Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Chart Chat: Rolling Over Without Beethoven

#363: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It's "Time" to ask that question again: Are ELO & Jeff Lynne mutually exclusive in commercial and charting terms? Can either be successful in terms of record sales without the other? The reason I ask this is because it is very interesting when you consider that:
  • Jeff Lynne's first solo outing "Armchair Theatre" peaked at #24 in the UK during 1990 with a 4 week chart run
  • ELO Part II's eponymous album "Electric Light Orchestra Part Two" peaked at #34 in the UK in 1991 with a 4 week chart run
  • ELO's "Zoom" also stalled at #34 in the UK album chart during 2001 with a 3 week chart run
  • Regina Spektor's "Far" [part produced by Jeff] attained #30 in the UK album chart during 2009 with a 5 week chart run
  • Joe Walsh's "Analog Man" [co-produced by Jeff] has managed #53 in the UK album chart in 2012 after a 2 week chart run
Looking at the above chart data, it's interesting that that neither the Electric Light Orchestra 'brand' without Jeff Lynne or Jeff Lynne without ELO have had anything more than moderate direct or indirect [album] chart success. If we set aside Jeff's posthumous work with George Harrison and his astounding success with The Beatles ["Free As A Bird" & "Real Love"] in 1996 as well as the bestselling Traveling Wilburys Rhino reissue [UK: #1] - even with all the good, positive press about the Regina Spektor ["Far"] and Joe Walsh ["Analog Man"] albums as well as what appears to be the full backing of the ELO fan community - the UK album chart Top 20 has not been breached by any Jeff Lynne solo or part Jeff produced material save for the many [and relatively successful] ELO compilations and the expanded "Out Of The Blue" remaster [UK: #18] in the last two decades or so. This is an observation and not a criticism.

Again, one has to wonder where a second Jeff Lynne truly solo album would chart. And where would an ELO album with the involvement of at least a few more of the classic ELO line-up in Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy, Mik Kaminski [but sadly not Kelly Groucutt] chart too? Perhaps a little better. For that reason could it be that trademark ELO/Jeff Lynne without each other are rather like [in charting terms] "Rolling over without Beethoven" yet never quite "Getting To The Point"? Yours Truly KJS truly hopes that this is proven wrong ...

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 26-June-2012


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  2. it is a different world from the 70's and 80's. Jeff & ELO is not what is played to the younger demographics. My Father loves his Sinatra, always will. Our demo will always love Jeff Lynne. And the kids will have their own hero. "Every generation throws a hero up the pop charts" - Boy in the Bubble -Paul Simon