Songwriter, record-producer, founder of the landmark rock band ELO, Jeff Lynne was awarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 23, 2015, right in front of Capitol Records on Vine Street in Hollywood.
Two legends, Joe Walsh and Tom Petty, both collaborators with Lynne, showed up to pay their respects. Both gave humorous and loving speeches about their friend, after the president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Leron Gubler, welcomed the crowd. He mentioned that Jeff’s new star was in close proximity to that of The Beatles, several of whom he worked with, including “Paul McCartney and George Hamilton.”
Yes, George Hamilton. The crowd erupted with surprise and laughter, as Gubler explained, “It was only a test to see if you were listening!” They were. In the crowd were Olivia Harrison, the late Beatle’s wife, and his son Dhani Harrison.
“Jeff and I met each other in 1971,” said Walsh. “Neither of us remember.” He then went on to share some truths about Lynne many did not know, garnering great laughter from the massive crowd. “Jeff was born with sun-glasses on …. Jeff’s real name is Otis Wilbury.”
Joe Walsh speech:
Tom Petty spoke movingly about working on his first solo album, Full Moon Fever, with Jeff at the producer helm. Not only did Jeff produce, but he co-wrote several of the songs on the album, including the one that has become Petty’s most beloved, “Free-Fallin’.”
“He’s the single greatest record producer I have ever encountered,” said Tom. “Jeff plays the studio like an instrument. He plays instruments like no other. I have known a lot of musicians, and I think he’s the best overall musician I have ever met.”
Tom Petty speech:
When it came time for the guest of honor to speak, he admitted he was too moved by the occasion to speak. “It’s different than I expected,” Lynne said, as he looked over the seated crowd of luminaries to the vast crowd behind of lifelong, very vocal fans. “I’m a bit choked up about it.” He ended with “I love you all,” as those in the crowd returned the sentiment loudly.
Jeff Lynne speech:
Lynne’s star is the 2,387th to be awarded on this sidewalk shrine which is run by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to honor stars in movies, TV, radio, theater and music. The Walk of Fame is on Hollywood Boulevard between La Brea and Gower, and along Vine Street between Franklin and Sunset Boulevard.
–Video shot by Paul Zollo