Monday, 24 January 2022

Short Little Diamonds: ELO's Briefest Trax

#1,648: Ever wondered what would be the shortest track officially released by the Electric Light Orchestra - especially in these days of expanded albums replete with bonus content, alternate takes, demos and rough mixes? Yours Truly KJS thought it would be interesting to plough through my CD & vinyl collection and list ELO/Jeff Lynne trax of under two minutes duration with a view to identifying the shortest ELO song albeit with a couple of caveats. Due to the fact that ELO Part II's Moment Of Truth album contains six sub-two minute length trax, I've excluded all three orchestral instrumental interludes, the four second long "Vixen" (spoken by Kelly Groucutt) and "The Leaving". Doubtless KJS/ELOBF might have missed one or three more examples but, at the time of writing, "Opening" from the Balance Of Power expanded remaster in 2007 takes the biscuit at 24 seconds with "Let It Rock" from Jeff Lynne's 2012 solo effort Long Wave bringing up the rear.
Please feel free to contact ELOBF and leave a comment with any corrections &/or further suggestions!

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 24-Jan-2022 ***

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

ELO in Colour: The Jet Reissues

#1,647: A kind of confluence occurred in the Spring of 1978 as ELO's popularity outside of the United States increased dramatically following the success of their A New World Record and Out Of The Blue albums (and ensuing hit singles) alongside the commencement of their legendary spaceship tour and the transition in distribution of Jet Records from United Artists to CBS. The latter change led to a unique marketing opportunity for Don Arden's Jet Records to not only promote ELO's UK back catalogue from On The Third Day to A New World Record (note that ELO’s first two long players were released via EMI/Harvest in the UK and were therefore out of scope at that time) but also add new impetus to the sales of Out Of The Blue. One thing that Jet did well was making ELO fans aware (or reminding them) of their 1973-1976 back catalogue, namely On The Third Day, Eldorado, Face The Music (amazingly all three records never charted) and A New World Record (UK: #6) either as reissues or with selected album trax as 7" B sides or the Three Light Years (JETBX1) boxed set later that year so the reissue of the aforementioned albums in coloured vinyl (starting with OOTB in late '78 with the others following in Spring '79) was both timely and of huge interest to fans/collectors – especially a 10 year old KJS! The transition was all the more confusing with Jet/UA sleeves initially being stickered with the new Jet/CBS catalogue numbers as was the case with my (rather tatty) first copy of Out Of The Blue (JETDP400/UAR100).
On The Third Day and Eldorado had already been reissued by Jet/UA (UAG30091/UAG30092) following their original release via Warner Bros. Burbank label (K56021/K56090) with Face The Music having seen a similar reissue also via Jet/UA (UAG30034) following an initial early Jet Records outing thru' Polydor (JETLP11) hence with A New World Record (UAG30017/JETLP20) and Out Of The Blue (initially UAR100 via Jet/UA) included, the five coloured vinyl LP's offered by Jet/CBS were instantly collectable and were snapped up by eager fans. On The Third Day (JETLP202) came out in clear vinyl, Eldorado (JETLP203) was issued in yellow (some say gold) vinyl and Face The Music (JETLP201) in green vinyl. A New World Record (JETLP200) came along in red vinyl with Out Of The Blue (JETDP400) obviously in blue vinyl.
Note that other coloured vinyl 7" & 12" records issued in the UK between 1976-1979 included Livin’ Thing (Blue/UP36184) and Mr. Blue Sky (Blue/UP36342) prior to the UA/CBS switch with Wild West Hero (Yellow/SJET12109), Sweet Talkin’ Woman (Purple/SJET121/SJET12121) and Shine A Little Love (White/SJET12144) thereafter. All of these records remain highly treasured by Electric Light Orchestra fans in the UK (and beyond) and can be found regularly (noting that prices can vary from a genuine bargain to the ridiculous so make sure you shop around) on websites such as eBay and Discogs. Yours Truly KJS still looks back fondly on those record collecting days. Did you get the set?

Related KJS/ELOBF articles

~ With thanx (again) to my good friend Patrik Guttenbacher @ Face The Music Germany ~ 

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 18-Jan-2022 ***

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Spotlight: The Official ELO Fan Club

#1,646: I still remember opening up my copy of the Three Light Years (JETBX1) boxed set back in December 1978 and to find a blue/white flyer introducing The Official ELO Fan Club slipping out of the enclosed booklet. It was the first time that I'd heard of an ELO Fan Club and I recall vividly the interest it generated, backed as it was with an offer for "a very special commemorative" Three Light Years T-shirt and sweatshirt! Driven by the relatively belated success of ELO in their home country thanx to A New World Record (UAG30017) and Out Of The Blue (UAR100/JETDP400), the launch of an ELO Fan Club was not a complete surprise although a young KJS did not venture to join due to the limited funds available (my focus was on capturing The Move/Electric Light Orchestra back catalogue at the time and trying to keep up with all those singles!) to an 11 year old!

Fast forwarding to more recent days and my writings here, a KJS/ELOBF article in August 2017 entitled "Here Is The Newsletter" (click here to read) sought to clarify the number of newsletters and offers that the ELO Fan Club (or Appreciation Society as it was sometimes called) issued from Spring 1978 until its apparent dissolution in Spring 1981 on behalf of my good friend Patrik Guttenbacher at FTM Germany. Whilst the internet and social media (this writer has lost count of the number of ELO centric groups on Facebook) are the vehicles for ELO fans to express their affection for the band here in Yours Truly 2022, back then the notion of fan clubs was a little more analogue and perhaps the only way to receive news of inter-album updates, tour info, merchandise offers and the odd exclusive. You can see the plethora of ELO Fan Club output within this article (check out both montages). It’s also a little ironic that The Official ELO Fan Club hung around itself for three light years when ELO were, on a worldwide scale, at their commercial peak and challenging the likes of ABBA in popularity with their own constant stream of hit singles and albums.
As the hit singles dried up and albums sales - particularly in North America – declined in the 80’s (read the ELOBF article "Across The Border: The Demise of Jet Records"), the ELO Fan Club was no more and the only corporate or record company reach-out to fans thereafter was the gold disc competition (read the ELOBF article "We Shout Raving Notes: ELO’s Picture Disc Mystery") that came in the UK with the Secret Messages 7" picture disc (WA3720) in September 1983 before Jeff Lynne closed out Part One of the ELO story with Balance Of Power (EPC26467) in 1986.

Were you a member of The Official ELO Fan Club? If so, what are your treasured memories? Please leave a comment below or get in touch!

Friday, 7 January 2022

Singled Out: ELO's Rear Sleeve Reveal

#1,645: Looking back at the days when ELO were at their commercial peak and practically every single was destined for the UK Top 10, it was very easy for new fans to find out their discography and go back through ELO's back catalogue when it came to their previous album output. It was a little different in America as the bands albums from 1972 onwards had all charted and they had remained (mostly) with United Artists Records and their success was already established whereas in Britain, ELO had swapped labels regularly and some of their classic albums such as Eldorado hadn't even charted. Yours Truly KJS was flicking through my 7" collection this week and remembered that around the release of latter Out Of The Blue singles Wild West Hero b/w Eldorado (SJET109) and Sweet Talkin' Woman b/w Bluebird Is Dead (SJET121) following the change in distribution from UA to CBS, ELO's album history was proudly displayed on the rear picture sleeves of the aforementioned singles as well as Shine A Little Love b/w Jungle (SJET144). Over in the States, Sweet Talkin Woman b/w Fire On High (JT-XW1145) was released as the second OOTB single (just before the UA/CBS transition) and listed everything - alerting a young KJS to a differently entitled first Electric Light Orchestra long player, an alternative sleeve for ELO II and a career spanning compilation! Jet Records were really good at marketing the ELO brand at that time thanx to the success of their singles, albums and extensive tours, another example being the Three Light Years boxed set (JETBX1). Truly, those were the days when walking six miles to buy the latest ELO release (hence saving the bus fare) had to be done!

Related KJS/ELOBF articles

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 07-Jan-2022 ***

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Review: Morgan 50 (Dave Scott-Morgan)

#1,644: Most ELO fans will be familiar with the Dave Morgan (now David Scott-Morgan) and his involvement with the band for their live performances from 1981 onwards as well as his contributions in the studio on "Secret Messages" and Jeff Lynne's "Armchair Theatre". Further investigation into his long career will reveal stints with The Uglys, Balls and Magnum plus a solid songwriting acumen, examples being "Something" (flip side of legendary #1 UK single "Blackberry Way" and "This Time Tomorrow" (B side of "Curly") by The Move as well as the amazing European success of "Hiroshima" - originally recorded by Wishful Thinking circa 1971 and a Top 10 single in Germany upon its reissue in 1978 (peaking at #8 during an incredible 44 week chart run) and later a #4 hit for Sandra. These days Dave works his musical magic with Morganisation and most recently he took a step back in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his own eponymously titled debut solo LP with "Morgan 50" - a new vinyl pressing replete with an expanded CD in its original German artwork.
Dave Morgan: A hitmaker in his own right with The Move (60's), Wishful Thinking (70's) & Sandra (80's)
Originally an eleven song outing, "Morgan 50" features six bonus trax added for the accompanying CD for an album that garnered more commercial appeal on the continent than here in the UK yet retains an enthusiatic charm showcasing, as it does, the talents of Dave Scott-Morgan. Produced by Lou Reizner (who incidently also produced the 2LP original soundtrack album for 1976's "All This and World War II" which, of course, included countributions by Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood), there's a certain interchangeability here between this record and Wishful Thinking's debut long player "Hiroshima" sharing not only producers, but also labels (Ampex, Global Records) and a trio of trax including "We're Gonna Change All This", "She Belongs To The Night" and "Goodbye Lover". This is very much an enjoyable, listenable record with the influence of Bob Dylan apparent on "Hey Paul" and The Beatles on "Georgia Here I Come". "Angel" and "You'll Never Get To Heaven" (quite ironic considering Dave's Christian faith) are two other great tunes to savour as is the aforementioned anthemic, positive opener/manifesto (and lead EU/US single) "We're Gonna Change All This". There's a refreshing familiarity reflected here that's found throughout all Dave's records up to the present whether it be rhythm, blues or unabashed folk. Released when the Electric Light Orchestra were simultaneously putting their musical feelers out in 1971, it therefore comes as no surprise (having joined their ranks for a period) that both Dave and ELO are still around and making (if not re-making) remarkable music here in Yours Truly 2022. ★★★★★
"Morgan 50" by Dave Scott-Morgan is available to purchase via this link thus:


ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Morgan 50" by Dave Scott-Morgan to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of Electric Light Orchestra/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles, Bob Dylan and related artistes.

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 04-Jan-2022 ***

Friday, 31 December 2021

Yours Truly 2021: A Year In Review

#1,643: Here we are again, this time looking back on the year that was 2021, the first full year of KJS/ELOBF articles (88 in total) since 2018 and a year dominated by the lack of any real celebration of ELO's 50th anniversary by either Jeff Lynne's ELO or Sony Music's Legacy Recordings and, of course, the tragic passing of Louis Clark. It also turned out to be a year of minimal activity for Roy Wood too with his 2021 dates pushed back twelve months leaving a busy Bev Bevan to carry the torch with Quill and a renewed Stand Up & Rock! show now featuring an impressive Andy Bennett (formerly of Ocean Colour Scene) alongside lifelong pal and funnyman extraordinaire Jasper Carrott.

Goodbye My Old Friends
We also said goodbye to Don Everly and Mark Regula (Ivory Tower Project) as well as local record shop Oldies Unlimited whilst belatedly paying tribute to Carl Wayne this year with ELO engineer Dick Plant also paying tribute to the aforementioned Louis Clark. Although not mentioned in print, we were also much saddened by the passing of our good friend Terri Heritage - a familiar, friendly face at many a gig.

A Return to Gigs
September 2021 heralded a welcome return to live dates with seven shows attended and six reviewed including Quill (thrice)ELO Again and Stand Up & Rock! across the West Midlands and beyond. Joy Strachan-Brain, Bev Bevan and Quill just get better and better. Seeing and hearing "So Fine" performed live by Andy LouisThe ELO Experience was another live highlight to savour.

Interview Infusion
KJS bumped into Bev Bevan, Louis Clark Jr. and Joy Strachan-Brain in the latter half of 2021
Album of the Year
Just three albums were reviewed this year but there was no drought in quality as opposed to quantity! It was great to recommence overviewing Bubble Gum Orchestra albums again for the first time since 2018's "Zentopia" and we were blessed with two great albums in "Angel Dreams" and "4000 Miles to Eden" from BGO maestro Michael Laine Hildebrandt. Late October saw the release of the much anticipated new Quill studio album "Riding Rainbows" and it did not disappoint with a plethora of superb songs and guest musicians ensuring it being crowned as our Album of the Year 2021! Congratulations to Joy, Bev & Quill!

Not Forgetting ...
An extended series of KJS/ELOBF articles startng in March looked at Jeff Lynne's extra-ELO musical liaisons with Dave EdmundsThe Everly BrothersAgnetha FältskogHelen ReddyDuane EddyBrian WilsonMiss B HavenDel ShannonRandy Newman and Hank Marvin. We also highlighted several attractive ELO Part II CD/LP reissues by Renaissance Records US (including the debut of "Moment of Truth" on vinyl) as well as putting Jo Webb (Jeff Lynne's ELO) in the spotlight and comparing the chart performances down the years of a couple of certain 1973 Christmas classics by Wizzard and SladeA busy if not varied year indeed!

Another ELOBF Milestone!
Closer to home, ELO Beatles Forever celebrated our 12th birthday in February and received our four millionth view during September having launched the ELOBF Mailing List in June and recommenced our infamous Gig Guides (now on a monthly basis) in August.

Yours Truly KJS would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every visitor, contributor and interviewee to ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) during 2021 and to also wish you a better if not ELOtastic New Year! Looking ahead, there's much to look forward to (musically speaking) in 2022 so please consider bookmarking KJS/ELOBF and reading more new articles in the twelve months ahead!

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 31-Dec-2021 ***

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Now & Then: ELO's Christmas Chart Double Revisited

#1,642: Just over six years ago, Yours Truly KJS/ELOBF published an article (click here to read) noting the unique UK Christmas album chart double achieved by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) first in 1979 and then repeated by Jeff Lynne's ELO in 2015.

The reason for this brief article is to belatedly report that a similar feat also occurred in 2017 - allbeit within the Top 50 as opposed to the Top 30 - thanx to the success of "Wembley or Bust" and the enduring appeal of "All Over The World" equating to respective chart positions of #29 and #43 respectively during Christmas week that year. Whereas many ELO fans/followers of old will be aware that "A New World Record" and "Out Of The Blue" appeared together in the Top 100 on a few occasons and that ELO/Jeff Lynne enjoyed three albums in the UK Top 10 upon the release of "Long Wave" at #7 and "Mr. Blue Sky" at #8 (again ably supported by "All Over The World" at #10) in October 2012, this writer felt that this further seasonal ELO @ Christmas chart update was somewhat overdue ...
*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 28-Dec-2021 ***

Wednesday, 22 December 2021

Another Chart Breaks: ELO @ Christmas

#1,641: Regular visitors will doubtless be aware that the progress of Wizzard's festive classic "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" in the UK Singles Chart is monitored here every year. You might also recall that Yours Truly KJS/ELOBF also noted ELO's twin album Christmas chart successes in 1979 and 2015 some six years ago too. It therefore seemed a rather good idea to spread the net a little further and take a look at where ELO stood at Christmas down the years in both the British Single and Album Chart bearing in mind that the Top 100 was once the Top 75 and before that the Top 50. The results of our data trawl (as shown in the tabulations below) will hopefully be of interest to ELO fans.
Looking at ELO's chart presence in the singles chart at Christmas, it's interesting to note that they were in the Top 40 for five consecutive years between 1976-80 aligning perfectly with their rising popularity. "Livin' Thing" was at #6 in 1976 (having peaked at #4 the previous week) with Mike Oldfield, Queen, Abba, Showaddywaddy and Johnny Mathis ahead of them. It's also noteworthy that one year later "Turn To Stone" was still in the Top 20 (having peaked at #18 two weeks earlier). The ELO EP spent four weeks in 1978 at a respectable #34 although the "Three Light Years" boxed set (surprisingly) did not trouble the album chart until January. "Confusion"/"Last Train To London" - the fourth single taken from "Discovery" (and ELO's debut 'AA' side) - was at #15 in 1979 (having peaked at #8 in early December). Their last Christmas hit came in 1980 with "Don't Walk Away" at #23 (having peaked at #21 two weeks previously).
When it comes to the Electric Light Orchestra in the Christmas album chart down the years, there's essentially a divide between their most successful commercial period between 1976-81 and their resurgence from 2015 onwards. "A New World Record" was deservedly still in the Top 10 in 1976 and (not surprisingly) "Out Of The Blue" was found in the Top 30 in both 1977 & 1978. Two ELO LP's graced the Christmas chart in 1979 thanx to the momentum of debut #1 album "Discovery" and the timely release of "ELO's Greatest Hits" with "Time" hanging about in the lower reaches in 1981. The release of "Alone In The Universe" twinned with reignited sales for best selling compilation "All Over The World" meant another album chart double in 2015. The ensuing timely releases of "Wembley or Bust" in 2017 and "From Out of Nowhere" alongside continuing healthy sales for AOTW ensured that ELO were in the proverbial Christmas mix in 2019 too!

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 22-Dec-2021 ***

Monday, 13 December 2021

More Christmas Joy: Quill ft. Bev Bevan @ Cannock 10/12/21

Solid centre: Telephone Line
#1,640: The only difference on paper between Quill's gig at The Prince of Wales Theatre in Cannock on Friday 10th December and their recent date at the The Robin 2 was five days and about ten degrees Celcius. The set list may have been the same yet this was a completely different experience with the band and audience mutually enjoying themselves on what was a wonderful festive occasion. Quill are a close musical family and this was more than evidenced on stage as they danced, jigged and jived away to their hearts delight. Rather than repeat myself, Yours Truly KJS & ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) thought that it would be nice to publish a pictorial review/gallery of the proceedings with a selection of photos taken on the night - some by my good friend and fellow gig goer Christian Evans. Hope you enjoy the gallery!
"Wanna buy Tony Iommi's new perfume at £400 a shot?"
Riding Rainbows
Drum Dreams: Andy Edwards & Bev Bevan
Don't Bring Me Down
Encore!
KJS with Louis Clark Jr. (The Orchestra) ~ Next stop Admaston!
Go to quilluk.com to order "Riding Rainbows"view tour dates and much more!
Quill are: Joy Strachan-Brain (Lead vox) ~ Bev Bevan (Percussion/drums) ~ Kate McWilliam (Fiddle/vox) ~ Abby Brant (Keys/vox) ~ Lee T. Evans (Guitars/vox) ~ John Jowitt (Bass/vox) ~ Andy Edwards (Drums/percussion/guitar)

Check out these recent KJS/ELOBF articles:


ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommend Quill ft. Bev Bevan to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of Electric Light Orchestra/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The BeatlesBlack Sabbath and related artistes.

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

Saturday, 11 December 2021

Early ELO & Move Enterprises Ltd.

#1,639: Did you know that early ELO's stateside career on United Artists Records revealed more about their transition from The Move than in their home country on EMI's Harvest imprint? Whereas The Move (who were primarily Roy Wood, Bev Bevan & Jeff Lynne at that time - not forgetting Rick Price) were certainly more well known in the UK & Europe, the development of an Electric Light Orchestra was more of a known in the British music press than admitted on vinyl whilst across the Atlantic their first two studio albums "No Answer" (UAS-5573) and "Electric Light Orchestra II" (UA-LA040-F) as well as their first three US singles "10538 Overture" (50914), "Roll Over Beethoven" (UA-LA173-W) and "Showdown" (UA-LA337-W) all made reference to The Move on their labels.
Produced by Roy Wood for Move Enterprises (with thanx to Patrik Guttenbacher @ FTM Germany)
American fans found the credit "Move Enterprises Ltd. Presents The Services Of THE ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCH." on their first album and single but for their second studio album and next two ensuing 7" issues, the UA label cited "Produced by Jeff Lynne for Move Enterprises, Ltd." ensuring that the duality of ELO and The Move was officially enshrined in record label text some five decades ago. Roy Wood's pride and enthusiasm for his ELO brainchild is unmistakable in the press interview below.