Guide to British Music of the 1960s


The Idle Race

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Jeff Lynne – guitar, vocals, Dave Pritchard – guitar, Greg Masters – bass, Roger Spencer - drums

The Idle Race was one of the top 1960s acts never to have a hit although Jeff Lynne later made up for this with a stint in The Move before forming The Electric Light Orchestra with Roy Wood and Bev Bevan in the 1970s. The superb Imposters of Life Magazine has appeared on a few compilations and shows just what promise the Idle Race had.

The original guitarist was Johnny Mann who had been in Carl Wayne & the Vikings. The Idle Race came out of Mike Sheridan & the Nightriders, a Birmingham group that included future Move, ELO and Wizzard frontman Roy Wood. Pritchard, Masters and Spencer were then joined by Jeff Lynne. Lynne wrote most of the band’s material and produced the second album. The Idle Race released two poorly-selling LPs, The Birthday Party and The Idle Race. There was also a series of seemingly commercial singles but these all failed to chart.

Jeff Lynne left to link up with Roy Wood in the Move in 1970. Mike Hopkins and Roy Collum joined although the latter was replaced by Dave Walker from Denny Laine & the Diplomats. This line-up released the progressive Time Is in 1971. There were then a number of personnel changes before Masters and Spencer formed the nucleus of the Steve Gibbons Group.  

  • Mike Sheridan & The Nightriders
  • The Move

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