Electric Light Orchestra keyboardist Richard Tandy has died at the age of 76.

Bandleader Jeff Lynne confirmed the news in a brief 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,” he wrote. “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.”

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Richard Tandy’s Life and Career

Born in 1948 in Birmingham, England, Tandy met future ELO drummer Bev Bevan while attending Moseley School. The two first worked together in the Move — which included future ELO members Lynne and Roy Wood — when Tandy contributed keyboards to the band’s chart-topping 1968 hit “Blackberry Way.” Tandy also served as the Move’s touring keyboardist and, later, touring bassist as Trevor Burton recovered from a shoulder injury.

In 1970, Wood, Lynne and Bevan formed ELO, with Tandy soon joining on bass. When Lynne became the group’s leader following Wood’s departure, Tandy switched to keyboards, a position he would maintain for the rest of his time with the band. His vast 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 contributions on 2001’s Zoom and 2019’s From Out of Nowhere, which were essentially Lynne solo ventures.

READ MORE: Top 10 Electric Light Orchestra Songs

“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 told the 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 formed the Tandy Morgan Band with ELO touring members Dave Morgan and Martin Smith, releasing the concept album Earthrise in 1985.

 

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