In 1970 Jeff Lynne left the band in order to join The Move, then a very popular and successful band in Britain, accepting Roy Wood’s second invitation, who promised his old friend Lynne to launch a new project, called The Electric Light Orchestra, which had been on his mind for a couple of years.
Their idea was to form a ten-piece ensemble with cellos, violins, french horn etc. and play symphonic rock. “… I suppose that the Electric Light Orchestra is meant to take up where ‘I Am The Warus’ left off, and to present it on stage.”(Lynne) It took them almost two years to fulfill their ambitious plan to transform The Move into The Electric Light Orchestra since its first public announcement in May 1970 - they did not release ELO’s eponymous debut album until December 1971. In the meantime they still recorded and performed as The Move, which was a necessary move in order to finance their new project: Two more albums, Looking On (1970) and Message From The Country (1971) and a couple of relatively successful singles were released, before The Move ceased to exist.
Within a week of ELO’s first single release, “10538 Overture”, in June 1972, Roy had left the band to form Wizzard: “I left ELO partly because attention was being focused on me, and not the band as a whole, and partly to save the friendship between Jeff and myself. … It got to a point where Jeff didn’t speak to me much - and I couldn’t stand that.” Roy’s departure left Jeff the sole band leader, and he took over the composer’s duties, too.
The first of many ELO U.S. tours began in California in June 1973, and the band were well received. Audience enthusiasm ensured that ELO returned to the States for increasingly longer tours, each one bigger and more spectacular than the last, culminating in heir legandary 1977 “Out Of The Blue” tour. However, despite ELO’s highly successful tours in the seventies, Lynne became increasingly more uneasy about touring: “I like making records better than playing live. I like to play tight - I used to love playing in clubs and stuff. When it got to those big arenas, with 20.000 people and all the equipment, it became less fun for me. I like to get it right - or try to. When you’re playing on tour, you can’t do that. It sounds different every night. There’s too many people involved. You can’t really get it spot-on. And the size of the place totally destroys the sound.”