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Thursday, February 19, 2009

ELO Bassist Kelly Groucutt Dies

As a big ELO fan, I'm sad to report that ELO bassist and excellent backup vocalist Kelly Groucutt has died via a heart attack. He was 63.

While Groucutt left ELO in 1983 and had a major falling out with band mastermind Jeff Lynne -- he was not invited back to Lynne's brief 2001 reactivation of ELO -- it was Groucutt's harmonies with Lynne that really helped define the ELO sound. Give a listen to all the albums on which Groucutt sang -- starting with 1975's Face the Music, his first with the band, and up to his last, 1981's Time -- and then listen to all the records ELO made without him. He had a pitch perfect sound that meshed amazingly well with Lynne's rich voice, and gave birth to ELO's great high-pitch harmonies. That influence can be heard today in bands everywhere, from The Apples in Stereo to Grandaddy to Supper Furry Animals.

Anyway, he was a great singer and a good bassist (and had an awesome fro!). Check out "Shine a Little Love" in the video below, which features a great bassline and harmonies from Groucutt.

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