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Richard Tandy, Keyboardist for Electric Light Orchestra, Dies at 76


Richard Tandy, the keyboardist for the British rock band Electric Light Orchestra, whose riffs helped define the futuristic blend of Beatles-esque pop and orchestral arrangements that catapulted the group to global fame in the 1970s, has died. He was 76.

His death was announced by Jeff Lynne, the band’s frontman and leader, in a social media post. Mr. Lynne, who called Mr. Tandy his “longtime collaborator,” did not specify when Mr. Tandy had died or the cause of death.

Born on March 26, 1948, in Birmingham, England, Mr. Tandy first entered the orbit of E.L.O. by playing the harpsichord in a band with Bev Bevan, who would later become E.L.O.’s drummer.

He joined E.L.O. after the release of its first album in 1972, initially playing bass guitar but later becoming the group’s keyboardist after another founding member left.

Through ever-changing lineups, Mr. Tandy remained a core band member alongside Mr. Lynne and Mr. Bevan, until it disbanded in 1986. The band went on to sell over 50 million albums, with five reaching Billboard’s top 10.

Playing a range of keyboard instruments including the clavinet — an electric clavichord — and the Minimoog synthesizer, Mr. Tandy’s riffs provided the foundations for some of E.L.O.’s most famous songs.

On “Evil Woman,” one of the group’s best known songs, it was Mr. Tandy’s “funky clavinet riff that duels with the group’s vocals during the chorus,” in addition to gospel-styled female backing vocals, that made the song “a multi-textured feast of pop hooks,” Donald A. Guarisco wrote for the All Music Guide. Another of the band’s biggest hits, “Mr. Blue Sky,” featured Mr. Tandy’s riff and synthesized vocals.

While Mr. Lynne, the frontman, was the driving force behind E.L.O., Mr. Tandy was his key collaborator, co-arranging many of the string parts of the group’s songs.

“Tandy was crucial in ELO’s creation of a realm where rock and classical music could exist together,” the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, into which E.L.O. was inducted in 2017, said on social media on Tuesday.

Mr. Tandy’s surviving family include his wife Sheila, Mr. Lynne said.





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