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Hugh McDowell, ELO cellist, dies at age 65

Hugh McDowell

Classic Rock

Hugh McDowell, ELO cellist, dies at age 65

Another sad death to report in the world of music: Hugh McDowell, known as ELO’s cellist, passed away at the age of 65.


The musician joined the Electric Light Orchestra in 1972 at the age of 19, left with founder Roy Wood to found Wizzard, but returned quickly in 1973 in place of Colin Walker.

Hugh became part of the band’s classic lineup known for their “progressive pop,” and remained with the British group until 1979 when leader Jeff Lynne decided to take all the string instrumentalists out of the band’s line-up.

During his ELO run, McDowell was on such classic records as Eldorado, Out Of The Blue and A New World Record.

The cause of death was not revealed but his ELO colleague Melvyn Gale said Hugh died “after a long illness.”

The band

The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) are an English rock band formed in Birmingham in 1970, by songwriters/multi-instrumentalists Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood with drummer Bev Bevan. Their music is characterised by a fusion of Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements, and futuristic iconography.

After Wood’s departure in 1972, Lynne became the band’s leader, arranging and producing every album while writing virtually all of their original material. For their initial tenure, Lynne, Bevan and keyboardist Richard Tandy were the group’s only consistent members.

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