This week it’s one of my favourite bands, British band The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). They were formed in 1970 by members of The Move; Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan. The idea was to incorporate elements of classical music in pop, adding violins, cellos and some woodwind and horns
In America, where they did better initially, they were apparently known as “the English guys with big fiddles” !
In 1972, Roy Wood left to form Wizzard.
This band with it’s very distinctive use of strings have produced some of the best quality pop songs in the 70s and 80s but somehow seemed to pass the “cool” music press by. Despite not being beloved by critics they were loved by the public, their singles doing very well and their albums in particular, selling in the many millions.
Jeff Lynne ceased with the band in 1986 and went on to produce other artists and do other things such as being part of superstar group “The Travelling Wilburys” with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison & Tom Petty.
Drummer Bev Bevan continued with “ELO Part ii” and “Orchestra” and eventually sold his share of the band back to Lynne.
In recent times thanks to Jeff Lynne doing Glastonbury and other concerts, interest was rekindled and the band revisited their former hits and then produced new music as “Jeff Lynne’s ELO”, winning “Band of the Year” in 2016 at the Classic Rock, Roll of Honour Awards. It was only this year they were finally inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2017”
Their greatest hits albums still sell very well as people realise just how good they were.
ELO had 27 top forty hits, including 15 top tens and 1 number one.
Their first hit was “10538 Overture” which reached number 9 in 1972.
Their only number one was “Xanadu” with Olivia Newton-John which stayed at the top spot for two weeks in 1980 and was from the musical film of the same name. Whilst a decent record, it is a shame that none of their other songs didn’t hit number 1 as there are loads deserving of the top spot. Just some worthy of that are “Mr Blue Sky’, “Livin’ Thing”, “Evil Woman”, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” , “Telephone Line” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” which was their highest other hit which reached number 3 in 1979.
“Showdown” reached number 12 in 1973. One of their earliest hits and a favourite of mine. Love the violin riff throughout and the break distortion at 02:44.
(Uploaded to YouTube by TheMaster974)
“From the End of the World” wasn’t a single (why?!) but is one of my favourite tracks of theirs. It’s from the 1981 concept album “Time” which had a time travel concept about a man from 1980 going to 2095. The album is not one of their most well known, but still reached number one and is now considered to be the most influential of their catalogue due to it’s concept.
(Uploaded to YouTube by ELOVEVO)