2015: No.49 - £60m
Birmingham-born Jeff Lynne is not just one of the most prolific music performers and producers of the last 40 years, he is also recognised by his peers as being one of the most modest.
He was genuinely over-awed by the ecstatic response to his comeback concert, headlining at the Radio 2 concert in Hyde Park. So much so that a tour is in prospect. He has also been honoured locally with a star on Broad Street’s Walk of Stars and an honorary doctorate from Birmingham City University.
The legendary Electric Light Orchestra front-man was born in Shard End in 1947, going to the local Alderlea Boys’ Secondary School. As a schoolboy he went to see a Del Shannon concert at Birmingham Town Hall and from that moment on was hooked on playing pop music.
In 1963 he formed a group called the The Rockin’ Hellcats. The name was changed to The Andicaps (via The Handicaps which they deemed politically incorrect even in the 1960s) and rehearsed regularly at Shard End Community Centre. The band played at the Regal cinema in Handsworth between Saturday matinee screenings.
In 1964 he joined the The Chads, and then The Nightriders who changed their name to The Idle Race who enjoyed some cult popularity. In 1970 he joined The Move with fellow Midland rockers Roy Wood and Bev Bevan, and they went on to form The Electric Light Orchestra. Roy Wood left in 1972 leaving Jeff Lynne as the band’s creative force.
ELO became a global success through the 1970s, known for their unique sound of memorable songs laced with studio strings, complex production and layered vocals. Their concerts were huge productions featuring spaceship sets and laser shows.
Since ELO Jeff Lynne has become one of the most respected producers in rock music and has worked with the greats of music, including Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Joe Walsh, Brian Wilson, Bryan Adams and Ringo Starr. He had more musical success with the Travelling Wilburys. More recently he has worked with Take That on their latest album.
He has two daughters by his second marriage to Sandi Kapela. In 1995 he sold his 15th century grade II listed Walsh Hall near Meriden to UB40’s Robin Campbell. He now lives in Beverley Hills, California.