From 1959 up to 1966 the band The Nightriders existed including Roy Wood. In 1963 Roy Wood joined the band to leave in 1966 when he started to become famous with his other band The Move. Towards the end of 1966 The Nightriders were contracted by Polydor Records and Jeff Lynne joined the band for one single titled "It's Only The Dog"/"Your Friend". That single was also the last material to be released by the band before changing its name to Idyll Race and then to the Idle Race. They embraced the psychedelic movement with Beatlesque songs. They performed together with other well known bands on stage like the Spencer Davis Group, the Who, Small Faces, Status Quo, Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Yes, Free, and the Move. The debut album of the Idle Race was released in 1968 as "The Birthday Party". Lynne and Wood's mutual respect and friendship deepened during these years. In 1969 Jeff Lynne was invited to join the Move but he refused. When the second Idle Race untitled album failed to chart Jeff Lynne accepted the second invitation by Roy Wood to join the Move. Jeff recorded two albums with the Move "Looking On" and "Message from the Country" and many singles including the first version of "Do Ya" which later would be re-recorded by the Electric Light Orchestra. During the Move Lynne and Wood already developed their plans and recordings for the Electric Light Orchestra.

ELO in 1971

By 1972 the Move was officially transformed into the Electric Light Orchestra. The untitled debut album of the Electric Light Orchestra was released in december 1971. The line-up of the band was based around Lynne, Wood and Bev Bevan. They were the remaining members of the Move. On the album two others can be heared: Bill Hunt on the French Horn and Steve Woolam on violin. In the United Stated the album was released in March 1972 under the title "No Answer". The name was chosen after a record company secretary had tried to ring the UK company to get the name of the album. They were unavailable so she left a note reading "No answer". The album reached #32 in the UK. They performed under both the Move and Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) on television during these days since the last Move album was also released in 1971. The sound they created on the first album is brilliant. Guitars are replaced by sawing cello riffs. The style is described as baroque-and-roll. "10538 Overture" would become the single of the album reaching #9 in the UK. "Mr. Radio" was intented to become the second single but was withdrawn. 

10538 Overture - single cover

In 1972 they released a second album with this line-up including the hit single "Roll Over Beethoven" but was less impressive.

Roy, Bev and Jeff in 1971

After the second album by ELO Roy Wood left the band to form his band Wizzard which became most famous for their christmas single "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday". From then on Lynne became the driving force behind the band.

Original album cover

Electric Light Orchestra / No Answer (1971)
10538 Overture / Look At Me Now / Nellie Takes Her Bow / The Battle Of Marston Moor (July 2nd, 1644) / First Movement (Jumping Biz) / Mr. Radio / Manhattan Rumble (49th Street Massacre) / Queen Of The Hours / Whisper In The Night

10538 Overture

Mister Radio

Look At Me Now