Sunday, 13 June 2021

ELO 2021: 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Japanese BSCD2 Reissues

#1,593: Aside from the influx of new merchandise into the Jeff Lynne's ELO store, there has seemingly been little else happening as we approach the midpoint of ELO's 50th anniversary year ... until now! Our friends at CDJapan are currently taking pre-orders for a sextet of limited edition Blu-spec CD2 (BSCD2) releases due out on Wednesday 25th August 2021.

Expect further similar outings for the Electric Light Orchestra album back catalogue from "On The Third Day" to "Balance Of Power" to follow (sadly) with the exceptions of "Xanadu" and "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)".

"Mr. Blue Sky", "Zoom", "Live", "Alone In The Universe", "Wembley Or Bust" and "From Out Of Nowhere" will all be issued in a mini-LP cardboard sleeve which will doubtless thrill ELO completist fans and collectors alike. Five albums are priced at 2,500yen ($22.80 or £16.16) each with the 2CD "Wembley Or Bust" retailing at 3,600yen ($32.83 or £23.28) each at the time of writing. Please click on the links below for further info and to place pre-orders bearing in mind there may be additional import duty charges for these items:


*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 13-June-2021 ***

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

ELO Beatles Forever Mailing List

#1,592: With over 3 million views since February 2009, Yours Truly KJS and ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) have built up a solid reputation in not only covering all things ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, Bev Bevan, related and indie artistes but also a whole host more aside from continuing our campaign for the official release of "Beatles Forever" from the originally intended 1983 "Secret Messages" 2LP set.

With that in mind, if you'd like to start receiving email notifications of new KJS/ELOBF articles, please consider joining the Official ELOBF Mailing List by dropping a line to sinclair.keith@talk21.com should you be so minded. Many thanx in advance for your interest!

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 01-June-2021 ***

Monday, 31 May 2021

Nice Price: ELO's Epic Vinyl Reissues

#1,591: As Jet Records faded like The Beatles on Hey Jude in the midst of the 80's as fans and followers of the Electric Light Orchestra started to see ELO albums appearing on record store shelves on the Epic label (a major imprint of the CBS empire who boasted ABBA, George Michael, Meat Loaf and Michael Jackson amongst their artist roster), particularly when "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)" (Epic #EPC32700) was finally given a UK release in 1985 and "Balance Of Power" (Epic #EPC26467) arrived in 1986.

The demise of Don Arden's Jet label at that time meant that ELO's impressive back catalogue soon started to appear on the Epic label - often under the CBS Nice Price series - firstly on vinyl/cassette and then later as CD releases. As far as this writer can ascertain, the first Epic LP reissue was "Face The Music" (Epic #EPC32544) during 1984 with "Eldorado", "A New World Record", "Out Of The Blue" (in single sleeve), "Discovery" (no longer a gatefold), "ELO's Greatest Hits", "Time" and "Secret Messages" following. The first Epic reissue of "A New World Record" retained the JET prefix rather than EPC (see montage below) with initial Epic labels often quoting ℗ Jet Records as the sound recording copyright owner rather than ℗ CBS Inc. and ELO collectors will no doubt be aware of other examples where JET prefixes found their way onto the Epic LP reissues. Yours Truly KJS still recalls not intending to partake of the Epic vinyl pressings back then being as it felt like a kind of betrayal seeing ELO records not sporting the familiar Jet label but that reluctance soon changed when CD's took over!

Friday, 28 May 2021

ELO UK Album Release Dates

#1,590: In following on from our preceding KJS/ELOBF article featuring the UK release dates for most Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) singles between 1972-1986, the intent of this article is to detail twenty four (24) ELO album release dates from their first eponymously titled LP on 3rd December 1971 all the way through to the most recent Jeff Lynne's ELO long player "From Out Of Nowhere" on 1st November 2019.

For simplicity and due to the incredibly large amount of ELO compilations put out since "Showdown" (Harvest #SHSP4037), only charting albums are included with the exception of "On The Third Day", "Eldorado" and "Face The Music" hence you will not find "Four Light Years" (Jet #JETBX2), "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)" (Epic #EPC32700), "ELO's Greatest Hits Volume Two" (EPC #4719562) and/or other such releases listed below. You can see that most ELO albums were not exclusively released on a Friday. Once again, no controversy is intended as we approach the 20th anniversary of "Zoom" (Epic #5025002) next month. All comments and alternative date theories or propositions are welcome in this discussion. UK chart positions are courtesy of the Official Charts Company Archive.

*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... 28-May-2021 ***

Sunday, 23 May 2021

ELO UK Single Release Dates

#1,589: For a long time, Yours Truly KJS and ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) have been researching the UK release dates for all Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) singles from "10538 Overture" (Harvest #HAR5053) in 1972 to "Getting To The Point" (Epic #A7317) in 1986 and this article is the result of those investigations. Using information from the KJS/ELOBF archives and other reputable sources with a pinch of common sense and the odd memory cell, this writer hopes that you find this information of interest. Note that "Mr. Blue Sky" (Jet #UP36342) was issued in January! Would MBS have gone higher in the Top 10 if it had have been released during Spring/Summer '78?

There is a lot of conflicting data out there and even 'official' ELO sources sometimes get it wrong (i.e. "Telephone Line" was not released on Saturday 21st May 1977 as claimed recently via social media). Default release day was on a Friday (or w/e Friday, as cited below). No controversy is intended as we approach the 43rd anniversary of "Wild West Hero" (Jet #SJET109) this week. All comments and alternative date theories or propositions are welcome in this discussion. UK chart positions courtesy of Official Charts Company Archive.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Remembering Mark Regula

#1,588: The belated news received this weekend of the tragic recent passing away of Ivory Tower Project (ITP) maestro Mark Regula was both shocking and saddening for ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF). Mark was not only regarded in the biz as a highly regarded singer, songwriter and musician, he was also someone whom this writer considered a friend ever since we were introduced to each other by our mutual pal Gene 'Doc' DiPierro (owner/proprietor of Hamilton Radio) just over a decade ago via my then KJS Suggests show.

Since then ITP's highly related albums "Red Hot" (in 2012) and "How Much More?" (in 2017) have been positively reviewed by Yours Truly KJS whilst we remained in regular touch via Twitter until just a few weeks ago. It was a pleasure to be associated with such a kind and talented man - perhaps the ultimate Old School Rocker - who was so professional and diligent in the promotion and marketing of his beloved Ivory Tower Project and always such an encouragement to the output of KJS/ELOBF.

Our thoughts remain with Patti and the family at this time. Thank you Mark for sharing your inspiring life and music. Rest in peace.

KJS/ELOBF/ITP articles

Please go to www.ivorytowerproject.com for more ITP info
ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) will always remember and recommend Mark Regula and The Ivory Tower Project to those enlightened souls who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 16-May-2021

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Wonderful Land: Jeff Lynne, Hank Marvin & Mark Knopfler

#1,587: Jeff Lynne's association with The Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre goes back much further than their nomination for the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) frontman to receive an O2 Silver Clef Award back in 2016 due to his 1993 collaboration with The Shadows legend Hank Marvin and Dire Straits' guitar maestro Mark Knopfler in aid of the aforementioned charity.

Having worked with a plethora of his personal musical heroes in the eighties and early nineties as the ELO spaceship was retired in 1986, Jeff was called into Abbey Road Studios to produce (and contribute acoustic guitar to) a new version of "Wonderful Land" (UK #1 in 1962 for eight weeks from March to May) for Hank Marvin's "Heartbeat" album which was, of course, also released as a single in 7", CD (now worth a small fortune) and cassette formats with flip side "Nivram" - also produced by Lynne. His then regular engineering cohort Richard Dodd was also on hand for the session. "Wonderful Land" sadly failed to chart second time around but it did help "Heartbeat" to a healthy #17 in the Official UK Album Chart during December 1993. Aside from his earlier work with "Armchair Theatre" (1990), Miss B Haven (1990), Del Shannon (1991), Tom Petty (1991), "The Traveling Wilburys Volume 3" (1991) and Julianna Raye (1992), the final decade of the 20th century was to be equally busy if not prolific for Jeff Lynne in advance of the return of his new look ELO with "Flashback" (2000) and "Zoom" (2001). Look out for forthcoming KJS/ELOBF articles covering those partnerships and projects soon!
Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy is the largest independent music therapy charity in the UK, dedicated to changing the lives of vulnerable and isolated people. They support thousands of people through their own centres and by working in partnership with a wide range of organisations including care homes, schools and hospitals. Music therapy is the specialist use of music that aims to facilitate physical and emotional well-being, and to promote the development and retention of key communication skills. A wide range of instruments can be used in music therapy, including the voice, and the music created is often improvised. Music therapists support people to develop their own ways of being musical in order to explore their potential and connect with the world around them. Donations can be made to the charity via this link thus: www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/donate

Related KJS/ELOBF articles

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Review: Angel Dreams (Bubble Gum Orchestra)

#1,586: When it comes to Michael Laine Hildebrandt and Bubble Gum Orchestra, it really is a case of "Hello My Old Friend" after two extended breaks from social media during which Yours Truly KJS unfortunately missed running the proverbial ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) rule over the four BGO releases since their eighth outing "Zentopia" in 2018. Unveiled at the end of April, new album "Angel Dreams" undoubtedly enforces the reputation that BGO have built up whilst following in the footsteps of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) for their classic semi-orchestrated rock over the decade since the ethereal "Out Of This World" first reached our ears.

The eleven trax that comprise "Angel Dreams" take the listener on an emotional journey of love, angst, devotion and release riding on the waves of the known impressive musical talents of BGO maestro Michael Laine Hildebrandt who has again written, played, arranged and produced the whole record from conception to completion. Lead single "Missing Me, Missing You" (click here to hear) is a wonderful example (with those fabtastic ELOesque layered backing vox) of what to expect of what is an upbeat and heartfelt offering.

Whereas opener "Pure Ecstasy" is atypical BGO, oozing energy and passion as the first chapter of this musical love story, it also prepares the way for wonderfully catchy foot tappers such as "Dance With Me Tonight", the anthemic declaration of "The Luckiest Man", sublime instrumental "Angel Dreams", "Sweetheart Girl" and "Die For Your Love Tonite" which are perfectly balanced by pensive ballads including "I'll Pray For You" and "Confessions In The Moonlight". As mentioned previously, listening to these songs is like visiting with an old friend and remembering all the good times whilst enjoying all the latest happenings. If you haven't already done so, you should "Go BGO!" and experience these "Angel Dreams" for yourself. KJS/ELOBF fave track: "Angel Dreams (Instrumental)" ★★★★★
"Angel Dreams" by Bubble Gum Orchestra (BGO) is now available in download format via this link thus:

ELOBF/BGO Album Reviews

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Angel Dreams" by Bubble Gum Orchestra to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 09-May-2021

Monday, 3 May 2021

Gatefold Gallery: ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood & Beyond

#1,585: Down the years, record companies have thought of inventive ways to amplify and market the product of their artiste rosters be it coloured vinyl, picture discs and other such releases. Perhaps one one of the less obvious marketing vehicles is the gatefold album - a kind of halfway house between a single (1LP) and a double (2LP) wherein the record buying public is presented with one disc in a double album sleeve - and there have certainly been no shortage of gatefold issues when it comes to the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood whether it be original releases or the later proliferation of reissues thanx to the resurgence of vinyl over the last couple of decades.
Looking at the KJS/ELOBF tabulation below, it's interesting to see that "The Birthday Party" by The Idle Race (in 1968) preceded ELO's first three UK album released on EMI's Harvest imprint and Warner Bros. Burbank label were gatefolds as were many LP's at that time. It was the same in Germany with "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)" and, surprisingly, even "Face The Music" got the gatefold treatment in France with Dutch compilation "All Over The World" (also known as "All Over The Wolrd") following in 1987.
Avid fans and collectors will all be aware that "Discovery" and "Xanadu" marked the return of ELO gatefolds at their commercial peak as did "Alone In The Universe" in 2015 although they may not be aware of the now ultra-rare white vinyl LETV reissue of "Long Wave" in early 2013. Note also that a trio of Roy Wood and Wizzard albums "Introducing Eddy & The Falcons", "Boulders" and "Mustard" (the latter two featuring Roy's unique artwork) were also gatefold editions. Q: How many ELO & related gatefold LP's do you own?
Related elobf articles

*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... 03-May-2021 ***

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Randy Newman: The Story of a Rock & Roll Band, ELO & Jeff Lynne

#1,584: Perhaps the ultimate compliment for an artiste/musician is to have a song written about you or a song quoting your songs and when it comes to the Electric Light Orchestra/Jeff Lynne there's now a growing list that includes Cheap Trick's "ELO Kiddies" (1977), Paul Melancon's "Jeff Lynne" (2002), Esa Linna's "She's Not A Human Being" (2013) and, of course, "ELO Forever" (2014) by Michael Laine Hildebrandt's Bubble Gum Orchestra (BGO) amongst not a few others in its ranks as well as a certain track crafted by American singer/songwriter Randy Newman for his album "Born Again" in 1979 just as ELO were approaching their commercial peak.

At the time of release, many thought that "The Story Of A Rock & Roll Band" (UK: Warner Bros. #K17447) was a parody of ELO and Jeff Lynne's trademark song arrangements and success in referencing, as it did, three of their hit singles ("Telephone Line", "Turn To Stone" & "Mr. Blue Sky") and hometown Birmingham. Yet this was far from what was intended by the writer on an album many listeners thought dark and critical of the music biz at that time. This was confirmed in a later interview when Newman affirmed: "What I like about it is that I got everything so wrong … I mispronounced the name of the town, made up their names. And they do have these idiosyncrasies about their music that are funny. It's maybe a kind of a joke, but I wouldn't have done it if I really hated them like I hate some people."
The fact that no offence was taken by Lynne or intended by Newman was confirmed when the two music legends collaborated during the recording sessions nine years later for "Land Of Dreams" (UK: Reprise #WX212) in 1988 when the ELO maestro not only produced "Falling In Love" (UK: Reprise #W7578) but also contributed keys, guitar, bass and backing vox (alongside Tom Petty and Mike Campbell) to the eventual single as well as backing vox for "It's Money That Matters". Note also that co-producer Mark Knopfler also contributed significantly on "Land of Dreams" and would come to work directly with Jeff and Hank Marvin three years later for the "Wonderful Land" charity singleThis was a productive if not busy time for Jeff during the latter half of the decade as he worked alongside George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Del Shannon, Miss B Haven, Brian Wilson and Duane Eddy aside from forming The Traveling Wilburys hence working with Randy Newman too must also have been a highlight.
One therefore wonders why there remains a reluctance to release "Beatles Forever" when taking into account songs such as "Titles" by Barclay James Harvest and "Something About The Beatles" by The Korgis which do great justice to their musical legacy in the same way as the aforementioned quintet of ELO friendly tunes (especially that of Randy Newman) do so for Jeff Lynne.
Related elobf articles