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Jeff Lynne Recalls Working With Bob Dylan And Brian Wilson

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Although Jeff Lynne’s work writing, producing, and fronting the Electric Light Orchestra, by the late-1980’s and ’90s, he was known primarily for his work with others. The 1980’s saw Lynne behind the boards for era defining albums by his Traveling Wilburys cohorts George Harrison, Tom Petty, and Roy Orbison.

During a recent chat with Uncut, he was asked if an offer to produce Bob Dylan was ever thrown on the table, Lynne said, “No, it never was. We did a demo once of him singing ‘I’m In The Mood’ in his garage. There was a little 24-track (tape machine) in the corner. We did ‘Handle With Care’ there, too. I first met Bob when I played Budokan in Tokyo. I looked over and he was sitting on a monitor, watching me. I thought, ‘Oh, s***. I’d have done it better if I’d known he was watching.’ Anyway, after the gig, I was signing autographs for a line of about 20 people. I said to this polite Japanese girl, ‘Do you mind if I just take a page out of your notebook?’ So I took the page and her pen and got into the queue to get Bob Dylan’s autograph.”

Lynne was also asked about his historic 1988 teamup with Brian Wilson on “Let It Shine” — one of the highlights of Wilson’s self-titled solo debut apart from the Beach Boys: “I really enjoyed doing those sessions. I remember fixing the bassline, which went from the highest letter on the grid, right down to the bottom E or A string, and He walked in while I was doing it and. He stared at me and said, ‘That’s the longest goddamn bass string I’ve ever seen!’ I was quite pleased with that! The one thing that stopped Pet Sounds from being the best album ever made was that the titles are not memorable at all. The tunes are sensational, though. Ever since, I’ve been a giant fan of Brian.”

To date, Brian Wilson and Jeff Lynne have only worked on that one track, that Wilson has gone on to perform a handful of times on the road. Wilson recalled the strange conditions while working with Lynne, telling us that during the sessions, the ELO leader never took off his trademark sunglasses: “Working with Jeff Lynne, boy, I never saw his eyes, ’cause he had these real dark, thick dark glasses on at night. We worked at night, y’know we wrote — and I never ever once saw his eyes. I don’t even know what his eyes look like. All I could see were these dark glasses, this cool face and dark glasses. I never got to see his eyes.”

April 26 – London, England – The O2 – London
April 29 – Dublin, Ireland – 3Arena
May 1 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Ziggo Dome
May 3 – Zurich, Switzerland – Hallenstadion Zurich
May 5 – Oberhausen, Germany – Konig – Pilsener Arena
June 22 – Manchester, England – Manchester Arena
June 24 – Birmingham, England – Barclaycard Arena
June 26 – Pilton, England – Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm
September 9, 10, 11, Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl
September 16, 18 – New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall

Photo Courtesy Of Martyn Atkins

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