Saturday, 14 December 2013

Gallery: Secret Messages 2LP Acetates

#631: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Regular visitors to ELO Beatles Forever will know that my original goal was to campaign for the release of the original double album, the full 18 track version of ELO's seminal 1983 album "Secret Messages"ELOBF has indeed expanded in scope over the years but still retains the core goal of seeing and hearing "Secret Messages" (1LP: JETLX527 or 2LP: JETDP402in all its unedited glory complete (of course) with "Beatles Forever".
Yours Truly KJS was recently contacted by Peter Miles (a real ELO super-collector if there ever was one!) initially about the recently featured ultra-rare "Turn To Stone" acetate and re-issue and then regarding those very "Secret Messages" acetates. I'm very thankful to Peter for very kindly forwarding the photographs from the original 2005 eBay listing (the item was sold for about £4,000 at the time) to me and you can see them here thus:
Disc 1/Side 1 (11/03/83)
(1) "Secret Messages" (2) "Loser Gone Wild " (3) "Bluebird" (4) "Take Me On"
Disc 1/Side 2 (11/03/83)
(1) "Stranger" (2) "No Way Out" (3) "Beatles Forever" (4) "Letter From Spain" (5) "Danger Ahead"
Disc 2/Side 3 (04/03/13)
(1) "Train Of Gold" (2) "Danger Ahead" (3) "Endless Lies" (4) "Hello My Old Friend"
Disc 2/Side 4 (04/03/13)
(1) "Four Little Diamonds" (2) "Buildings Have Eyes" (3) "Time After Time" (4) "After All" (5) "Rock 'n' Roll Is King"
It really is thrilling to catch a glimpse of the pressing process for the original "Secret Messages" 2LP format. And note that the running order of the second acetate disc is significantly different than that previously thought with a second version/mix of "Danger Ahead" replacing "Mandalay" in this instance.

FYI: An acetate is an aluminium disc coated with a fine film layer of nitro-cellulose lacquer. It is cut in advance of a master disc (which is used to mass produce vinyl records) primarily for preview by producers, engineers, artistes and DJ's or to check the quality of the tape to disc transfer. They are sparse because they are often destroyed whether an album is released or canned.

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) continues to campaign that Legacy Recordings and Jeff Lynne will consider the full re-release of the original double album, eighteen (18) track edition of "Secret Messages" and - by extension - the elusive "Beatles Forever".

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 14-Dec-2013


  1. Great update…I never knew the song order before! C'mon Mr. Lynne, it's "TIME" to release this masterpiece to your fans!!!!

  2. Hi, Keith:

    IMHO the reason why the song "Danger Ahead" is repeated is not because several versions were made (but I believe that possibly there could be variations in the interludes), but because this pair of acetate discs don´t match between them, the dates of the records are different, and there must be ANOTHER "un-matched" pair of acetates (both with the song "Mandalay" repeated, and without the song "Danger Ahead") the first one with 3-4-83 date and the second one with 3-11-83 date...

    I think the final price of the auction could be much higher if the pair of discs belonged to the same set.

    You can have no doubt in the future (we hope soon) your 2-LP edition dream will come true. It´s only a question of time and money.


  3. I'd been hoping to see these pictures again, so thanks for sharing them!

    If my understanding is correct, the first two sides are from Jeff's final approved sequencing of Secret Messages in its original double album configuration.

    Although the last disc is labelled as containing sides three and four, these tracks were clearly mastered a few days before - my guess is that these are the alternate versions described by Rob Caiger, meaning that the actual second disc is still out there somewhere...

    Now, if the rumours of two "unmatched" sets existing are true, that means a very lucky person may still have an acetate including the short mix of After All, which segued into Hello My Old Friend, complete with its full ending as opposed to the Afterglow mix with this section cruelly faded out.

    I've read in the past from a reliable source that session engineer Bill Bottrell has a safety cassette of the full album, and I'm willing to bet Jeff Lynne has a copy in his possession. Whether the official ELO archive is home to the digital masters, analogue backups or even just the other acetates, we know Sony had access to the single album in some form in 2000 for the reissue, plus a handful of outtakes such as the 1983 mix for Endless Lies.

    Obviously, my dream is that the proposed 2CD Legacy Deluxe Edition still happens, even though Secret Messages quietly reached its 30th anniversary last year without any kind of celebration. Ideally, we'd need at least three CDs to store both the single and double tracklistings, not to mention various documented single or alternative mixes of album tracks along with even highlights from The Garden Rehearsals.

    Who knows what else Jeff has locked away? All three different versions of Beatles Forever, the recordings made at Jeff's house (which, according to Richard Tandy, may include an early take of Hello My Old Friend) and the original Wisseloord demos later completed by Jeff for the Flashback collection in 2000 would all be great to hear, too. Are you listening, Sony?