Last year I had the opportunity of meeting a Rock and Roll legend, a man who has contributed richly to the music world, a man who has created and produced famous songs and worked with the biggest names in the business. If you don't recognize the signature hair and sunglasses, he's Jeff Lynne, co-founder of the 1970s and 1980s supergroup Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) as well as co-founder of the iconic Traveling Wilburys.
And if that's not enough, he produced records for Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Joe Walsh and others. He was also inducted as a member of ELO into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.
If you're talking about rock royalty, he's definitely in the equation.
I don't want to include how I came to be at the same event as him. I will say it was not for a musical function, even though I would have LOVED to hear him perform live. Maybe one day. It was also not the kind of event where asking for a selfie would be appropriate. I supposed I could have asked, but that would have seemed uncouth.
Leading up to the event, I wondered what it would be like to meet him. I've never met someone with so much experience in the industry. His was a voice I listened to over and over again back in the 1970s. I also remember their albums, those beautiful covers, the spaceship with the smaller ship docking, the Arabian boy on Discovery peering deeply into the lighted disk, the electric shock of the witches hands on Dorthy's ruby slippers on Eldorado. Just beautiful.
Before the meeting, I bought ELO's best of compilation and fell in love with the music all over again. It's amazing how much power music has in invoking memories long ago forgotten. So when I met the man and shook his hand, it wasn't a middle-aged fan speaking to him, but that young kid sitting in the living room inside the home of my youth listening to their music on our old Hi-Fi system, non-digital play-back and all.
The man was gracious. We did not speak long, just pleasantries. I spent time after trying to take pictures of him without being too "creepy" or "paparotzzi-esque." I got a few shots. When the event ended, we all went our separate ways and back to our lives. Now, when I put the CD into the player in my car (about the only place I can play CDs anymore...), I not only remember the days listening to the music as a kid, but I also remember the time I met and shook the hand of the man partially responsible for those songs and whose voice entertained millions back then and continues to do so today.