Louis Clark

String Arranger, Conductor, Orchestral Keyboards

Louis Clark, born on February 27th, 1947 in Bedford, hails from Bridgnorth in Shropshire and was ELO's orchestra and choir co-arranger, conductor, and string-synthesizer player from September 1974 to September 1986, and is musical director and string arranger, conductor and keyboardist for ELO Part II since 1989. He was educated at Bridgnorth Grammar School and had his first musical experience aged about 14, when he was given piano and viola lessons. A few years later The Beatles became famous and Louis got involved with other people who wanted to be musicians. He joined a band called The Buccaneers as their bass player, who later changed their name to The Monopoly. Finally they developed into The Raymond Froggatt Band in 1969 with whom Louis recorded ten singles and two albums, and was given the opportunity to try writing string arrangements for their second album. His arrangements were so well received that he quit the band to become a full-time arranger. He discovered, however, that practical experience was not enough, and decided that he needed formal training.

At the age of 24 he became a mature student at The City Of Leeds College Of Music studying flute, keyboards and composition on a three year full-time course. Finishing at Leeds College Of Music, Louis received a call from his old friend Raymond Froggatt, asking him to write some arrangements for his musical "William Shakespeare", which he completed at De Lane Lea Studios in London. There, Jeff Lynne, who was also at De Lane Lea at that time, working on "Eldorado", heard the Shakespeare tapes and asked Louis to work with The Electric Light Orchestra.

In 1979, Louis Clark's first solo album "Perspectiv'n" was released, which contained one(!) classic and rock instrumental track on two album sides with sub-titles in fifteen movements. Louis Clark had arranged and conducted a full orchestra as well as writing and producing the album. He played keyboards, guitars, bass guitar, flutes and recorders, and many friends helped him. The album was released on March 23rd, 1979 by Jet Records

1981 was Louis Clark's most successful year. He released "Hooked On Classics" on single which made No.2. The original idea for this single had come from Don Readman of the K-Tel Record Company who came up with the idea of doing a medley using classical music. Louis Clark conducting The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra became a standard all over the world. The album sold better than ELO's "Time" album of the same year (Ironically it was the only ELO album not to feature Louis as arranger and conductor during his ELO period.). The "Hooked On Classic" album included four-minute tracks, with many famous classical breaks and riffs underlined with a drum machine and digital hand claps to make a disco sound. At the end of the year, Louis was in the unique situation of performing with ELO at the Wembley Arena and conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Albert Hall on consecutive nights.

During 1982, Louis was busy arranging the Royal Philharmonic Violins for Roy Wood's "On Top Of The World" track which however remained unreleased until 1985. He also did the arranging and conducting of the R.P.O. on Kelly Groucutt's "Kelly" albums (released in 1982/83). Louis Clark's "Hooked On Christmas" closed the year, with the inclusion of "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" and the non-album track "Motif". Next to come was The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra "Plays The Queen Collection" and "Plays The Beatles" in 1982. Both were arranged and conducted by Louis Clark, who donated the proceeds to Cancer research, and the R.S.P.B.. "Hooked On Classics 2 - Can't Stop The Classics" also reached the shops in that year. The single "If You Knew Sousa (And Friends)" with the non-album track "If You Knew Sousa" followed. Another "Hooked On Christmas" was released but this time doing other Christmas classics. In 1983 "Hooked On Classics 3 - Journey Through The Classics" followed and Louis became an honorary life member of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

1989 saw Louis' first collaboration with Jeff Lynne since ELO's break up back in 1986 on Roy Orbison's "Mystery Girl" album, when Louis arranged the strings on two of the Jeff Lynne-produced songs "A Love So Beautiful" and "California Blue".

In 1990 he worked together with Bev Bevan on Electric Light Orchestra Part II, as musical director, string arranger and conductor on the album. He became a member and played string-synthesizer in the live and TV shows and composed some tracks for their second album. Apart from that he did a lot of concert shows with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, during 1992 to 1995 in which he featured "Eldorado Overture", a few bars of "Canít Get It Out Of My Head" and "Eldorado Finale".

Louis lives now in America with his second wife Gloria and their first daughter Rachel who was born in 1991. Louis also has two other children with his first wife, a son named Louis born in 1972 and a daughter Jemma born in 1975.

Information compiled by Marc Haines, Patrik Guttenbacher and Alexander von Petersdorff.
Shortened excerpt taken from their book "Unexpected Messages"
(C) 1996 FACE THE MUSIC GERMANY.


last modified: 26.02.2000