Electric Light Orchestra keyboardist Richard Tandy dies aged 76

Virgin Radio

2 May 2024, 08:12

Richard Tandy

Credit: Getty

Tributes are being paid to Electric Light Orchestra's keyboard player Richard Tandy, who has died aged 76. 

The sad news was confirmed by ELO founder and frontman Jeff Lynne, who revealed the news via social media, writing: “It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of my long-time collaborator and dear friend Richard Tandy. 

“He was a remarkable musician & friend and I’ll cherish the lifetime of memories we had together.  Sending all my love to Sheila & the Tandy family.”

Richard, born in Birmingham in 1948,  joined ELO in 1972 and was one of the core members of the band, with Lynne and drummer Bev Bevan, up until the band’s split in 1986. The keyboardist then reunited with Lynne for a reunion in the 2000s before being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. 

Tandy was on hand for several of ELO’s biggest hits including Mr. Blue Sky, Strange Magic, Telephone Line and Xanadu with Olivia Newton-John. They reached mainstream success following the release of 1977 record Out of the Blue, which featured tracks including Turn to Stone and It’s Over. 

1979 album Discovery landed at number one, and was followed by another chart-topper, sci-fi concept Time, in 1981. 

Outside of ELO, Tandy worked with Lynne for other projects, including the Electric Dreams soundtrack and Lynne’s solo record, Armchair Theatre. In the 1980s, Tandy formed Tandy Morgan Band with ELO touring members Dave Morgan and Martin Smith, releasing the concept album Earthrise in 1985.

Tributes have been pouring in for Richard following the news of his death, with the Rock Hall writing on X (formerly Twitter): “In Memoriam: Keyboardist Richard Tandy was an integral part of the sound of 2017 Inductees Electric Light Orchestra. Featured on every one of the band’s albums since 1973’s ELO 2, Tandy co-arranged many of the string parts featured throughout the group’s catalog.

“Playing a range of keyboard instruments, his riffs provided the foundation for hits like “Mr. Blue Sky” and “Evil Woman.” Tandy was crucial in ELO’s creation of a realm where rock and classical music could exist together.”

The thoughts of everyone at Virgin Radio go out to Richard’s friends and Family.