Kelly Groucutt

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Kelly Groucutt
Electric Light Orchestra 2.jpg
Kelly Groucutt in concert at Barcelona on 6 June 2008
Background information
Birth name Michael William Groucutt
Born (1945-09-08)8 September 1945
Coseley, Staffordshire, England
Died 19 February 2009(2009-02-19) (aged 63)
Worcester, Worcestershire, England
Genres Pop, rock, rock and roll
Occupations Musician, vocalist
Instruments Bass guitar, guitar, Vocals
Years active 1960–2009
Labels Jet, RCA
Associated acts Electric Light Orchestra
OrKestra
ELO Part II
The Orchestra
Website www.theorchestra.net, www.kellygroucutt.co.uk

Kelly Groucutt (8 September 1945 – 19 February 2009), born Michael William Groucutt, was an English musician who was best known for being the bassist and co-lead vocalist for the English rock band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), between 1974 and 1983. He was born in Coseley, West Midlands.[1][2]

Early career[edit]

Groucutt began his musical career at 15 as Rikki Storm of Rikki Storm and the Falcons. He went on to sing with various outfits during the '60s, picking up the guitar as he went along.[3] Groucutt was also a member of a band called "Sight and Sound", and later with a band called "Barefoot".

Electric Light Orchestra[edit]

It was while playing with Barefoot in Birmingham that he was spotted by ELO's Jeff Lynne; and after Lynne, Bev Bevan and Richard Tandy had watched him play, he was invited to join ELO, to replace Mike de Albuquerque, who had recently left the band.[4] Upon joining, he was immediately asked to adopt a stage name because ELO had already had several members named Michael, Mike or Mik; he chose Kelly as being a school nickname.[4] ELO then set off on their Eldorado tour.[citation needed] He soon established himself as a fan favourite by taking over lead vocal duties on a few songs as well as gaining a great rapport with live audiences. His distinctive voice can also be best heard on later ELO songs such as "Nightrider" (1975), "Poker" (1975), "Above the Clouds" (1976), "Sweet Is the Night" (1977), "Across the Border" (1977) and "The Diary of Horace Wimp" (1979). While he did not perform the operatic vocals in the studio, Groucutt often displayed his vocal talents by replicating them during live performances of "Rockaria!" (1976).

The first Electric Light Orchestra album to feature Kelly on bass guitar and as a backing vocalist was 1975's Face the Music. He continued contributing on the following albums A New World Record (1976), Out of the Blue (1977), Discovery (1979), Xanadu (1980) and Time (1981).

In 1982 he released his self-titled, solo debut album, Kelly. This album featured fellow ELO members Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy, Mik Kaminski and their orchestral co-arranger and conductor Louis Clark. In 2001 this album was remastered for CD.

Groucutt remained with ELO until the onset of the recording sessions for 1983's Secret Messages album. It was at this juncture that he left the band, unhappy with royalty payments during his tenure, and made the decision to sue management and band leader Jeff Lynne. A settlement for the sum of £300,000 was reached out of court prior to proceedings. He is credited with playing bass on Secret Messages, although it has been stated from an official source that he only played on four songs ("Train of Gold" and "Rock n Roll is King" from the single disc release and "No Way Out" and "Beatles Forever" from the original double album).

He took part in some of the many ELO spin-off groups: OrKestra, ELO Part II, and The Orchestra. He toured worldwide with The Orchestra (former members of ELO and ELO Part II) and also took part in tours as part of a local, little known band called Session 60.

Personal life[edit]

Groucutt's first marriage was to Carol and they had three sons Christopher, Robin and Steven and a daughter Jenny. In 2006 Groucutt married his second wife, longtime girlfriend Anna-Maria Bialaga. He also had two grandchildren in addition to his four children from his first marriage.

Groucutt died on the afternoon of 19 February 2009 at the Royal Worcester Hospital, following a heart attack suffered the previous night.[5]

His widow Anna died on 11 April 2012 due to alcohol abuse.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Obituary - The Times (25 February 2009)
  2. ^ Obituary - The Independent (28 February 2009)
  3. ^ Obituary for Kelly Groucutt Lasting Tribute[dead link]
  4. ^ a b Bevan, Bev (1980). "Recruitment Time". In Pearce, Garth. The Electric Light Orchestra Story. Mushroom Books. pp. 83–85. ISBN 0-907394-01-9. 
  5. ^ ELO member Groucutt dies, aged 63 BBC.co.uk