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ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA
NEW REMASTERS COME "OUT OF THE BLUE"


An incredible 37 years since their formation, the music of the Electric Light Orchestra and songs of ELO leader Jeff Lynne are now more popular than ever.

In recognition of a career full of memorable hit singles and albums, inspired songwriting and innovative production, James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers presented Jeff Lynne with Q magazine's prestigious "Q Icon Award" on 30 October 2006 in London.





With admiration and respect for the Birmingham-born singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Bradfield explained that Lynne's music had "…always been pure genius to me…" - and it seems everyone agrees! ELO songs play constantly on radio and TV, in movies and as samples in chart-toppers by acts such as the Pussycat Dolls. Whether it's seeing the crème de la crème of the worlds' models cavort to 'Mr. Blue Sky' in the popular Marks & Spencer ad, feeling your ears pinned back by the power chords of 'Do Ya' for Monster.com or catching an episode of award-winning BBC TV drama Doctor Who full of ELO music, a whole new generation of fans are discovering the magic of Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra.

2006 also celebrated the start of the ELO Reissue Series, a major upgrade of the band's classic albums. Produced under the full supervision of Jeff Lynne and digitally remastered from the original analogue master tapes, 'On The Third Day', 'Face The Music', and 'A New World Record' (featuring the all-time No.1 "Guilty Pleasures" track 'Livin' Thing') joined new editions of 'No Answer' and 'ELO II' released earlier in the USA. Each definitive edition includes a wealth of bonus material, previously unreleased tracks, full-colour booklets packed with rare photos and in-depth liner-notes from both Lynne and ELO archivist Rob Caiger.







 

2007 is the 30th anniversary of ELO's most famous album 'Out of the Blue' and SonyBMG/Epic Records will release a definitive edition remaster with 3 previously unreleased bonus tracks (including new single 'Latitude 88 North') during February. A Limited Collector's Edition in hardback book format adds a 24-page deluxe colour booklet with commentary by Lynne, in-depth sleeve notes, previously unseen photos and a push-out-and-build ELO space station!

 


ELO's last album of the 20th Century, 'Balance Of Power', reaches its 21st birthday and also celebrates in February with an expanded remastered edition that includes 7 bonus tracks (5 previously unreleased).


 




ELO thrived under the guidance of Lynne, recording twelve original studio albums and releasing twenty-eight hit singles in the UK alone. At their peak between 1974 and 1981, ELO amassed a string of nine consecutive gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums. The band were one of the biggest arena and stadium draws during the seventies and early eighties, with spectacular shows including massive flying saucer stage sets and vibrant light and laser displays.

Before all the hit albums, singles and live extravaganzas, ELO began from much humbler beginnings - as an experimental offshoot of sixties hit English band The Move. Legendary singer-songwriter Roy Wood had the initial idea for an Electric Light Orchestra during Tony Visconti's orchestral arrangements for his early Move songs such as 'Cherry Blossom Clinic', 'Mist On A Monday Morning', and 'Flowers In The Rain' but it was Jeff Lynne who composed '10538 Overture', a planned Move b-side that became the first ELO song on 12 July 1970. According to Lynne, '10538 Overture' was "the very birth of the realisation of the sound".

Jeff Lynne - Live on stage, PBS 2001 Jeff - Live on stage, 2001.
(Photo copyright
Annamaria DiSanta)

 

Jeff joins the Move 1970 Jeff joins the Move February, 1970
L-R: Bev Bevan, Rick Price, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood.

(Photo copyright Move Productions)


As a single from ELO's critically acclaimed eponymous debut album (retitled 'No Answer' in America) it reached no.9 in the UK during August 1972, but within a week of its release, Wood had dramatically left the group to form Wizzard and the beginnings of a critically acclaimed solo career.


Baroque & Roll!
ELO at the Banqueting House, London England
L-R: Bev Bevan, Roy Wood & Jeff Lynne.

(Photo copyright EMI Records)
Baroque and Roll: Bev, Roy and Jeff


Regrouping under Lynne's leadership, the new ELO made a triumphant debut at the 1972 Reading Festival. Their inspired show-stopping, 5th Symphony-quoting cover of Chuck Berry's 'Roll Over Beethoven' fast became ELO's theme song and a top ten UK hit single in January 1973. The song also laid valuable groundwork in the USA, where it became an FM radio favourite. An extended version on second LP 'ELO 2' helped the album into the UK charts but the next single, released as the band returned from their debut American tour in September 1973, was a radical departure.


ELO 1973: Roll Over Beethoven - Top Of The Pops New World Rising... Top left: Jeff Lynne and the 'new' ELO debut at the Reading Festival, August 1972

(Photo copyright Fin Costello/Redferns)

Top Right:
Bev Bevan, 1972

(Photo copyright Alan Johnson)

Bottom: ELO getting ready to perform "Roll Over Beethoven" on Top Of The Pops, 1973
Back L-R: Wilf Gibson, Richard Tandy, Mike De Albuquerque , Bev Bevan. Front L-R: Mike Edwards, Jeff Lynne and Colin Walker.

(Photo copyright Sony Music)


John Lennon
commented live on a New York radio show how much he liked 'Showdown' and ELO (dubbing them "son of Beatles") - and so did the record-buying public. The track was the first Jeff Lynne-penned song to achieve chart success in both the UK and USA. 'Ma-Ma-Ma Belle', probably the heaviest piece of music ELO ever recorded, followed as a single and featured an uncredited Marc Bolan playing twin-lead guitar with Lynne. 'On The Third Day', the album from which the single was taken, achieved a silver sales award in America and was the beginning of the group's successes in that country.






'Eldorado - A Symphony By The Electric Light Orchestra' was ELO's first concept album and collaboration with arranger Louis Clark and saw the band augmented by a full choir and orchestra instead of overdubbing their usual two cellos and violin. Taking Dorothy's ruby slippers and wicked witch album cover theme to their hearts, many of ELO's burgeoning American fanbase began arriving at concerts dressed as their favourite Wizard Of Oz character. It was this dedication that helped propel Eldorado to gold status, followed by their first-ever top ten USA single, 'Can't Get It Out Of My Head'.


ELO live, 1974
Right: Jeff Lynne & Bev Bevan

(Barry Plummer / SonyBMG)
ELO live 1973


Faced with lacklustre album sales, sporadic single chart successes and unreceptive UK audiences outside of home city Birmingham and critically-aware London, ELO focused their touring strategy on the USA. Lengthy and exhausting tours of America ensured each subsequent ELO release sold more than its predecessor. The excitement of "the English guys with the big fiddles" conquering America can be heard on the excellent live album 'The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)'.





 

68 shows in 76 days! ELO performing live 1976
L-R: Mik Kaminski, Melvyn Gale, Bev Bevan, Kelly Groucutt, Jeff Lynne, Hugh McDowell and Richard Tandy.

(Photo copyright Epic Records)



 

ELO Facing The Music
ELO 1975
L-R (from top): Hugh McDowell, Bev Bevan, Jeff Lynne, Kelly Groucutt, Mik Kaminski, Melvyn Gale and Richard Tandy

(Photo copyright Sony/BMG)



'Face The Music'
gave Lynne his first worldwide smash with the single 'Evil Woman', and at 6 minutes, the fastest song he ever wrote. The album became ELO's first platinum disc in the USA but follow up single 'Nightrider' was ignored in the UK, while 'Strange Magic' was only a minor hit. ELO, now comprising Lynne, co-founder drummer Bev Bevan, keyboardist Richard Tandy, Kelly Groucutt on bass guitar, violinist Mik Kaminski and cellists Hugh McDowell and Melvyn Gale, then embarked on their biggest and most ambitious tour of America, playing a gruelling 68 shows in 76 days. By the end of the tour, the entire group were suffering from exhaustion, barely able to celebrate their gold award for 'Strange Magic' or the news they were now firmly established as one of the USA's top-selling bands.




Out Of The Blue Mission... ELO 1976
L-R: Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan, Hugh McDowell, Mik Kaminski, Melvyn Gale, Richard Tandy and Kelly Groucutt

(Photo copyright Moshe Brakha
)


ELO finally achieved success in their home country in December 1976 with the Top 5 arrival of 'Livin' Thing'. The haunting love song proved to be their most popular single to date and helped pave the way for 'A New World Record', arguably ELO's most consistent album. Though it achieved a Top 10 chart placing and gold sales status in the UK, in the USA it exceeded all expectations and became the band's first double platinum disc. 'Rockaria!' and 'Telephone Line' were huge single hits worldwide while a new ELO version of Lynne's Move composition 'Do Ya' was released in America and Europe and became a hit for the second time.




Under serious pressure to surpass his already considerable achievements, Lynne (armed with guitars, amp and piano) locked himself away in a Swiss mountain chalet to plan his masterpiece, 'Out Of The Blue': "The first four days, I couldn't get a thing. The fifth day I was playing bass notes on the moog, and out of that came 'Turn To Stone'. I bashed away on a bucket for drums, and punched the microphone for bass drums. 'Mr. Blue Sky' was the hardest after that. It started as a chord sequence that I pounded for nine hours in a row one day."


Out Of The Blue Out Of The Blue ELO take time out during promotional video shoot for "Out Of The Blue"
L-R: Mik Kaminski, Hugh McDowell, Jeff Lynne, Richard Tandy, Kelly Groucutt, Melvyn Gale and Bev Bevan, 1978

(Photo copyright Sony/BMG)


Considered by Lynne to be his greatest ELO achievement and recently voted "Anthem Of The Midlands" by the public, 'Mr. Blue Sky' continues to appear in film and TV ads to this very day.

An intensive two-week writing period during May 1977 gave birth to a double album's worth of new songs and just three months later, ELO's definitive album was delivered. Global success followed, with further singles 'Wild West Hero' and 'Sweet Talkin' Woman' both Top 10 hits.



Close Encounters
ELO live at Wembley 1978

(Photo copyright Gary Merrin)
ELO live at Wembley 1978


Worldwide attendance and sales records were smashed on album pre-orders alone and wherever tour dates were announced. ELO's all-conquering sell-out tour began in February 1978 and lasted nine months. Audience records were broken wherever they played, especially in the UK where ELO headlined Wembley Arena for 8 sell out nights, the first band ever to do so. By the end of the tour in October, ELO were firmly established as one of the most popular bands in the world. They finished 1978 with the unique feat of having a single, EP, album, double album and three album box-set, 'Three Light Years', all in the UK top 50 at once. The EP, featuring 'Can't Get It Out Of My Head', reached No 34.





Despite an announcement ELO would not tour during 1979, the year soon became business as usual as 'Discovery' went to No. 1 in almost every country it was released. The album also produced four massive hit singles, including 'Shine A Little Love' (sampled most recently by The LoveFreekz) and 'The Diary Of Horace Wimp'. 'Don't Bring Me Down' (the first ELO single not to feature strings) became the group's biggest-ever single hit while double a-side 'Confusion'/'Last Train To London' continued chart success to the end of the year. ELO finished 1979 as Music Week's top album band, complementing Jeff Lynne's Ivor Novello Award and an 'ELO's Greatest Hits' package that immediately went Top 10 around the world.



Film soundtrack work beckoned and ELO contributed to the 1980 movie 'Xanadu', which spawned hit singles 'I'm Alive', 'All Over The World' and 'Don't Walk Away'. Though the movie itself was heavily criticised, the music was warmly embraced and the title track, sung with Olivia Newton-John, gave Lynne his first No.1 UK single and another Ivor Novello Award for Best Film Theme Song.





TIME TIME Top: ELO 1981
L-R: Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan, Kelly Groucutt and Richard Tandy.

(Photo copyright Epic Records/Frank Griffin - LFI International)

Bottom: The TIME Tour
1981-82
L-R: Pictured here: Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy and Dave Morgan.

(Photo copyright Epic Records/Frank Griffin - LFI International)


1981 signalled a departure from the traditional ELO sound with the release of the keyboard and synthesizer dominated 'Time'. It was preceded by the bi-lingual rocker 'Hold On Tight', with Lynne describing Time as a significant change in direction: "I've tried to create a different sound for Time which is a concept album set in the future.. and by using fewer strings, the end result has been a far heavier sound."

Time became another ELO no. 1 platinum album and three further singles were released: 'Twilight', the double a-sided 'Ticket To The Moon'/'Here Is The News' and 'The Way Life's Meant To Be'. With the success of the new singles, a planned 'Across The Border EP', with tracks taken from a 4-LP compilation box set entitled 'Four Light Years', was cancelled.



ELO's spent a year touring the world but this time with a scaled down live show and an emphasis on their live sound rather than spectacle. Out went the giant spaceships, lasers and cellists, and in came long-time orchestral arranger Louis Clark and old friend and Birmingham musician Dave Morgan, both on keyboards. Though the Time Tour was meant to be ELO's swansong, Lynne soon regrouped the band for rehearsals for 'Secret Messages'. Originally intended as a double LP, the concept album was based on Lynne's reaction to ELO being bizarrely labelled "devil-worshippers" as a result of supposedly backward-masking satanic messages in their songs. "Skcollob" was one of the bands' politer responses.


Secret Messages 1983
L-R: Kelly Groucutt, Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan and Richard Tandy.

(Photo copyright Sony Music)


Ultimately, 'Secret Messages' was a fine - if somewhat unfulfilled - single album when finally released in 1983. The lead single, 'Rock 'N' Roll Is King', saw Top 20 chart success on both sides of the Atlantic but subsequent singles 'Secret Messages' and 'Four Little Diamonds' failed to make much impression.



For 1986's 'Balance Of Power', ELO were now down to a trio of Lynne, Bevan and Tandy. While the music itself was uplifting and bright and contained hit singles 'Calling America' and 'So Serious', the album was filled with a lyrical sadness that seemed to foretell ELO's imminent split. 'Getting To The Point' became ELO's final single of the 80's and its lyrics left no doubt that Lynne had reached "the point of no return" - he disbanded the group shortly after.


Richard Tandy Left: Jeff and Richard share a joke, 1986

(Photo copyright Michael Putland/RETNA/Epic Records)

Right: Richard during the Discovery video shoot
, 1979

(Photo copyright Fin Costello/Redferns/Epic Records)





While contemplating what to do next, Lynne was thrilled to be contacted by George Harrison to collaborate with him on the ex-Beatle's 'Cloud Nine' album. Lynne then joined Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty as the Traveling Wilburys on 1988's Grammy Award-winning 'Volume 1' and 1991's 'Volume 3'. In between, Lynne produced and co-wrote Orbison's 'You Got It', Petty's 'Full Moon Fever' in 1989 and 'Into The Great Wide Open' in 1991 and his own debut solo album 'Armchair Theatre', which contained the hit single 'Every Little Thing'.


He memorably produced 'Free As A Bird' and 'Real Love' for 'The Beatles Anthology' project, following which he collaborated with Paul McCartney on his album 'Flaming Pie'.


A Dream Come True Top: Jeff Lynne with Sir George Martin and Neil Aspinall at the launch of "Beatles Anthology 1" in London 1995

(Photo copyright Andy Davis)

Bottom: Michael Kamen presents Jeff with the Ivor Novello for Outstanding Services to British Music

(Photo copyright Doug McKenzie)


In 1996, Jeff Lynne's formidable musical talents were recognised when he was presented with his third Ivor Novello Award, for Outstanding Services to British Music.







During 2000, ELO's 30th anniversary year, Lynne decided to reactivate the Electric Light Orchestra. The return began with 'Flashback', a definitive career-spanning retrospective boxset: "To me this is a real flashback of musical memory. I feel good about returning to this. It's taken me awhile to get enough distance from ELO to see what it was. At the time I didn't see what it was. When you're in the middle of a thing, it's 'What the hell is it?'"
'Zoom', released a year later, featured long-term ELO keyboard player Richard Tandy plus guest appearances from George Harrison and Ringo Starr and was ELO's first brand new album for 15 years: "I thought, what about using this new knowledge that I'd got - after working with all these guys that I really respected - to putting that towards an ELO album, to see what it'd be like now. ELO was always my group, so I had no qualms about when or far between albums you've got to have (laughs). Could be 20 years - this is only 15!"
FLASHBACK and the new album ZOOM





2001 also saw the beginning of definitive and expanded remastered editions of ELO's albums: 'Electric Light Orchestra' and 'ELO 2' on EMI in the UK and 'Eldorado - A Symphony By The Electric Light Orchestra', 'Discovery', 'Time' and 'Secret Messages' on Sony. 'Zoom Tour Live' was a spectacular surround-sound DVD that captured a live ELO concert in Los Angeles during May, while VH-1 dedicated a Storytellers TV special to Lynne's music that was filmed in New York in front of an invited audience of ELO fans that had flown in from "all over the world".


ELO 2001 ELO live at CBS studios, Los Angeles May 2001

(Photo by Annamaria DiSanta, copyright Sony Music/Epic Records)
ELO live in LA, 2001






During 2002, Lynne was back in the recording studio working on a variety of projects, one of which involved co-producing and helping complete George Harrison's posthumously released album, 'Brainwashed'. He was also heavily involved in the tribute memorial concert, held at London's Royal Albert Hall in November 2002 and subsequently responsible for the outstanding surround-sound production of the lavish 'Concert For George' DVD released in November 2003. 2006 sees Lynne return to the producers' chair for Tom Petty's acclaimed Grammy-nominated 'Highway Companion'.


Jeff and George Jeff & George February 1987 The Palace in Hollywood: Jeff Lynne with George Harrison backstage at a Dave Edmunds concert

(Photo copyright Robert Matheu)





In 2005, Jeff Lynne compiled and digitally remastered 'All Over The World - The Very Best Of ELO' which reached no.6 in the UK album charts and experienced similar success worldwide. The 20-track compilation has stayed around the charts ever since, highlighting ELO's incredible popularity and longevity since their original formation.



Jeff Lynne's considerable talents have seen him recognised as one of the finest producers and songwriters of his generation, admired and respected by fans and music industry alike. Whether balancing a solo, songwriting, production or ELO career, Lynne's major contribution to popular music now spans four decades.

With further ELO remasters and projects scheduled for 2007 and beyond, Jeff Lynne's outstanding musical legacy looks set to shine on for many more years!

Rob Caiger
London,
January 2007

 


ELO ALBUMS IN THE FTM SHOP

You've read about them - now hear them! ELO and the music of Jeff Lynne remastered and now available in the FTM Shop...



Electric Light Orchestra
(1971)
ELO 2
(1973)
On The Third Day
(1973)
The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)
(1974)
Eldorado
(1974)

Face The Music
(1975)

A New World Record
(1976)

Out Of The Blue
(1977)

Discovery
(1979)

Time
(1981)

Xanadu
(1980)

Secret Messages
(1983)

Balance Of Power
(1986)

Flashback
(2000)

Zoom Tour Live DVD
(2001)
All Over The World
(2005)

 

All material copyright Face The Music & not for reproduction elsewhere without permission. Website designed by Ken Greenwell.