Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
The family of the late Kelly Groucutt propose a Commemorative Blue Plaque be placed at the old family house in Coseley.
The family of the late Kelly Groucutt propose a Commemorative Blue Plaque be placed at the old family house in Coseley.
93 backers pledged £3,678 to help bring this project to life.

About

Kelly Groucutt Commemorative Blue Plaque project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

£3,678

93

Introduction.

Kelly Groucutt: bass player with the Electric Light Orchestra was born and raised in Coseley from September 8th 1945 - 1967. 

The Groucutt family lived in Gough Road from Christmas Day 1937- New Years Day 1992.

We the family of the late Kelly Groucutt propose a blue commemorative plaque be placed at the old family home in Coseley, West Midlands where Kelly lived from 1945- 1967.

Kelly and Pamela Groucutt
Kelly and Pamela Groucutt

As the bass player and occasional singer with the Electric Light Orchestra, Kelly Groucutt played a significant part in creating some of the most elaborate, clever and ambitious pop music of the prog-rock era. By the mid-1970s, ELO had become one of the biggest-selling acts in music. From 1972 to 1986, ELO accumulated 27 Top-40 hit singles in both the UK and the US, with 20 Top 20 UK singles and 15 Top-20 US singles (as charted by Billboard magazine). The band also holds the record for having the most Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hits, 20, of any group in US chart history without ever having a number one single.

Kelly Groucutt played on all of the 27 Top 40 hit singles. They included such classic rock staples as Evil Woman, Strange Magic, Mr Blue Sky and Don't Bring Me Down.  Although the biggest hits were mostly sung by the group's founder Jeff Lynne, Groucutt's distinctive voice took the lead on such fan favourites as Nightrider, Sweet Is the Night and The Diary of Horace Wimp.

Early Years

Born Michael William Groucutt in 1945 in Coseley, Staffordshire, he left school at 14 to work in a Midlands sheet-metal factory. When the son of the factory's owner heard him singing along to the radio over the din of the machinery, he invited Groucutt to become the singer with a group he was forming. The result was Rikki Storm and the Falcons, with Groucutt cast as Rikki. 

A young Kelly with Jerry Lee Lewis, 1964 Birmingham musicscene
A young Kelly with Jerry Lee Lewis, 1964 Birmingham musicscene
Kelly
Kelly

When they fell by the wayside, he formed Rikki Burns and the Vibras, taking up the guitar as well as singing. A spell in the Midnights followed, but with only local success, and by the mid-1960s he had given up music and returned to his day job. He couldn't stay away from music for long and was soon back playing with various groups including Greenwich Village, Marble Arch, Sight and Sound and Barefoot. It was while working with the latter in 1974 that he was approached by Jeff Lynne to join the Electric Light Orchestra.

Electric Light Orchestra.

Formed in 1971 out of the ashes of the Move, ELO had already tasted modest success with a symphonic, Beatlesque sound which took up where I Am the Walrus left off. The group had scored such hits as 10538 Overture and an elaborately orchestrated version of Chuck Berry's Roll Over Beethoven, but with the addition of Groucutt the line-up stabilised and ELO went on to enjoy their most productive and commercially lucrative period.

The first ELO album on which Kelly played was Face the Music (1975), which included the hit singles Evil Woman and Strange Magic and featured his lead vocals on the tracks Nightrider and Poker. The five-million-selling A New World Record followed in 1976 and included the hit singles Livin' Thing and Telephone Line. Kelly Groucutt sang the lead on the album track Above the Clouds and on stage sang the operatic part from one of the record's dramatic highlights, Rockaria!


Another multiplatinum-selling album, Out of the Blue, reached No 4 in both the British and American charts at the end of 1977, and included the hit singles Turn to Stone, Sweet Talkin' Woman, Mr Blue Sky and Wild West Hero. To promote it, ELO embarked on a massive world tour with a lavish stage set involving a spaceship design and lasers.


In Britain they played a record-breaking eight consecutive sold-out concerts at Wembley Arena and were the subject of a one-hour documentary on The South Bank Show. In America the concerts were billed simply as "The Big Night" It was judged at the time to be the biggest-grossing tour in musical history.The follow-up, Discovery, appeared in 1979 and found Lynne incorporating elements of disco into his rock symphonies. Hit singles on the album included Don't Bring Me Down, Shine a Little Love and The Diary of Horace Wimp, the latter sung to great effect by Kelly.

Discovery made ELO the biggest-selling act in Britain that year and was followed in 1980 by music for the soundtrack of the film Xanadu. Teaming ELO with Olivia Newton-John, gave the band its only British No 1 single. Further commercial success came with the 1981 sci-fi concept album Time, which replaced the strings of previous recordings with synthesisers, topped the British charts and spawned the hit single Hold on Tight.

Later Years

After he left ELO, Kelly formed and played with spin-off bands The Orchestra, Orkestra and ELO Part 2. 

Sadly Kelly suffered a sudden heart attack on Tuesday 17th February 2009 and was taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital where he died on Wednesday 18th February 2009.

His music and energetic personality touched many thousands of people world wide.The Groucutt family feels a commemorative plaque would be a fitting tribute and a great way for fans alike to remember a special man and formidable talent. 

A message from Kelly's Kids.

When our father moved on to play the great gig in the sky, we were fortunate enough to come into possession of his studio computers and music hard drives. We knew that he had written and worked on various songs over the years that hadn't been used anywhere formally and we always had a plan to go through them and see what could be salvaged.

It's taken a while, but we've finally started to go through them and see what little gems he might have left for us. And plenty there are. Mostly the material is rough, certainly unfinished, sometimes just the briefest of ideas, but it's all Kelly, and there's plenty we can work with, and that is our plan. 

So, now, with the advent of the commemorative plaque being proposed in his name, we thought it would be a good time to start the process of sharing Kelly's old/new material with you. Initially, we are looking at creating a smaller project or EP as a way to say thank you to anybody who supports this kickstarter campaign to fund his Blue Plaque. 

But, we're not stopping there! We intend to make a larger tribute album at some point in the future, featuring not only the material on his hard drives, but also material that you might already know, re-imagined with contributions from musicians and colleagues of his over the years.

It'll be fun, hope you come along for the ride :)

Chris & Family
"... And in the end, the love you take. Is equal to the love you make..." - Lennon/McCartney

Christopher and father Kelly
Christopher and father Kelly

*sources, The Family, The Times February 25th 2009, Black Country Bugle.
Chris and Kelly photo thanks to Gill Magic Arts

Risks and challenges

The only real challenge we face is meeting the production and manufacturing costs of the Blue Plaque. The project has already got approval from Dudley Council and will be a great story for them and the borough of Coseley.

We just need your help!,
Any funds gathered over the cost amount for the Blue Plaque production and installation will go towards the production and recording of the archive material EP/Album.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    Be part of Black Country Rock history. Your name will be listed and thanked for donating to the Commemorative Kelly Groucutt Blue Plaque. We will be producing a website that is linked to Dudley Council Tourist information about the project.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    36 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £30 or more About $40

    Be part of Black Country Rock history. Your name will be listed and thanked for donating to the Kelly Groucutt Commemorative Blue Plaque.

    We will also be producing a website that is linked to Dudley Council Tourist information about the Blue Plaque.

    You will also receive early bird free downloads of new material and a special invitation to a private family celebration and performances after the plaque unveiling.

    May 2015

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 34 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £35 or more About $46

    Be part of Black Country Rock history. Your name will be listed and thanked for donating to the Kelly Groucutt Commemorative Blue Plaque.

    We will also be producing a website thats linked to Dudley Council Tourist information about the Blue Plaque.

    You will also receive early bird free downloads of new material and a special invitation to a private family celebration after the plaque unveiling.

    Anyone outside of the UK you will get a framed photo of the plaque with a signed letter of thanks from Kelly's kids and close family, and a personalised online video of the unveiling

    May 2015

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 10 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £35 or more About $46

    Be part of Black Country Rock history. Your name will be listed and thanked for donating to the Kelly Groucutt Commemorative Blue Plaque.

    We will also be producing a website thats linked to Dudley Council Tourist information about the Blue Plaque.

    You will also receive early bird free downloads of new material and a special invitation to a private family celebration after the plaque unveiling.

    Anyone outside of the UK you will get a framed photo of the plaque with a signed letter of thanks from Kelly's kids and close family, and a personalised online video of the unveiling

    May 2015

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £250 or more About $331

    For you musicians and singers out there!

    You will get to appear on one of the found archive tracks that will be produced for a new EP to be recorded and produced by the family and special guests.

    Be part of Black Country Rock history. Your name will be listed and thanked for donating to the Kelly Groucutt Commemorative Blue Plaque.

    We will also be producing a website that is linked to Dudley Council Tourist information about the Blue Plaque.

    You will also receive early bird free downloads of new material a special invitation to a private family celebration after the plaque unveiling.

    March 2015

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Reward no longer available 4 backers
    £
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)