ELO keyboard player Richard Tandy dies, aged 76

2 May 2024, 12:16

Richard Tandy with ELO in 1979
Richard Tandy with ELO in 1979. Picture: Getty Images

By Mayer Nissim

Richard Tandy was a crucial part of the classic ELO sound.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Richard Tandy, best known as the keyboard player in Electric Light Orchestra, has died at the age of 76.

News of the musician's passing was confirmed today (May 2) by ELO leader Jeff Lynne.

"It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of my long-time collaborator and dear friend Richard Tandy," Lynne said on X and Instagram.

"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. Jeff Lynne"

Born in 1948, Tandy met Bev Bevan while at school, with Bev enlisting him to play harpsichord on The Move's chart-topping 1968 single 'Blackberry Way'.

ELO grew out of The Move, with Tandy joining the lineup in 1972, staying with the group alongside Lynne and Bevan all the way through to 1986.

While he joined as a bass player, he quickly moved on to keyboards following the departure of Roy Wood to form Wizzard.

Electric Light Orchestra in 1973
Electric Light Orchestra in 1973. Picture: Getty Images

Tandy played a wide array of key-based instruments, including the piano, Minimoog, Clavinet, Oberheim, Wurlitzer electric piano, Mellotron, Yamaha CS-80, ARP 2600, and harmonium.

It was also Tandy's vocoder that helped make ELO's massive 'Mr Blue Sky' so distinctive.

Tandy rejoined Jeff Lynne's ELO in 2000-01 and again in 2014-17, and also collaborated with Lynne on projects like Electric Dreams.

Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky (Official Video)

Tandy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of ELO in 2017.

Away from ELO, he formed the Tandy Morgan Band with Dave Morgan and Martin Smith in 1985, with that group releasing the concept album Earthrise.

Tandy married and divorced Carol 'Cookie' Tandy before marrying his second wife Sheila, who he met in the early 1980s.

Last Played Songs