costs. This was one of the features that distinguished ELO Part II from ELO as the original band never played live with orchestral accompaniment. Another live album with orchestral backing was recorded in Sydney, Australia in 1995 and was released the following year in Germany as a double album One Night, and the year after that in the USA as a single album One Night - Live In Australia. The band sold the master tapes of this album and it has since been remixed, remastered, and re-released under so many guises that the original CD may prove difficult to acquire.

Bates remained with the band until January 1999 and was replaced by Parthenon Huxley (guitar, vocals). As the decade progressed, the percentage of original material in the band's set list tended to decrease and their concerts often consisted of 90 per cent ELO songs. Bevan started to get frustrated, especially with their inability to break through in the United States, where the band sometimes performed in bars or at festivals where they were not the centre of attention. In November 1999 Bevan played his last show with the band at the Sands Hotel in Atlantic City.

Unlike the original ELO, which were under the creative control of writer/producer Lynne, ELO Part II were often portrayed as more of a democracy, with various band members sharing songwriting and lead vocals. But Bevan was still the leader of the band, and he issued a press release in early 2000 indicating that ELO Part II were disbanded. The remaining members recruited drummer Gordon Townsend and continued as The Orchestra who continue to tour into 2009. With the passing of Kelly Groucutt, Glen Burtnik, of Styx and Beatlemania fame, joined the group. They toured the U.S. in 2009 billed as The Orchestra featuring former members of The Electric Light Orchestra and ELO Part II.

Band Members

  • Bev Bevan - drums, percussion, backing vocals (1989-2000)
  • Louis Clark - keyboards, orchestra arranger and conductor (1989-2000)
  • Eric Troyer - keyboards, vocals, guitar (1989-2000)
  • Pete Haycock - guitar, bass guitar, vocals (1989-1993)
  • Neil Lockwood - guitar, vocals (1990-1993)
  • Kelly Groucutt - bass guitar, vocals (1991-2000)
  • Mik Kaminski - violin (1990-2000)
  • Hugh McDowell - cello (1991-1992)
  • Phil Bates - guitar, vocals (1993-1999)
  • Parthenon Huxley - guitar, vocals (1999-2000)


Discography

  1. Electric Light Orchestra Part Two (1990 US, 1991 UK) #34 UK Albums Chart
  2. Moment of Truth (1994 UK, 1995 US)


Live Albums

  • Performing ELO's Greatest Hits Live Featuring The Moscow Symphony Orchestra (1992)
  • One Night (UK, 1996) 2 CD, (US, 1997) 1 CD


Singles and highest chart positions

Release Date Single UK US Album
1991, March Honest Men #60 - Electric Light Orchestra Part Two
1991 Thousand Eyes - not released Electric Light Orchestra Part Two
1991 For The Love Of A Woman not released - Electric Light Orchestra Part Two
1994 Power Of A Million Lights - not released Moment of Truth
1994 Breakin' Down The Walls - not released Moment of Truth


Videos

  • Performing ELO's Greatest Hits Live Featuring The Moscow Symphony Orchestra (VHS), (1992)
  • Electric Light Orchestra - Part II - One Night Live in Australia '95 (DVD), (1995)
  • Access All Areas (DVD/VHS), (1997) Produced and Directed by George Reed. Running time 58 minutes. Feature includes interviews with band members, live performances, music videos for All Fall Down and Ain't Necessarily So as well as behind the scenes footage.


The Orchestra

By 2000 Bev Bevan had sold his fifty per cent share of the Electric Light Orchestra name as well as the rights to the ELO Part II name to Jeff Lynne. Lynne, now the full owner of the ELO name, took legal action to prevent the band from continuing to call themselves “ELO Part II”. They initially tried to alter their name to “ELO2”, but they eventually submitted and changed their name to The Orchestra.

In 2001 The Orchestra released a limited number of their CD No Rewind which was produced and released without involvement from a major record label (but was subsequently released in Argentinamarker by Art Music in 2005 and reissued worldwide in 2006). The album contains The Orchestra's best known non-ELO song, Over London Skies, a loving homage to the classic ELO sound in Jewel & Johnny and a cover of Twist and Shout which begins in a slow, plaintive minor key with arpeggiated chords before building to the familiar, rocking major progression. With the release of No Rewind, The Orchestra worked more original material into their set, with Jewel & Johnny and the album's title song becoming staples. The band continues to tour and regularly sells out shows in Chilemarker, Argentinamarker, the UKmarker, Eastern Europe and elsewhere around the world.

In late 2004, a legal dispute almost erupted between The Orchestra and a Florida-based rock band called theOrchestra, but the issue was settled out-of-court.

The Orchestra toured the UK extensively in 2006 following the re-issue of No Rewind. The band were promoted using the descriptive phrase "Electric Light Orchestra Part II Former Members". Lynne sued The Orchestra, claiming copyright infringement. The matter went to litigation and in August, 2006, a Los Angeles judge ruled in favour of the members of The Orchestra.

During The Orchestra's 2006 UK tour, Phil Bates, formerly a member of Trickster, ELO Part II and Bev Bevan's Move, stood in for Parthenon Huxley at a couple of gigs when Huxley had to return unexpectedly to the States. Huxley then left altogether in July 2007 and was replaced permanently by Bates.

In 2008 The Orchestra participated in the Sweden Rock Festival.

On February 18, 2009 the group returned from a sell out concert in Berlin. But a few hours after returning home, Kelly Groucutt collapsed of a massive heart attack and died the following day. The band decided to carry on and brought in former Styx man Glen Burtnik on bass (Glen had filled in for Kelly previously during a 1998 ELO Part II tour when the latter had taken ill). On July 17, 2009 they opened for the Alan Parsons Live Project at DTE Theater in Clarkston, Michigan.Also in 2009 German bassist Ralf Vornberger played with the band in Israel when Glen was unavailable due to other work commitments booked before he joined the band.

Band members

  • Louis Clark - keyboards, orchestral arranger and conductor (2000-)
  • Eric Troyer - keyboards, vocals, guitar (2000-)
  • Kelly Groucutt - bass guitar, vocals (2000-2009, deceased 2-19-2009)
  • Mik Kaminski - violin (2000-)
  • Parthenon Huxley - guitar, vocals (2000-2007)
  • Gordon Townsend - drums (2000-)
  • Phil Bates - guitar, vocals (2007-)
  • Glen Burtnik - bass guitar, vocals (2009-)
  • Ralf Vornberger - bass guitar (brief fill-in for Burtnik 2009)


Discography

  • No Rewind (2001) Mik Kaminski - Violin, Louis Clark - Orchestral Keyboards and String Arrangements, Kelly Groucutt - Bass and Vocals, Eric Troyer - Keyboards and Vocals, Parthenon Huxley - Guitar and Vocals, Gordon Townsend - Drums.


Live Albums



Videos



Live Lineup History

1991 - 1992
  • Bev Bevan - drums, percussion
  • Eric Troyer - keyboards, vocals
  • Neil Lockwood - guitar, keyboards, vocals
  • Pete Haycock - guitar, vocals
  • Louis Clark - keyboards, conductor
  • Kelly Groucutt - bass, vocals
  • Mik Kaminski - violin, keyboards
  • Hugh McDowell - cello
1993 - 1999
  • Bev Bevan - drums, percussion
  • Eric Troyer - keyboards, vocals
  • Louis Clark - keyboards, conductor
  • Kelly Groucutt - bass, vocals
  • Mik Kaminski - violin, keyboards
  • Phil Bates - guitar, vocals
1999 - 2000
  • Bev Bevan - drums, percussion
  • Eric Troyer - keyboards, vocals
  • Louis Clark - keyboards, conductor
  • Kelly Groucutt - bass, vocals
  • Mik Kaminski - violin, keyboards
  • Parthenon Huxley - guitar, vocals
2000 - 2007
  • Eric Troyer - keyboards, vocals
  • Louis Clark - keyboards, conductor
  • Kelly Groucutt - bass, vocals
  • Mik Kaminski - violin, keyboards
  • Parthenon Huxley - guitar, vocals
  • Gordon Townsend - drums, percussion
2007 - 2009
  • Eric Troyer - keyboards, vocals
  • Louis Clark - keyboards, conductor
  • Kelly Groucutt - bass, vocals
  • Mik Kaminski - violin, keyboards
  • Gordon Townsend - drums, percussion
  • Phil Bates - guitar, vocals
2009 - Present
  • Eric Troyer - keyboards, vocals
  • Louis Clark - keyboards, conductor
  • Mik Kaminski - violin, keyboards
  • Gordon Townsend - drums, percussion
  • Phil Bates - guitar, vocals
  • Glen Burtnik - bass, vocals


Notes

  1. The P. Hux Chronicles Issue Number Nine


External links




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