"He was a remarkable musician and friend." Jeff Lynne pays tribute to Electric Light Orchestra keyboard player Richard Tandy, who has died aged 76

Richard Tandy
(Image credit: Getty Images/Fin Costello)

Electric Light Orchestra keyboard payer Richard Tandy has died, aged 76, his longstanding bandmate Jeff Lynne has confirmed.

In a statement on social media this evening, Lynne said, "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 and friend and I’ll cherish the lifetime of memories we had together. Sending all my love to Sheila and the Tandy family. Jeff Lynne"

Tandy was notably the only member of the band who featured in all three incarnations, alongside Lynne. He joined ELO in 1971, a year after their formation, and remained until Lynne disbanded the group in 1986, following that year's Balance Of Power album. Alongside Lynne he was in the band for the short-lived reformation from 2000-2001 on the back of the Zoom album – the only member from the band's earlier incarnation to do so – and was again by Lynne's side when he resurrected the band, again with no other former members, for their most recent run of success in 2014.

Born in Birmingham on March 24, 1947, Tandy was at school with future Move and ELO drummer Bev Bevan. Tandy would go on to play harpsichord on The Move's 1968 Number One hit Blackberry Way, and even fill in on bass for the band for a short time.

Tandy also played bass for ELO during his first year with the band, before moving to keyboards, where his lush sound helped propel the band and their mix of progressive rock and Beatles-esque pop to the top of the charts in the late 70s. From the band's 1974 album Elodorado onwards he, along with Lynne and musician and arranger Louis Clark would arrange the band's famous string arrangements.

Tandy appeared on every ELO album aside from their 1971 self-titled debut and 2015's comeback album (as Jeff Lynne's ELO) Alone In The Universe, on which Lynne himself performed all instruments, but was credited with a piano solo on the track One More Time from 2019's From Out Of Nowhere.

Outside of ELO he formed The Tandy Morgan Band with fellow Birmingham musician Dave Morgan (who had played with Magnum) and released the concept album Earthrise in 1985.

In March Lynne had announced US dates for what was being billed as ELO's final tour, Over And Out.

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.