Saturday, 13 January 2018

ELOwnership: What's In A Name?

Disclaimer: This is an article not intended to offend or affront ELO fans of any dissuasion. I was asked recently by a music mad friend of mine (who has no agenda) whether there has really been an ELO since Jeff Lynne disbanded the original band back in 1986. Their argument was that some folks did not consider ELO Part II on the same page as ELO and that any releases after "Balance Of Power" have been Jeff Lynne albums by any other name (even if marketed as ELO).

I therefore asked myself whether I considered that all those ELO Part II gigs I attended in the nineties and those studio/live albums I bought back then were ELO. I also considered the same when it came to "Zoom", "Mr. Blue Sky", "Alone In The Universe", "Wembley Or Bust" and the wonderful Jeff Lynne's ELO concerts that I've attended at Birmingham (twice), Liverpool and London in recent years. Jeff Lynne wrote and produced 99.5% of ELO's recorded output betwixt 1971 and 1986. In terms of recorded output, it can be argued that albums released since 2001 are practically Jeff Lynne with a little help from his friends. In my opinion, the Hyde Park show, the AITU tour and Wembley spectacular are the nearest we will all get to quintessential ELO. Having said that, the audience reaction last year at Rewind North to The Orchestra was also quite special, as was seeing ELO Part II perform with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra back in May 1991.

For me, it all comes down to the name: Electric Light Orchestra. Initially co-owned by Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan and now the property of Jeff since 1999, the moniker Jeff Lynne's ELO says it all. My ELO were the Magnificent Seven who adorned the inner sleeve of "A New World Record". For some people, ELO Part II and/or The Orchestra will also be their ELO and, most certainly, Jeff Lynne's ELO are ELO to many here and now.

Whilst you can't ignore the past or the facts as to who ELO were (i.e. former members, their contribution and so forth), fans will always have the right to perceive ELO as they so wish. Yours Truly KJS used to get in trouble for saying that "Zoom" was "Armchair Theatre Part II" but experience has taught me to quote a certain song from that very album: "It Really Doesn't Matter". It's about the music and, these days, it's also about what I term ELOwnership.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 13-Jan-2018

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

About Time: 21st Century Man

When "Twilight" b/w "Julie Don't Live Here" (JET7015) - the second single taken from ELO's classic album "Time" (JETLP236) - stalled at a modest #30 in the Official UK Singles Chart following the stellar success of lead single "Hold On Tight" b/w "When Time Stood Still" (JET7011), which had peaked at an impressive #4 in September 1981, it was a surprise if not a major disappointment to many fans of the band. Yet, with the third AA sided single "Ticket To The Moon" c/w "Here Is The News" (JET7018) peaking at #24 before fourth single "The Way Life's Meant To Be" b/w "Wishing" (JET7021) failed to chart, the writing seemed to be on the wall for a group whose previous twenty (20) UK singles going back to "Strange Magic" (JET779) in July 1976 had all made the UK Top 40.

Yours Truly KJS has often pondered (with the benefit of hindsight) if there had been a different choice or even order of singles issued from "Time " (after "Hold On Tight") whether their chart performance would have fared better. I say this as over in France, "21st Century Man" was paired with "Twilight" (JET808) and perhaps this was a more inspired selection following the up tempo aforementioned lead single rather than "Twilight" as an 'A' side alone. Undoubtedly the inclusion of the unreleased "Julie Don't Live Here" was also attractive to the ELO fan base, but one wonders if, following the death of John Lennon in December 1980 and the tribute dedicated to him during the ensuing 1981/82 "Time" tour plus the fact that "21st Century Man" was of slower pace in contrast to "Hold On Tight" - whether a potential #1 single opportunity was missed. Note also that the relatively sedate "Rain Is Falling" b/w "Another Heart Breaks" (ZS9 02693) was the choice of third single in the US as opposed to "Ticket To The Moon" and "Here Is The News".

This is, of course, all conjecture and theory yet "21st Century Man" remains the greatest ELO single never released (except, of course, in France!) - at least in the opinion of this writer.

See also: JET7021: IT'S A SLEEVIN' THING

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 10-Jan-2018

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Album of the Year: Hornal CD now available via amazon

If you missed the elobeatlesforever (elobf) review of 2017, you will have missed the news that Iain Hornal's excellent album "The Game Begins With The Lights Out" was chosen as elobf Album of the Year. And, hot on the heels of that news, Iain - now a fully fledged member of both the 10cc and Jeff Lynne's ELO touring bands - contacted Yours Truly KJS with the welcome news that said album can now be ordered in CD format via having already been available to purchase digitally (and in limited edition vinyl) beforehand.

So without further ado, you can buy said CD and/or read my February 2017 album review and/or check out the aforementioned Album of the Year announcement via these links thus:
Yours Truly 2017: A Year In Review

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "The Game Begins With The Lights Out" by Hornal to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles10ccThe Feeling and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 07-Jan-2018

Saturday, 6 January 2018

ChartWatch: Wembley Or Bust Suffers The Fall

The Official UK Album Chart Top 100 published yesterday (Friday 5th January) revealed that "Wembley Or Bust" by Jeff Lynne's ELO has fell an astonishing fifty six places from #40 to #96 this week (after seven weeks in the chart) whilst "All Over The World" has slipped from #50 to #53 (having clocked up a 174 week chart run to date). Elsewhere, Roy Orbison's orchestral overview "A Love So Beautiful" has exited the Top 10 in dropping from #10 to #14 and Bryan Adams' latest career compilation "Ultimate" has nudged up another six places from #61 to #55 meaning that ELO maestro Jeff Lynne has a hand (just about) in four Top 100 albums this week. Meanwhile, over in the Official Singles Chart, Wizzard and "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" have left the Top 100 after reaching a heady #15 last week.

See also: Review: Wembley Or Bust (Jeff Lynne's ELO)
See also: ChartWatch: Out Of The Blue Returns + Wembley Or Bust TV Debut
See also: ChartWatch: ELO/Jeff Lynne Continue + Wizzard Return for Roy Wood
See also: ChartWatch: ELO/Wizzard Consolidate + Wembley Or Bust BBC2 Reminder
See also: ChartWatch: Wembley Or Bust TV Debut Prompts ELO Uplift
See also: ChartWatch: Roy Wood & Wizzard Hit 44 Year Christmas High

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Wembley Or Bust" and "All Over The World" to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 06-Jan-2018

Friday, 5 January 2018

Here Is The News (10)

Some interesting news was revealed over the festive period that connected ELO members (both old and new), 10cc and The Beatles. Just before Christmas, Graham Gouldman announced that he is to join Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band for their 2018 European tour. At the same time, Jeff Lynne's ELO touring member Iain Hornal was unveiled as the replacement for Mick Wilson in the 10cc touring line-up. Mick (also a former member of the Jeff Lynne's ELO live band) will now be concentrating on his Frontm3n project. Iain's excellent 2017 album "The Game Begins With The Lights Out" was also recently revealed as elobeatlesforever (elobf) Album of the Year here.

Meanwhile, Bev Bevan published a New Year message via Facebook wherein The Move and ELO co-founding drummer looked forward to the resumption of his "Stand Up & Rock!" shows with Jasper Carrott in March and his return to touring with Quill in advance of their new studio album "Riding Rainbows" at Ludlow on Saturday 17th February and Lichfield on Friday 2nd March. Bev also stated that Brum Rocks will return in Autumn 2018.

Both Quill and Bev Bevan also confirmed this week that ace guitarist Tony Kelsey and talented keyboardist/vocalist Abby Brant had departed the band with former members Phil Bates and wife Jo (who met in an earlier incarnation of the band) rejoining the Celtic Americana rockers so that Phil and Bev are reunited for a fourth time after their paths crossed previously in ELO Part II, The Bev Bevan Band and The Move. Find out more via these links thus:
elobeatlesforever (elobf) Gig Guide #30: Q1 2018

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 05-Jan-2018

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Singled Out: The Edited Light Orchestra

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Over the years - from "Time" to "Time" - Electric Light Orchestra singles were edited down in order either to facilitate radio airplay, promote their records and, in some cases, fit onto 7" format (for jukebox usage et al). This was particularly evident with singles taken from ELO's first five studio albums where the tracks were either too long or supplanted with orchestral preludes or interludes.

Yours Truly KJS therefore thought a worthwhile task to try and collate a list of those ELO single edits for elobeatlesforever (elobf). I've omitted any releases where the difference between track lengths is 3 seconds or less. The album timings are taken from various vinyl and digital sources. Doubtless I've missed a few!
Perhaps the most extreme examples of the culling of ELO songs for single release occurred with "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" (UK/US) and "Boy Blue" (US only) from the "Eldorado" long player as well as in Holland/Europe where "Mr. Blue Sky" was also significantly cut short.

In the above cases, the result was to dramatically reduce the integrity of the songs (in the opinion of this writer) whereas the shortened versions of "10538 Overture" and "Roll Over Beethoven" did seem to work. I've also included ELO Part II singles for the sake of completeness. Enjoy!

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 02-Jan-2018

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Yours Truly 2017: A Year In Review

What a year 2017 turned out to be for elobeatlesforever (elobf)! So much has happened in the last calendar year that writing this review has taken much time. Where do I start?  I guess the fact that ELO founding trio Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood and Bev Bevan were to be found performing relatively regularly (and will be doing so again in 2018) was again significant, as was their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame alongside Richard Tandy. We missed seeing RT this year and continue to wish him well in his recovery. The year finished with a knighthood for Beatles legend Ringo Starr. Let's hope Sir Jeff will follow in 12 months ...

This was a busy year for Yours Truly KJS with many gigs, albums and gigs to review as well as us seeing the good Dr. Roy Wood (finally) reach 70 years of age with ELO maestro Jeff joining him just yesterday! On a personal level, it was amazing to see elobf achieve the notable milestone of 2 million views in early November just a few days after my 50th birthday and only 17 months after elobf hit its first million in June 2016. On a sadder note, there we lost many musical heroes again in 2017 including Chuck Berry and (most tragically) Tom Petty, not forgetting The ELO Encounter percussionist Simon Dove who passed away just this last week.
There were many gigs in 2017 that literally took ones breath away. the much anticipated Wembley spectacular on Saturday 24th June starring Jeff Lynne's ELO will forever live in my memory yielding a Top 10 album, many magic moments and the opportunity to meet in person friends and followers literally from "All Over The World" including the fabulously talented Jib Khan (the man behind elobf featured artiste Starflight).

It was also great to see The Orchestra (former members of ELO & ELO Part II) perform their excellent cameo at Rewind North in August (to an amazing audience reaction) and, of course, to again savour three superb Roy Wood dates as well as a couple of Stand Up & Rock! shows featuring Bev Bevan and Jasper Carrott (we look forward to the resumption of those SUAR shows in March - I'll be at Chesterfield!). ELO tribute bands were also a plenty in the last twelve months with some sublime live performances by The ELO Experience, ELO Again, Explosive Light Orchestra (ExpLO) and The ELO Encounter constantly raising the bar. Graham Gouldman and 10cc were also awesome in April and Take That delivered a stunning show in Liverpool in May whilst Bob Dylan joined my gig roster at Nottingham, kicking off a trio of Wilbury dates during the Summer that concluded with an absolutely brilliant show by Tom Petty (ably supported by Stevie Nicks) in July at Hyde Park.

elobf Gig of the Year
With TP suddenly passing away just under three months after his sole London appearance, I'd like to remember his two hour headline slot with The Heartbreakers at BST2017 as my fave gig of 2017 with EJLO at Wembley coming a very close second. My multimedia copies of "Wembley Or Bust" and the forthcoming 2018 world tour will provide more opportunities to see/hear Jeff Lynne's ELO live whereas the opportunity to see Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. again has forever passed. (Many thanx to Paul Scott for making sure I got to see TP!)
On the album front, this was another remarkable year for Jeff Lynne's ELO with live album "Wembley Or Bust" following "Alone In The Universe" into the Official UK Top 10 Album Chart and an orchestrated Roy Orbison also returning (in a fashion) with "A Love So Beautiful". The highly collectible (and delayed) "Out Of The Blue" 2LP picture disc set also charted as did "All Over The World" for many weeks. The Move also made a brief but welcome visit to the chart with their career overview "Magnetic Waves Of Sound". Magnificent new albums from Thomas Walsh's Pugwash ("Silverlake"), Judie Tzuke ("Peace Has Broken Out") and Michael Laine Hildebrandt's Bubble Gum Orchestra ("Sixthoverture") were highlights too.

elobf Album of the Year
Which brings me to the very difficult choice as to what was the elobeatlesforever (elobf) Album of the Year for 2017. I loved (and still love) all previously noted releases (and those in the above montage) but the record that stood out for me this year was Iain Hornal's classy 10cc tinged offering "The Game Begins With The Lights Out". A wonderful record worthy of more recognition.

Yours Truly KJS would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every visitor and contributor to elobeatlesforever (elobf) during 2017 and to also wish you a Happy, Peaceful, Prosperous if not ELOtastic New Year. See you in 2018 folks?

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 31-Dec-2017