Jeff Lynne leads tributes to ELO keyboardist Richard Tandy, who has died aged 76

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The iconic Birmingham-born ELO keyboardist Richard Tandy has died. Jeff Lynne leads the tributes

Richard Tandy, the keyboardist for the iconic Birmingham band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) has died at the age of 76.

The news was broken on social media by ELO’s lead singer and songwriter Jeff Lynne, who took to Instagram to write: “It’s with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of my long-time collaborator and friend Richard Tandy.”

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“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 Birmingham, Tandy is one of 15 musicians from the West Midlands to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was inducted as part of ELO in 2017, alongside Lynne and the other band members.

Keyboard player Richard Tandy of English rock group The Electric Light Orchestra, February 1985. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)Keyboard player Richard Tandy of English rock group The Electric Light Orchestra, February 1985. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Keyboard player Richard Tandy of English rock group The Electric Light Orchestra, February 1985. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images) | Michael Putland/Getty Images

He met fellow ELO band member Bev Bevan at the Moseley School and in 1972 served as the bassist in the first live line-up of ELO (originally a side project of The Move), before becoming the band's full-time keyboardist.

It would be the song Mr Blue Sky that would propel Tandy into the spotlight more; the musician provided vocals for the track that has been described as the band's signature song.

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Taken from the 1977 album Out of the Blue, the song peaked at number six on the UK singles chart a year later, but it would be its use in modern times that earned it a renewed lease of life.

Tandy played various instruments such as the Minimoog synthesizer, Wurlitzer electric piano, clavinet, Mellotron and piano, which contributed significantly to shaping the band's unique futuristic sound.

Tandy lived variously in Birmingham, France, and Los Angeles  but by the early-to-mid 2010s, he had resided in Wales.

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