Jeff Lynne"s vision because that ELO was more ambitious than many of his peers – yet which that his grand concepts hit home the hardest?


For a couple of lucky people – civilization like Jeff Lynne – desires really do come true. As a teenager cultivation up in Birmingham in the beforehand 60s, Lynne, choose so plenty of other aspiring musicians, worshipped The Beatles. But unlike so countless other dreamers, Lynne not only made it together a absent star but also ended increase working with The Beatles themselves. As co-producer of 2 long-lost Beatles songs, Free as A Bird and also Real Love, exit in the mid-90s on your Anthology series, Lynne do a boyhood fantasy real.

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Lynne has enjoyed a lengthy, varied and hugely effective career spanning 5 decades. His very first big break came in 1970 when he joined friend Roy timber in The Move, rated through Paul Stanley of Kiss as among the an excellent British pop rock groups. But it v his next venture, the electric Light Orchestra, in i m sorry Wood likewise briefly collaborated, that Lynne truly found his voice.

As the arch, punning surname indicated, ELO fused electrical rock and pop with classical influences, developing a sound that was truly unique. Their classic line-up had Lynne donate by six musicians, including a violinist and two cellists – which, in 1977, was somewhat out of step with the increasing tide of punk rock.

But Jeff Lynne’s grand vision prolonged far past punk’s narrow parameters. In your pomp – and also in ELO’s case, there yes, really is no other word because that it – they offered over 50 million albums in 11 years and performed on stage beneath a large ‘spaceship’.

It couldn’t last, that course. By 1986, v sales dwindling, Lynne disbanded ELO to job-related as a producer because that George Harrison, Tom Petty and also Roy Orbison, through whom he also starred, alongside Bob Dylan, in the super-supergroup The traveling Wilburys. In a bizarre twist, number of members of the standard ELO line-up, minus Lynne, reunited in the late 80s together ELO part II. Yet in 2015, the main man relaunched a brand-new version of the group, billed together Jeff Lynne’s ELO, v a civilization tour and also a new album, Alone In The Universe.

It to be Lynne’s genius – depicted in song such as Mr. Blue Sky, Livin’ Thing and also Evil Woman – that led Manic Street Preachers frontman James Dean Bradfield come proclaim: “ELO are far better than The Beatles!” and also even Jeff Lynne never dreamed he’d listen that.

14) Balance Of strength (Epic, 1986)

In the mid-80s, ~ 15 years of ELO, Jeff Lynne to be seeking new challenges. He was recording as a solo artist and also working together writer and also producer for others, consisting of Dave Edmunds and ABBA’s Agnetha Faltskog. As soon as he went back to ELO (now decreased to a main point of three), the whiff of contractual duty was in the air. Balance of Power completed a sorry decrease into bland soft rock. It wasn’t therefore much bad as plain average. “I’m actually quite pleased through the method this one rotate out,” Lynne claimed recently. But back in ’86, the wasn’t so happy. Shortly after this album’s release, a tour aborted, ELO separation up.

13) secret Messages (Jet, 1983)

Conceived through Lynne together a dual album – one idea nixed by ELO’s significant label distributor CBS – Secret Messages to be whittled under to a consistent 10-track album, and even then it was thin gruel. Rock ‘N’ roll Is King was a optimal 20 hit, yet the tune was as hokey as its title. Four small Diamonds sounded favor something The Beatles had actually knocked turn off in 5 minutes as soon as they to be bored. And also while the album’s location track had actually a kind tune, its handle 80s sound was proof of a band shedding its way.

12) Xanadu (Original Motion picture Soundtrack) (Jet, 1980)

On ELO’s 1981 ide album Time, Jeff Lynne pondered mankind’s future and also sang in a voice from a remote age: ‘Remember the good old 1980s/When points were therefore uncomplicated…’ What Lynne the visionary didn’t foresee was ELO’s demise in the coming decade. Yet they began the 80s with an additional massive hit, albeit one the alienated numerous rock fans. Xanadu, the soundtrack come a silly Hollywood musical, featured five songs by the movie’s star Olivia Newton-John (including a sappy duet with Cliff Richard), four by ELO, and a camp title monitor performed by ELO and Newton-John together. Mercifully, ELO’s songs to be strong, specifically All over The World, among the last classics from the band’s golden era.

11) Zoom (Epic, 2001)

A Jeff Lynne solo album in all but name, Zoom featured one various other member that the definitive ELO line-up in key-board player Richard Tandy, to add guest appearances from George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The album to be not quite the go back to the standard ELO sound the fans might have wished for, but in its best moments – notably on the elegant ballad Moment In Paradise – Lynne verified he might do ELO pretty lot on his own. Or rather, together the old track goes, with a tiny help native his friends.

10) Alone In The universe (Columbia, 2015)

Although this album was attributed to Jeff Lyne’s ELO, the was, favor Zoom before it, a solo record. Only much more so. Except Lynne himself, only two other people were on it – his daughter Laura singing background vocals on two songs, and also engineer Steve Jay play percussion. If Lynne want to contact it ELO, he had actually every best – the was constantly his band. And while Alone In The Universe was no the full-blown ELO that Mr. Blue Sky or Evil Woman, it to be still a fine late-career comeback for Lynne, through a couple of beautiful and magical song in When ns Was A Boy and also All my Life.

9) discovery (Jet, 1979)

By 1979 ELO were one of the biggest bands in the world, but Jeff Lynne confronted a tricky dilemma: how to monitor an album together brilliant and successful as Out that The Blue? Lynne’s solution was bold, come say the least. With disco music tho flourishing, ELO acquired funky on one album later nicknamed “Disco-very!” by key-board player Richard Tandy. Amazingly, the worked. Discovery was ELO’s an initial No.1 and also produced four UK optimal 10 singles: Shine A little Love, The Diary that Horace Wimp, Don’t lug Me Down and double-A-side Confusion/Last Train to London.

Moreover, ELO’s signature sound remained largely intact.

8) ELO II (Harvest, 1973)

After a promising start, ELO might have fallen at the second fence when Roy timber quit during the making of this album to kind Wizzard. But Lynne brought on with an expanded line-up, and also the album was moderately successful, break the UK peak 40 and also yielding the band’s 2nd Top 10 hit, a version of chuck Berry’s Roll over Beethoven, a organic fit because that ELO. Through just five tracks ~ above its original vinyl format, ELO II has actually a heavy steady rock influence, most obvious on the King Crimson/Beatles hybrid In Old England Town (one of two songs taped with Wood) and also the 11-minute Kuiama. Yet the finest song to be Mama, the first sign of Lynne’s pop genius.

7) top top The 3rd Day (Harvest, 1973)

Although the bombed in the UK, ELO’s third album was a minor hit in America, where “the English males with the huge fiddles” were, by 1973, a major concert draw. They likewise had friends in high places. Glam rock superstar Marc Bolan played command guitar through Lynne on this album’s large rock tune, Ma-Ma-Ma Belle. And also to Lynne’s delight, man Lennon raved around the album’s hit single Showdown, ultimately dubbing ELO “son that Beatles”. Lynne paid his own tribute come Lennon ~ above Bluebird Is Dead, and went fully overboard through a rocking version of Edvard Grieg’s In The room Of The hill King. However Showdown is Lynne’s favourite tune on one album also he admits is “very obscure”.

6) electric Light Orchestra (Harvest, 1972)

Lynne was still a member of The Move, together Roy Wood and future ELO drummer Bev Bevan, when he composed the very an initial ELO song, 10538 Overture. V Wood play a cheap Chinese cello, multi-tracked by Lynne, the tune sounded to Wood’s ears prefer a “monster heavy metal orchestra”. 10538 Overture became the brand-new group’s mission statement, the opening fanfare top top a debut album explained by Melody Maker as “a gas”. Wood’s left-field sensibilities led the nascent ELO into what Lynne later referred to as “some yes, really strange places”, however 10538 Overture was a height 10 UK hit. Def Leppard extended the song in 2006, yet as Leppard’s Joe Elliott noted, Paul Weller ripped it turn off for The Changingman in ’95.

5) Time (Jet, 1981)

It’s strange that an album that went to No.1 in the UK should finish being largely forgotten countless years down the line, yet so it is with Time. The is revered by some diehard pan as among ELO’s greatest albums. Beyond that is remembered only for its one significant hit single, Hold top top Tight. However it is among the most ambitious records that Jeff Lynne ever produced – a ide album in the standard prog rock tradition, based on time travel, however with the influence of synth-pop widespread throughout, and some wonderful songs including Twilight, Ticket to The Moon and Another heart Breaks. If there is a lost standard in the ELO catalogue, this is it.

4) challenge The Music (Jet, 1975)

1975 was a weird year for ELO. Face The Music, their fifth album, got to the height 10 in the US, but in the UK, like the group’s previous 2 albums, it didn’t also chart. It did, however, create a UK fight single, albeit belatedly. Evil Woman, a song written in 20 minutes and also initially dismissed as filler through Jeff Lynne, offered ELO their first domestic optimal 10 hit in 3 years, and collection them up nicely for the following album, A new World Record. Evil Woman remains among ELO’s best-loved songs, a genuine 70s popular music classic and the to mark of one album that has several great songs (Strange Magic, Waterfall) and one bald turkey, the daft Down house Town.

3) Eldorado (Jet, 1974)

Loftily subtitled A Symphony by The electrical Light Orchestra, the group’s fourth album is described by Lynne as “one that yer actual concept albums.” The principle itself was somewhat vague. “It’s around a dream world,” stated Lynne. Yet undoubtedly, Eldorado represented a big leap forward because that ELO. Working v a complete orchestra because that the very first time, rather of multi-tracking violins and also cellos, Lynne was lastly able to realise the sound that remained in his impressively furry head. The album’s centrepiece, Mister Kingdom, is a grand orchestral take it on man Lennon’s Across The Universe. But best of all is Can’t obtain It the end Of my Head, among Lynne’s most beautiful songs, surprisingly spanned in 2007 by Velvet Revolver.

2) A brand-new World document (Jet, 1976)

ELO’s sixth album to be their big international breakthrough. Hitting the height 10 in every country in i beg your pardon it to be released, A new World Record sold 5 million systems worldwide. Its location – motivated by the Montreal Olympics, which hosted the world’s fist while the tape were recording in Munich – was fitting because that an album the elevated ELO to global fame. In ~ home, the album produced three top 10 singles with Livin’ Thing, Telephone Line and Rockaria!, the last a prime example of Lynne’s classical/rock style, finish with boogie riff, sawing strings, trilling opera singer and also references come Wagner, Beethoven and also more. “I was quiet confident around the songs,” Lynne later on commented. No wonder.

1) the end Of The Blue (Jet, 1977)

Jeff Lynne’s magnum opus is among the classic dual albums, his answer come The Beatles’ White Album, and also ELO’s crowning glory.

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Lynne wrote the totality of Out that The Blue, 17 songs, in just four weeks, alone at a Swiss Alpine retreat. Inspiration involved him on the first sunny morning, when, together he later on recalled, “The mountains were lit up, and also I came up with Mr. Blue Sky.” A mini-symphony in itself, Mr. Blue Sky to be the touchtone for an album on i m sorry Lynne gave full rein to his ambitions: a deluxe rock odyssey incorporating dazzling arrangements, cutting edge studio wizardry and, many importantly, good songwriting. Marketing eight million copies in a year, it was a worldwide phenomenon.

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