The Electric Light Orchestra, commonly abbreviated ELO, were a symphonic rock group from Birmingham, England, who released eleven studio albums between 1971 and 1986 and another album in 2001. ELO were formed to accommodate Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne's desire to create modern pop songs with heavily classical overtones, but falling under a light rock category. However, the band's direction for most of their existence was set by Lynne who, after the band's debut record, wrote and arranged all of the group's original compositions and produced every album.
The band was first successful in the United States, billed as 'The English guys with the big fiddles'. They soon gained a cult following despite lukewarm reviews back in their native United Kingdom. They were managed by agent Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne.
By the mid-1970s, they had become one of the biggest selling bands in music. From 1972 to 1986, ELO accumulated twenty-seven Top 40 hit single appearances in both the UK and the US. The group also scored twenty Top 20 U.K. hit singles, as well as nineteen Top 20 hit singles in the U.S. Billboard charts, with fifteen in the Hot 100. The band also holds the record for having the most Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hits of any band in U.S. chart history without ever having a number1 single.
Despite the fact that the majority of the group's material was never researched, audited and certified, ELO collected 21 RIAA awards, 38 BPI awards, and sold well over 100 million records worldwide, not including singles; 50 million of those being sold in a period of only eleven years, from 1971 to 1982.