Mr Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne & ELO (2012) Script #hot100 mines the gems from the underground. -- Wired Germany

Funny, shy, ever so clever, great musician, and a total twat.

I've heard some of the end results of what he does when he stays up all night.

The harmonies stack in and, you know, the music is great.

He has done Tom Petty and he has done Paul McCartney, Roy Orbison, George Harrison.

Jeff's music just has something

That's what that was, see?

But he is a... a great, great artist, you know I'm glad you're doing this movie because somebody should.

He's such a great producer and a complete control freak, so he likes to, you know, do it his way.

He hears the finished thing way before it's done, and to have a musician as complete as he is, it's a real rare, rare thing.

He is... I mean, he's a composer, but he's a recording artist, you know, that's what he really is.

He makes his music.

And that's all he does, really, all day, He makes music every day.

The first band I loved was the Nightriders, yeah, Mike Sheridan and the Nightriders.

I thought they were just absolutely marvellous.

They had the brown mohair suits for a start which convinced me that they were brilliant.

So in 1966, when I saw the column in the newspaper, in the Birmingham Mail, it said, "Keen lead guitarist required for Nightriders,"

I went, "What? That's me."

Since I'd seen 'em, I'd learnt how to play and I was ready to join, you know.

"I hope I get in this thing 'cause it's professional."

And I'd been doing all these horrible little menial jobs, you know, 'cause I didn't really wanna go to work.

I wanted to play my guitar.

Hey, Lucy.

So I've got lovely memories of those days.

Ah, that's better.


You have certain styles and certain favourite passages in music that have tickled you probably since you were an infant, and I know that for a fact

'cause there was a film called The High and the Mighty that I saw when I was probably about...

I went with my mum and dad to the cinema in Birmingham.

I would be about five or something, and the signature tune to it...

I remember being knocked out by it.

Oh, what a tune that is.

But I can understand where my taste in chords and things comes from and it comes from way, way back from being a tiny kid.


This is my very first guitar that my dad got for me for £2 from his friend and I've had it all these...

I've had it for, Gordon Bennett, 43 years.

So... Hang on. 40...

Something like that. A lot.

And it was kind of hard to play when I first got it, but now, as you can see... plays beautifully and easily.

A real old banger, and this is the guitar that I wrote all my first songs on.

And if you come in this way, I'll show you my first studio...

...which is right there.

And that's called the BNO 2000 Deluxe.

And what you can do on that is multi-track, even though it's only a stereo tape recorder.

You just bounce from the left to the right and back to the left and keep adding instruments as you go.

And this is how I did... this is how I started out, basically, as a songwriter and a producer.

This taught me how to be a producer and this taught me how to be a songwriter, so not bad.

What first got me interested in music was my dad, really.

He used to have a great record collection but of all classical music and a lot of these great writers.

♪ And you enter sweet desire

♪ You took me

♪ Whoa-oh Higher and higher, baby

♪ It's a living thing

♪ It's a terrible thing to lose

♪ It's a given thing

♪ What a terrible thing to lose

♪ I'm takin' a dive

♪ On the slide

It was always like a... a nightmare getting up at like 7:30 or something to go...

It was dark and I had to go on the bloody bus.

Go upstairs on the bus and everybody's like coughing up their guts.

And you can't see through the air in there

'cause everybody smoked in them days.

It was vile, and then you get off the other end and you've gotta spend eight hours in this place where you don't really wanna be at all.

That's why I used to have a guitar stashed somewhere.

You know, and one day I'd look when nobody's coming, put it behind some cupboard and then just pretend there's nothing there.

Nothing... "I don't know anything about it."

"Whose it that?" "Bloody hell. I'll have it."

It was so marvellous when I didn't have to go to work that first day and I knew all I'd gotta do was go and practise, and it was just the best fun you could ever have, and get paid for it an' all.

The great thing was that I had a drawer full of money and my mum one day said, "Where the hell did all that money come from in that drawer?

She thought I'd nicked it or something.

I said, "I've earned it, Mum, playing music."

"Don't be ridiculous. Where did you get that from?"

She just wasn't a big fan, I guess.

Making their first appearance on our show this week is a great new group from Birmingham, The Idle Race.

Well, let's have a word with one of them.

Roger, you've got how many records released at the moment?

It's not the same one in America that you have elsewhere, is it?

We have two, one in America, which is Here We Go Round the Lemon Tree, and the song written by Jeff Lynne, our lead guitarist, which is called Impostors of Life's Magazine.

Well let's give that a whirl, now, can we?

Yeah, sure.

♪ How do you know what you feel

♪ Is it real Is it real?

So in The Idle Race we finally got a record deal, so I wrote this song called Impostors of Life's Magazine.

And I can't wait for this thing to arrive in the mail, this record that I've made, and it's gonna have my name on the label.

I'm going, "Whoa! I'm gonna be a songwriter."

The thing comes and I look at it and I go, "What the hell is that?"

And it says, "Impostors of Life's Magazine by G Lynn" without the E on the end, just L-Y-N-N.

And G, I thought, "Who's that? Gordon?"

You know, "I don't know any G Lynn round here."

So I was very, very disappointed, very upset, 'cause, you know, it was really my big moment and it just turned to shit.

♪ Impostors of life's magazine

♪ Impostors of life's...

I loved it because we played all the pubs in Birmingham and it was the best apprenticeship, if you like, for musicians that you could ever have, because you play in a different pub every night, or a club, or the town hall or somewhere, you know, a bit further afield.

It was quite... It got to be bigger and bigger as we played.

And I loved playing with The Idle Race a lot.

After four years I decided I'd join The Move, with Bev Bevan and Roy Wood.

We stayed as The Move for a couple of years while we made this album called Electric Light Orchestra which was what we decided to call it when me and Roy used to hang out at clubs in Birmingham and discussed this group with strings.

♪ Did you see your friend crying from his eyes today...

10538 was the first one I'd eve written that got in the top ten so that was a big start.

It was odd because I wasn't really aware too much of ELO, but when I went to the concert, I realised I knew every song.

It was extraordinary.

So I sort of did know, you know, from the radio.

I just didn't put 'em all together and go Jeff, ELO.

I think it's always a big mistake he left The Idle Race.

I think that's a much better title for a group.

Roy left after about three months and he never told us he was leaving.

He just disappeared and had this other group called Wizzard You know, it was a shame at the time, but also it proved to be a big opportunity for me because I was now the sole songwriter and the producer.

I'd been doing sessions for The Move and things before Jeff joined.

Then he joined The Move as well and...

And then they formed ELO and asked me to join, and I said yes and...

I think they wanted somebody who could play a bit of piano, a bit of guitar, a bit of bass and a bit of singing.

Just to help out the various other multi-instrumentalists in the group, and that's what I did.

I invited Richard over to play with me on this film because he's a great piano player, and he's also a great guitar player, but the reason I wanted him there was 'cause he was there at the very start.

That's it.

Merci beaucoup. See you all next week.

♪ Did you hear what he said?

♪ He said they sold me down the river

♪ They thought I... thought I was a fool...

♪ Said the rain would fall

♪ What did they know?

♪ Then I saw your face

♪ Heard the song that you were singing

♪ Though I thought I knew the words

♪ The tune was quite absurd

♪ And out of key

♪ Doo dah dah Dee

♪ I'm steppin' out...

Usually when I start to write a song, a new one, you know, you'll be either messing round on the piano or the guitar and the first thing that comes is really like two or three chords in sequence You go, "Mm, that's interesting."

And you try and work on those two or three chords and sort of stretch it out to a fourth and a fifth, then you've got a tune going through it.

And your little tune's wandering in it and you're going, "Mm, this is good."

And some songs, you can finish 'em in 15 minutes and some can take three months.

You never know how a song is gonna develop.

♪ I'm steppin' out I'm steppin' out

♪ I'm steppin' out I'm steppin' out

♪ I'm steppin' out

♪ Steppin' out

♪ Steppin' out

That's it. I had it there.

When the Heartbreakers first kicked up, I had bought one of those... the first ghetto blasters, you know.

It was a Sony, made out of metal, this really industrial ghetto blaster.

And you couldn't buy many...

Cassettes were just becoming a thing and there weren't many for sale, but they had an ELO one for sale and I bought that and I carried it around with me on tour.

And I played it all the time and I really liked it and I thought, you know, just what a record maker this guy is.

They say everyone was borrowing from the people they admired.

And so, you know, when I heard ELO, it was very what we'd been doing on Sergeant Pepper, this sort of...

Cellos, you know, and...

You know, very much what we'd been into, very sort of mathematical strings.

And so I think the first thing was, "Ooh, that's... I know where he got that from."

But then you can't resist it. It's just so good.

You go, "Oh, God, it's a bloody good song."

"Wish we'd done that one." You know.

"God, he's nailed those strings.

"He's singing it great. That guitar's good."

♪ I'll tell you once more before I get off the floor

♪ Don't bring me down

♪ Don't bring me down

♪ Grroosss

♪ Don't bring me down

♪ Grroosss I actually saw ELO play with the full spaceship and everything.

That was the first time I saw Jeff or met Jeff.

He was coming out of a big spaceship with lots of robots and then we went to his house.

I ended up throwing a dart into his dart board and it bounced off and went in my arm.

So I remember that day.

♪ Don't bring me down

♪ No, no, no, no, no

♪ Whoo-oo-oo

♪ I'll tell you once more before I get off the floor

♪ Don't bring me down You know, if you listen to something like Mr Blue Sky... you know, I hear it a lot in ads now and... or in movies, and I think it was in a movie I watched recently, and it was just... it's just amazing, you know.

And it's... it's not derivative.

It's... It's not...

It's not really coming from anybody but Jeff.

Nobody could do it quite like that.

And I think he's...

He's not noticed enough for what he does, really.

I mean, all those records are just incredible.

You know, I mean, I'm a sucker for sort of the hits, so Mr Blue Sky is a pretty special song.

It's probably the one that everyone would choose, so it's a bit boring to choose it.

But it is great. I mean, it just works.

And if you're in the car and it's a nice day, it really works.

You know, I re-recorded all of my old songs.

When I heard them, either on the radio or just happened to play them, they just didn't have the sound I remembered or thought I'd got on them in the day I did 'em.

Some of 'em are like 35, 36 years old, 37.

So they are quite old, you know and they were made on 16 track or 8 track.

It was just nice to have all this facility of Pro Tools and just re-do 'em all in my own time and just...

In the old days I'd have to do them in like six weeks, write it, record it, get in there, finish it and be on tour playing them.

But now I've got time to get 'em exactly as I really want them.

And luckily I've managed to do it, I hope.

Yeah, yeah, OK, OK.

OK, that was good. Cut 'em both.

- Yeah. Good, OK.

- Two good ones. Yeah.

So, anyway, that's that one done.

♪ Well, I heard the crowd singin' out of tune

♪ As they sat and sang Auld Lang Syne

♪ By the light of the moon

♪ I heard the preachers bangin' on the drums

♪ And I heard the police playin' with their guns

♪ But I...

♪ I...

♪ Never heard nothin' like you

Just about every ELO single killed me.

The first time I noticed him was when The Move cut Do Ya...

I thought that was just this incredible thing, and it was, and then he later did it with ELO and it was a whole new look at that song that was really good.

I knew I could make 'em better because I had all these years of experience, like working with George and Paul and Roy Orbison and Tom Petty and all these fantastic people.

I've learned so much working with them, you know.

I mean, hopefully they learned a bit working with me too.

♪ Well, I think you know what I'm trying to say, woman

♪ That is I'd like to save you for a rainy day, yeah

♪ I've seen enough of the world to know

♪ That I gotta get it all to get it all to grow

♪ Do ya, do ya want my love?

♪ Come on now

♪ Do ya, do ya want my face?

♪ I need it

♪ Do ya, do ya want my mind?

♪ All right, yeah!

♪ Do ya, do ya want my love?

♪ Oh, look out!

♪ Do ya, do ya want my love?

♪ Do ya, do ya want my love?

♪ Oh, oh!

♪ Only the lonely

♪ Only the lonely...

Only The Lonely, I suppose, is the first one of those thing when I was real young that I heard and thought, "My God, how does that happen? What is that? How does it work?

"How do all these people know what they're doing?"

Like it seems like hundreds in the studio.

Obviously it doesn't sound that big now, but it still sounds pretty big, I tell you.

♪ There goes my baby

♪ And there goes my heart

♪ And they're gone forever

♪ So far apart

♪ But only the lonely...

It sounds fantastic, and then there's all these other people and strings and backing vocalists and guitar players, drummer.

And they're all doing it once, in one go, and that to me is like... I never wanna have to do that.

I don't wanna have to set that up, that session.

That's not my scene.

Mine is the opposite to that, I like to do it one at a time, but still come out with the same result at the end We had a telephone call, like from management... and that Jeff Lynne was trying to reach Roy Orbison.

And so we allowed the number to be given to Jeff.

And so maybe three hours later the telephone rang and I said, "Hello."

And nobody said anything.

I said, "Hello?" and a click.

Then somebody called again.

And I knew it was Jeff intuitively.

And then somebody called again. And I said, "Hello?"

And there was a moment of silence and then somebody said, "It's Jeff Lynne. Could I talk to Roy Orbison?"

And I said, "Yes, he's waiting for you."

♪ California blue

Thank you and come back next week.

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, and that was my latest song.

Wonderful as it might be.

Ah Roy Orbison was just astonishing because he could just open his... not even open his mouth.

You'd stand there by the mic an you'd say, "Has he started yet?

And it'd just come out gradually.

He was just pretending to sing it.

OK. You don't want me to go...

♪ Still missing you

♪ California blue

No, it's... it's really what you hear, you know?

And then... And then he'd go, "OK, let's do a take."

He'd say, "OK, I think I've got it. Let's try it."

And you'd... you'd... you'd start and you go, blam!

All the needles would bend and it'd be like so loud.

It was like 100 times louder than when he was practising it, you know, so it always used to take you by big surprise.

♪ California blue

And it was Jeff, really, that got him back and made him comfortable with recording again and really completely revitalised Roy's career.

We went to the studio here in Los Angeles. He called.

And it was Roy and Roy Junior and myself, and we went to listen to the songs.

And the first one that Jeff played for Roy was A Love So Beautiful.

♪ Too young to understand

♪ To ever know

♪ That lovers drift apart

♪ And that's the way love goes

♪ A love so beautiful

♪ A love...

And it was so amazing for Jeff to play the song for Roy.

And, you know, Roy, Kelton and I, we were just, you know, in the background, and Roy listening to what Jeff had done to the song, and he just started crying, and we had never seen that.

I mean, I had been married to Roy for 20 years, and, you know, I mean...

Roy Junior had been in many studios with him and to see that emotion in Roy.

And then Jeff looking and Jeff not knowing, I mean, what to do with Roy just sitting there and having tears roll down his face.

Then the good part came.

Thank God you got it as up tempo.

♪ Anything you want, you got it

♪ Anything you need, you got it

♪ Anything at all, you got it

♪ Baby

And we got out of the tears.

But it was just so incredible to see, you know.

Roy always liked finding...

He probably listened to something that just totally surprised him, that he didn't think Jeff could add to the song, you know?

George wanted a producer for an album and he hadn't recorded an album for like eight, nine years.

He wanted someone to help him and he had just really started listening to Jeff's music.

I think Telephone Line was on, although that's an obvious one, but it is a very catchy song.

And that was on the jukebox for a long time before we met Jeff.

So we kind of felt we knew him when we did meet him.

♪ Hello

♪ How are you?

♪ Have you been all right

♪ Through all those lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely nights?

And I think everybody's... had an experience where, you know, they've had a bad telephone call with somebody they care about, and the... and the way it gets to you, and I think he captured that.

♪ Hey

♪ How you feelin'?

♪ Are you still the same?

♪ Don't you realise the things we did, we did are for real?

♪ Not a dream

♪ I just can't believe

♪ They've all faded out of view

♪ Whoa Dave Edmunds told me that George was looking for me, George Harrison, and would like to work with me on his new album.

You know, once he decided to do an album and he decided he'd do it with somebody whose music he liked, and he got to know Jeff, that whole process happened.

George wanted to make sure we were good pals before we started, so... we went to Australia to watch the Grand Prix.

Hanging out with George Harrison, you know, and I'm going, "This is like the best thing."

And, of course, when you're with George, you can get in anywhere.

And anything you want. "What would you like?"

"Can we see the cars, like, and that?"

"Yeah, you can have a sit in 'em."

You know, in the racing cars in the Formula 1.

You're going, "Shit, this is brilliant."

We'd go there in a helicopter, of course. You don't mess about.

They worked all day and came out, took a break, played a bit of cricket on the lawn, went back in, you know, had dinner, then maybe would go in and hang out and listen and then sort of the fun began.

But they were very, you know, serious about when they were working but unhinged when they weren't, you know.

♪ I got my mind set on you

♪ Set on you

♪ I got my mind set on you

♪ Set on you

♪ But it's gonna take money

♪ A whole lot of spending money It sounds great to this day and it kind of defined that next sort of period of my dad and Jeff and the sound they were getting.

You know, Jeff and George were similar characters in their humour and their northern upbringing.

Not too far apart in age. Maybe they were like...

George might have been like the older brother.

We were great pals for like about 16, 17 years.

It was a marvellous time just to be working with him then in the studio.

And, I mean, I actually literally kept pinching myself.

They were very... Just you see two people that just click.

They just...

They came from a... a point of... reference that was just too close for them not to... not to hit it off.

And they... they loved each other's music.

It was Full Moon Fever time as well, wasn't it?

That was when Jeff had just done Tom's record.

And I remember that record playing continuously.

And I still... I love that record.

That's one of my favourite records.

Yeah, we should do some of them as well.

Really? Yeah, maybe.

Just try like a moving one.

Bluesy, man. Yeah.

At the time, I was renting a house in Beverly Hills

and I was driving down the road on an errand, and I pulled up at the light and looked over and there was Jeff.

Somebody kept tooting the horn at me and I looked and it was Tom, Tom Petty.

And I'd only met him once before and that was at a concert with Bob Dylan.

He was backing Bob Dylan.

His group, the Heartbreakers, were backing Bob.

And he stopped me.

I pulled over, I got out and we had a chat.

And he said... "Wow," he said.

"We're just playing George Harrison's new album and it sounds fantastic."

"Do you fancy writing some songs together and see what happens?"

I said, "Sure, I'd love to."

We played guitars quite a bit, hanging around, and we wrote a couple of songs together, you know.

I had one and he helped me finish it off.

And the next song we wrote was Free Fallin', and so we had the two songs.

It was the Christmas holiday, so there weren't many people around, so we called Mike Campbell, 'cause he had a studio, and we went over there and just made those records.

♪ She's a good girl

♪ Loves her mama

♪ Loves Jesus

♪ And America too And he was kind of leaning over the piano, as I remember it, and he said, "Free fallin'," you know, and I sang it, but I could only get half the word in.

♪ Free And then I put in... ♪ Free fallin'

And he's like, "That's it!"

♪ Now I'm free

♪ Free fallin'

♪ Oh!

♪ Free fallin'

♪ Free fallin'

♪ I'm free...

And so we started work on a couple of songs.

We did about two or three to start with and it was...

We got on really good as well, no problem.

We made 'em in Mike Campbell's garage.

And that was all thanks to George as well, really.

♪ Back then, long time ago when grass was green

♪ Woke up in a daze...

So when I was working with George on Cloud Nine, we used to hang out every night after the sessions, listen back to what we'd done in the daytime, and George had this idea that..

He said to me, "You know what, me and you should have a group."

And, I said, "Wow, that's a good idea. What a smashing thing."

And I said, "Who would we have in it?"

And he said, "Well, how about Bob Dylan?"

I said, "Yeah, that's a good idea."

And then I said, "How about Roy Orbison?"

He said, "That's a good idea."

Oh, bollocks.

Sorry, loves. I've gotta turn this off somehow.

So, anyway, this was like...

This went on for a few... I suppose, a couple of weeks.


everybody agreed, and then... and I thought, "Wow, what about Tom?"

The Traveling Wilburys came along and so we spent even more time together.

And I think in the Traveling Wilburys, he's often overlooked.

His contribution was so huge, you know, it was...

There couldn't have been a Traveling Wilburys without Jeff.

My dad had just had dinner with Roy, so it all just kind of worked out.

Bob had the studio, Tom had my dad's guitars, Jeff was doing Tom's record, so they all just got together.

♪ Been beat up and battered around

♪ Been sent up and I've been shot down

♪ You're the best thing that I've ever found

♪ Handle me with care So that's how it happened, and we just got together one day and started jamming round this table.

And I remember Bob was a bit late and we were all going, "Ooh, Bob's late."

Anyway, the first one, George had half of it written already, and it was called Handle With Care, and that was the first single.

Really, the Wilburys came together as sort of... again, just something that happened, you couldn't make it happen, they just came together.

But they had a lot of fun and they made some great music.

And I think for George it was one of the most enjoyable times I'd ever seen him have, you know, like in 30 years.

He just, he really enjoyed... And I guess they all did.

So I take it... ls this the front here?

Or is this the front, that bit?

Is it that bit there or is it...?

It's kind of a broad space. Yeah.

It's right here.

Bill, can we just give you a level of what we're doing and see if we get a good balance?

There's a Roy Orbison number on the first album called... Not Alone Any More.

♪ It hurt like never before

♪ You're not alone any more And that was really Jeff and Roy's song.

I mean, we all contributed a little bit, but in the end, you know, they had the handle on that one And so really the rest of us kind of backed off and let them go.

And they... they wrote this song. We recorded it.

No one was really happy with it you know?

I think we all thought, "Better write another song, 'cause this one's not... not doing it."

Well, that is not good enough for Jeff Lynne.

He... He came in the next day, stripped the song.

He had the lead vocal and the drums.

And he completely re-wrote the song... around this lead vocal that was there... and wrote this incredible song, you know.

And now it's one of my favourite ones on the album.

And there's nobody that could do that.

♪ Well, it's all right

♪ As long as you've got somewhere to lay

♪ Well, it's all right

♪ Every day is just one day

The first album was doing fantastically well.

It was in the top five and just an amazing reaction.

People were really loving it.

And right then Roy died. Very sad.

The End of the Line, we did like a tribute to Roy by doing the video with just a rocking chair with his guitar in it.

That was our symbol for Roy, you know, and our tribute.

And it's pretty poignant, really.

And Roy's not with us any more, which is a tragedy.

Bands get together and there's a magic there.

And it lasts as long as it lasts.

But when it's a true band, and it's the band's time, there's a... a... a magic to it.

And the Wilburys are truly one of those special chemistries, making really special music.

♪ Even if you're old and Grey

♪ Well, it's all right

♪ You still got something to say

I think we both loved a lot of the same music.

We... We discovered that we had both produced Del Shannon.

♪ Walk away Every time, right?

♪ Walk away If you think it's a good idea.

Yeah, let's try that.

You know what also might be good?

What? Hand claps and a bongo.

Hand claps and a bongo? Shit, I came to the right session.

My specialty, man.

I think Jeff's...

If you wanna define his three biggest influences, I think they'd be Del Shannon, Roy Orbison and the Beatles.

And maybe in that order.

♪ The one who understands

♪ What I've gotta do

♪ I've gotta find a place to hide

♪ With my baby by my side Who would have thought one day that Del Shannon would actually come to my house in Shard End and we'd do a demo together on my tape recorder?

It was fantastic, really. I was so thrilled to know Del.

♪ We've gotta keep searching, searching

♪ Find a place to hide

♪ Searching, searching I just thought he was like amazingly wacky and zany, you know what I mean?

It turns out he was always a little bit pissed all the time.

But I loved him so much. He was such a sweetheart.

I started to take notice of the Beatles in '63.

It was all a bit wishy-washy before that.

The '60s really did change things and it was the Beatle revolution.

The Beatles did come along and they represented something that just set fire to all these fumes that were waiting to be set fire to.

Well, he wasn't there by accident.

It's a pretty good compliment that the Beatles got back together and hired you to be the producer.

That's, you know...

I'm sure they could have got anyone they wanted.

I think it was George who said, "No, we need a producer."

It could be dangerous just to all go in the studio.

It could get nasty.

'Cause you've got egos, you know, flying around, surprisingly-

So, yeah, Jeff's name came up and it was like, "Yeah, oh, that's good, yeah."

You know, we really got to know Jeff.

I mean, I got to know him hanging out with him and George, but then we really got to know him on Free as a Bird and he was a lifesaver on that.

And, you know, he put that cassette together and that was all playing, and it was interesting, because the three of us felt comfortable with him.

He'd worked with George, and so George said, you know, "I think Jeff would be great."

And so it was like, we decided yeah.

We loved his work anyway, and it was a good idea for who to produce the Free as a Bird thing, 'cause it was a kind of difficult record to make for a producer.

It was really quite scary, because I didn't know Paul very well at all.

I'd only met him a couple of times before that.

And... he was a bit worried about me

'cause I was George's pal and he wondered if it was gonna be a little bit one-sided, you know, and not... not in the spirit of things.

But he needn't have worried

'cause I was totally into the spirit of things.

♪ Just like little girls and boys

♪ Playing with their little toys

♪ Seems like all we really were doing

♪ Was waiting for love I don't think those records, the Free as a Bird record and Real Love, I think you really needed him... they would have really needed him to pull that off, because it was such a major job, you know, to take that really shaky cassette recording they had of John.

And it was a crackly old thing, you know.

It was a cassette, and you don't use that.

You normally make your demos on cassettes and then make a proper record and get rid of all the crackling and the hiss and everything.

But Jeff was very good in that respect too, 'cause he took the cassette tape and he put it in time.

♪ Free

♪ As a bird He didn't interfere with anything but the vocal phrases, 'cause it's a demo, nobody cares about time, and if we were gonna work...

And Jeff is very precise.

That's one of the things I love about him.

You know, his stuff just... it just rolls out and there's not a thing wrong.

You know, you listen to it, so... and then you stop listening to it so precisely and it just rolls over you.

It's like, "Ooh, I love this!"

♪ Free

♪ As a bird Jeff was very good because he's... he's very diplomatic and, you know, he lets you do your thing, and he's just sort of the controller.

He just makes sure it's all right.

The first afternoon, really, was just banter, you know.

It was all the three of them.

They hadn't been in the same room for years.

And so I'm just sitting there with them, like in the club with them, you know.

And it's just like, "Wow, I'm in the Beatles club."

And it's like... and it's like a club meeting and having a reminisce.

It was just superb. It was like...

Hamburg stories, you know, all the Liverpool stories.

It was just magnificent.

And I was just willing just to sit there forever and not ever do a bit of work and just listen to these stories.

They were the stories you sort of almost knew, but these are the real, you know, the real kind of... the real thing, the real, actual, as it really happened.

So when we came in to do it,

we had John in the ears, you know, and we just played along with it.

I'm not sure how we started it. Jeff will remember better.

I know I played bass.

It was so hard to do.

I mean, because, laying that voice in there, which has got a piano glued to it, was really difficult, you know.

It was almost... virtually impossible.

But we got it done somehow.

And Paul really helped on that because he sort of ghosted John's voice a little bit underneath.

And it was... It came out really good in the end.

For what it started out as, it was amazing, so I'm pretty chuffed with it.

But I think, you know, Jeff was in a perfect position, really, to produce those... Free as a Bird and Real Love.

You know, he was just... again, had the right sensibilities.

He wasn't gonna take it somewhere completely different.

And, you know, he had the respect for what they wanted to do, obviously.

And he's told me about, you know, how hard it was.

He did a lot of work there and I'm sure... over to Paul McCartney to explain that.

That was it, we had the cassette of John and we just gradually built it up.

Did this, did that, put a bit of bass on, guitar.

George ended up putting the slide on, which was like the final icing on the cake.

We sang.

But I think for all of us, the most exciting thing was, even though John was no longer on this planet, here he was in the studio with us.

And it was very special, you know, it was all of us like, "Wow!"

I mean, very... you know, big, big moment.

I think my dad brought Jeff in and I think that was a big...

Everyone was like, "Whoa, what's going on here?"

And he was the only one that could have done that at the time, his meticulous nature, and they didn't have Pro Tools.

There were, you know, aggregate time clocks for the John Lennon piano track, but then they had to phase out the vocals and fly back in.

I mean, it was just right down Jeff's street, you know, and what they were left with was Real Love and Free as a Bird, which had, you know, they stand the test of time, they sound like the Beatles, but it's, you know...

Jeff was perfect for that role.

Neil Aspinall comes looking for me, which was great in itself.

But he said... "Oh, can you come in the studio a sec, Jeff?"

"Paul and George want you to check these harmonies they're just doing, they're working out."

And I thought, "What? Me check 'em?"

"OK, I'll fucking do it." Hoo-hoo!

You know, it's quite astonishing, really.

It's something you'd never expect to happen.

And there it was, and I was checking them, and they were brilliant.

The harmonies sounded great, we recorded them straightaway and then the sessions went along really well after that.

George wouldn't have let... they wouldn't have let anything out, same, any of them, if they weren't satisfied with what they did.

So, you know, I think that's... It says a lot for Jeff.

If we didn't like it, it didn't matter if John Lennon wrote it or Paul McCartney or George Harrison wrote it, it was like, "No."

And we'd go, "All right, forget it."

"I'll think of something else."

It kept you on your mettle, you know, you'd get chucked out, you know, so that's good.

But they were three that we liked.

Free as a Bird, Real Love, so those were the two that we did.

And there was another one that we started working on, but George went off it.

"Fucking 'ell. Fucking rubbish, this is."

It was like, "No, George, this is John."

"It's still fucking rubbish, you know."

"Oh, OK, then."

So that one... that one's still lingering around, so I'm going to nick in with Jeff and do it, finish it, one of these days.

We've always had a constant fight, Jeff and I, because, you know, he always wants the click track.

He wants the click and I keep saying, "I am the fucking click!"

Of course, when we got the song finished, I'll never forget, Paul came and gave me a big hug and he said, "Well done. You've done it."

So I was chuffed about that and that's how it went.

You know, I mean, he had along run of huge hit singles.

And sometimes when you have a lot of hit singles and you're on... or at least in those days, it's probably still true today, you know, when you're on the AM radio and you're having a lot of hit singles, critics take that for granted, you know, and they tend to maybe not be as kind to you as they should be, you know, because that's really an art, to make a hit single.

♪ Midnight

♪ On the water

I saw

♪ The ocean's daughter

♪ Walking on a wave she came

♪ Staring as she called my name

♪ And I can't get it out of my head...

To me, pop is the best genre of all because it's got everything.

It's got everything you need, you know.

Elvis, the Beatles... I mean, everything is in there.

All these different millions of styles, and it's just... beautiful pop music.

We're gonna play Electric Light Orchestra from last year, Showdown, which I thought was a great record and I was expecting it to be number one.

And it's a nice group.

I call them Son of Beatles, although they're doing things that we never did obviously.

♪ She cried to the southern win

♪ 'Bout a love that was sure to end

♪ Every dream in her heart was gone

♪ Heading for a showdown

♪ Bad dreamer, what's your name

♪ Looks like we're riding on the same train

♪ Looks as though there'll be more pain

♪ There's gonna be a showdown, yeah

♪ And it's raining

♪ All over the world

♪ Raining

♪ All over the world

♪ Tonight the longest night

He's had phases where his music sounded really clean, where it sounded really programmed, or when it sounded really loose and free and orchestral, or, you know, some...

You know, or you've got chanting or you've got orchestras and sometimes it's just, you know...

There's no real way of seeing how he's got there.

He's just... he's got an idea in his head, and whatever it takes him to get that onto tape.

I was coming back from the, you know, to start making records again.

I finally pulled myself together and started to bring myself up and I asked Jeff to produce a couple of tracks, which he did great, and that was the start.

And he was part of that, he was part of me, you know, getting back on track.

There aren't any other producers really like him.

I think he could do whatever he sets his mind to, and...

I've always found him very easy to work with and I always enjoy whatever, you know, I hear that he's done.

Some people like to use a specific microphone all the time for a specific instrument.

I'm not in that school of thought.

I found that Jeff likes to experiment too.

You use a room as the echo that you want, which is always better than some gadget, you know.

The natural sound of air moving has got a magic to it that you can't recreate in a box, I don't think.

You know, every room in his house is part of his studio.

They're all set up.

The furniture is in a certain place for a sound.

And the living room is not really a living room.

It's a recording room, you know.

And depending on what idea he's trying to accomplish depends what room you go play in.

Paul actually said to me when I was working with him, he said, "Oh, you're very thorough, aren't you?"

And I think that's a good thing You know, I look after all the little details and make sure there's not any little bit of stuff that shouldn't be there lurking around.

I'm just trying to get the best sound I can on all stuff.

And, you know, I think...

I do try and get different sounds, you know, different drum sounds and different...

I try and make them old-fashioned, you know, which is a lot of fun, trying to recreate old rooms in new rooms.

I pay attention to things that a lot of people don't.

That's probably one of the things.

Yeah, Jeff likes to work.

You know, he likes to work.

And we're... we're pretty much rocking here all the time.

When I started, there were no rules and regulations.

Nobody cared how loud you had it.

There wasn't little monitors and people snooping round, going, "Hey, what do you think you're doing?" and people with coats on, white coats and that, you know, there weren't any of that.

We come from the same school, you know.

We're old analogue guys trying to figure out the digital world.

He's not interested in fame, he's not interested in money as such.

You know, he doesn't, he's not, you know... he's...

He's one of the most balanced people.

You'd never think of him as a rock 'n' roller.

I had a hit on Broadway and then he had a hit on Broadway, but he never went to his.

And I thought, "That's really kind of cool, you know."

Can we try that once more?

He blew me away. He's doing three albums right now.

Or he may have finished one of them, I don't know.

And he was doing show tunes.

And they were so beautiful.

So beautiful.

Jeff has listened to the, you know, these songs that he likes and re-created them and heard them and put the sort of ELO sound on them.

Just squeeze a bit more... a bit more A200 into that lead guitar.


They've all got their own little worlds that they live in When you learn 'em, it gradually becomes apparent what the important bit's like.

♪ She may be the beauty or the beast

♪ May be the famine or the feast A tiny bit of licence with it.

You can still find little space to put your own little naughty bits in.

♪ She may be the mirror of my dream The first song is called She.

It was recorded by Charles Aznavour and I loved the... I loved the tune so much.

I've always loved it ever since I first heard it in the '60s.

I've done like a thicker version of it, more of a harmony version, like a lot of backing vocals and stuff like that.

How was that?

- Nice. OK, good.

Double that. Double it.

♪ She may be the beauty or the beast

♪ May be the famine or the feast

♪ May turn...

Nice. That's it. That's done.

That's three-part harmony.

That's a three-part harmony right there.

And he's got a great voice.

He's got a really beautiful voice, you know.

Being a singer, you know, it's not easy to do what he does.

Got a really classic voice, you know.

And it's individual voice too, it's distinctive.

You don't... It's nobody else, you know, it's Jeff Lynne.

♪ I'm wild again

♪ Beguiled again What motivated me to go in the direction of these tunes was just really the fact that I'd been listening to them and only thinking about it, never planning on it, you know, but it took me about probably three years of just thinking about it to even start doing it.

I thought, "I've gotta try 'em because now I understand 'em."

He obviously loves all of those songs... and has studied the craft of songwriting and understands it.

And he...

listened to them all very carefully.

And rather than getting some really good session man to come in and play and sing over that,

he spent a lot of time doing stuff himself.

A lot of people wish they could do that, but they can't.

That makes it different. That makes it different.

- In front of you, Jeff. That feels good, don't it?

Yeah, that's great.

I think he really captured the essence of... of all those great old songs.

And I'm not sure quite how he did it.

♪ Smile

♪ Though your heart is aching

♪ Smile

♪ Even though it's breaking...

I've always loved this song and I've always been kind of amazed that Charlie Chaplin wrote it.

What a talented guy.

He'd written some really beautiful tunes, big-time numbers.

And this was one that was very accessible to me, nice and simple and very uplifting and... I enjoy listening to it still, so that's good.

♪ You'll see the sun come shining...

And he had a baby when he was 83.

♪ Just running scared...

Roy actually told me that this was his favourite one that he ever did.

It's a wonderful masterpiece of a tune because it's so simple that it almost defies belief.

♪ Would you choose?

♪ Then all at once...

It's just marvellous. It's like a miniature opera.

To me, it's like a masterpiece anyway, and simplicity itself.

Anyway, Roy was a genius, you know, and a fantastic voice and everything.

I can't really do it justice, but I do it as good as I can do it.

But I can still get up there and hit that note, but only if I use a pair of stepladders.

♪ You turned around and walked away with me

I think, you know, there's been a little period where he did kind of give up, for the last few years.

I'd sort of ring him and say, "You doing something?"

"No, I'm not doing much."

But he's back with a vengeance, from what I can hear.

Let's try one now. Let's do that again now with... with...

I'll put the harmony on it.

Phil. We'll have Phil singing along with Don.

This is how we do it round here.


♪ We used to have...

Eventually you come out with the finished thing that's got all the bits you ever heard plus your new bits that you've added to it.

And it's just like a real nice feeling of accomplishment to have actually got it done, you know, and there's the beginning, there's the middle bit and there's the end.

And it's just... it's all the proper music, just like they did.

♪ Love die

♪ So sad to watch good love go bad Did it Work?

Yeah. OK, good.

We did this song, Mercy, Mercy, and I used to love playing this live all round the pubs of Birmingham.

It's one of my favourite ones to do live

'cause it had everything.

It was nice harmony, easy to sing and nice guitar bits.

Just a great thing for a live group to play.

Songwriter, singer, drummer, guitarist.

You know, you can do it all.

He's not bad at all.

All right, Jeff. How you doing?

All right.

All right, Jeff. How you going?

How you going? All right?

♪ Have mercy

♪ Have mercy, baby

♪ Have mercy

♪ Have mercy on me

♪ Well, I went to see the Gypsy

♪ To have my fortune read

♪ She said, man, your baby's gonna leave you

♪ Her bags are packed up under the bed

♪ I cried, have mercy

♪ Have mercy, baby

♪ Have mercy

♪ Have mercy on me

♪ I said, if you leave me, baby

♪ Girl, if you put me down

♪ I'm going to the nearest river, child

♪ And jump overboard and drown

♪ Don't leave me, have mercy

♪ Have mercy, baby

♪ Have mercy

♪ Have mercy on me

♪ Well, now, hey, baby

♪ Hey, hey, now

♪ What you trying to do?

♪ Hey, hey, baby

♪ Hey, hey, now

♪ Please don't say we're through

♪ I said if you stay, baby

♪ I tell you what I'm gonna do

♪ I'm gonna work two jobs seven days a week

♪ And bring my money home to you

♪ Well, I said, have mercy

♪ Have mercy, baby

♪ Have mercy

♪ Have mercy on me

♪ Have mercy

♪ Have mercy on me

♪ Have mercy

♪ Mercy, baby

♪ Have mercy on me

♪ Have mercy

♪ Have mercy on me Working together was... was great.

'Cause you want someone who can control the situation without appearing to, and that comes from his character.

He just is that kind of guy, you know, that he gets things done, but you wouldn't know he was pulling the strings.

Very modest, innocent in some ways.

At the same time amazingly accomplished.

His music certainly hasn't been overlooked because you hear it.

It's part of the fabric of all our lives.

But the man himself is very shy and retreating, you know.

I don't think you ever saw his picture on an album jacket or anything back in the ELO days.

It's been a real treat working with Jeff.

I mean, as he mentioned, when he was... when he was coming up and he met the Beatles, how he had to pinch himself, and when he was working with the Beatles helped realise that, you know, where he is, working with such great talent, that's basically how I feel.

I think I have like track marks on my arm from pinching myself so many times.

Here's a little song what I wrote about 20 years ago about the climate changing.

Oh, not one of them again. Here we go.

♪ One day the earth woke up and said, boy, I feel half dead

♪ Somebody's churning up the poison

♪ And it's getting in my head

He's a great, great friend.

Jeff will do anything for you if he's your friend.

He's a wonderfully gifted artist.

He plays...

I don't even know how many instruments he plays, but he plays a lot of 'em.

He's a true master of what he does, you know, and I don't know...

You know, it's hard to say it in a way that doesn't sound like it's forced.

I mean, whatever Jeff does is beautiful.

Well, as a man he's been a real pal.

I think he's, you know, he's a very loyal person.

And as a producer he's meticulous.

And as a songwriter he's melodic as can be.

♪ And remember all those trees I had

♪ Well, now there ain't a lot

♪ My eyes kept slowly trickling

♪ Down to where the party's at

♪ And if everybody is a-going there

♪ Well, that's... the end of that

♪ Save me now, save me now

♪ Come on and save me now

♪ Save me now

♪ Save me now

If I hadn't been doing the music, I'd have been really probably not very happy, 'cause just all it was was these black mornings, you know, Grey skies, raining, freezing cold, getting up on the upstairs of the bus, going into town, going to work.

That wasn't really what...

That didn't have any kind of fascination for me at all.

So I'm so glad I got into the.. into the rock 'n' roll music, into the pop and rock.

I had three albums in the top ten as a producer in America, which is quite an amazing thing to have three in the top ten.

And I was nominated for Producer of the Year.

But I didn't get it. That's OK.

I still did the albums and that was more fun than getting that.

♪ And you really got a hold on me

♪ Fab

♪ Long time ago when we was fab...

♪ Been beat up and battered around

♪ Been sent up and I've been shot down

♪ You're the best thing that I've ever found

♪ Handle me with care

♪ Free

♪ As a bird

♪ It's the next best thing to be

♪ Free as a bird...

♪ Every time I look into your loving eyes

♪ I see a love that money just can't buy

♪ One look from you

♪ I drift away

♪ I pray that you

♪ Are here to stay

♪ Anything you want, you got it

♪ Anything you need, you got it

♪ Anything at all, you got it

♪ Baby...


Today's forecast calls for blue skies.

♪ Sun is shining in the sky

♪ There ain't a cloud in sight

♪ It's stopped raining

♪ Everybody's in a play

♪ And don't you know

♪ It's a beautiful new day

♪ Hey, hey

♪ Running down the avenue...

One of the great things about getting the job was to stop my mum banging up the stairs, running up the stairs, shouting

"Hey, come on, you lazy bugger, get up."

And this would be like at 7:30 or eight o'clock in the morning This one morning she did this.

I said, "Hang on, Mum, before you start, I'm not getting up today or ever again."

"I'm a professional musician now."

And you should have seen the look on her face.

♪ Mr Blue Sky, please tell us why

♪ You had to hide away for so long, so long

♪ Where did we go wrong?

♪ Hey, you with the pretty face

♪ Welcome to the human race

♪ A celebration

♪ Mr Blue Sky's up there waitin'

♪ And today is the day we've waited for, ah ah

♪ Mr Blue Sky, please tell us why

♪ You had to hide away for so long, so long

♪ Where did we go wrong?

♪ Hey there, Mr Blue

♪ We're so pleased to be with you

♪ Look around, see what you do

♪ Everybody smiles at you

♪ Mr Blue Sky

♪ Mr Blue Sky

♪ Mr Blue Sky

♪ Mr Blue, you did it right

♪ But soon comes Mr Night

♪ Well, I stuck my finger in a woodpecker's hole

♪ And the Woodpecker said God bless my soul

♪ Take it out, take it out

♪ Take it out, take it out Thank you.