Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Yours Truly 2014: A Year in Review

#822: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! What an astonishing year this has been with all three ELO co-founders performing live and the promise of more to come. It was the year when Jeff Lynne received due recognition from his hometown in March and revived his ELO flagship - alongside Richard Tandy - to rave reviews at Hyde Park in September, after a hiatus of 28 years, with strong hints of an album [of new material] and firm tour dates in 2015. It was the year when Roy Wood was interviewed candidly live in Lichfield by Nick Owen, repeated the success of his Christmas Show at Birmingham Symphony Hall and revealed that he too was also working on a new album for 2015 entitled "American Songbook". It was the year when Bev Bevan joined Quill permanently, went out on the road again with Jasper Carrott for their Stand Up & Rock! theatre show and took his version of The Move out on tour one last time with Trevor Burton, the highlight being their return to The Isle Of Wight Festival. It was also the year when we lost Phil Everly and Mike Burney.

2014 was immense here at ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) too with the total number of page views now exceeding 450K in a busy year that saw one article published every two days on average including several exclusives and interviews, nearly fifty recommendations and reviews and an amazing forty (40) 'Caught Live' gig reviews. Books were reviewed for the first time and ELOBF also introduced readers to the fantastic ELO themed art of Jennifer Armstrong and Ian Morgan. You also finally got to read my long researched special features on the ELO/Marc Bolan and Roy Wood/Tommy connections.

ELOBF's Record of the Year
2014 was the year that  saw Tom Petty return to form with "Hypnotic Eye" with the superb deluxe expanded edition of the Roy Orbison classic LP "Mystery Girl" also hitting the shelves. It's always difficult to pick a favourite from such a huge pool of great releases by the likes of Alex Miles, The 286Magnum and Robin George (and not a few others) but for me, the record that stood out for me this year with its ELO tinged themes, sound, artwork and sentiment has to be "Beyond Time" by Michael Laine Hildebrandt's Bubble Gum Orchestra (BGO) vehicle with that very clever homage to Jeff Lynne's ELO songbook, namely "ELO Forever", at its heart. Needless to say, it was pushed all the way by Omnivore's excellent Pugwash career biography "A Rose In A Garden Of Weeds".

ELOBF's Gig of the Year
There were many concerts in 2014 worthy of mention such as the stunning live return to the UK of The Orchestra [former members of ELO & ELO Part II] at Sheffield in February, the continuing live excellence of Quill and The ELO Experience plus, of course, those superb Roy Wood shows in November and December. We also remembered and honoured (40 years on) the memory of the 21 victims of the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974 in November at the '21 Today' memorial concert. We finally said all but goodbye to The Move (featuring Bev Bevan and Trevor Burton) in 2014 but joyfully rediscovered Sight 'n' Sound whilst laughing along with 'Stand Up & Rock!' with a rejuvenated Jasper Carrott. But without doubt, the top gig of 2014 was the performance by Jeff Lynne's ELO at Hyde Park on Sunday 14th September (sadly, I missed out going in person due to ill health issues). The sheer spectacle for those who were there (circa 50,000 people) and those of us sitting at home with the benefit of HD TV and surround sound was beyond description. Over 15,000 folks have read my review of the event for ELOBF (at the time of writing) making it a relatively easy choice for my gig of the year!

ELOBF's 2014 Gallery
It's been said that a picture can take the place of a thousand words hence the best way to properly review the year is to simply share a few pictures from my ELOBF photo album thus:

It's been a great year and 2015 looks like being busy too with (hopefully) more interviews, reviews, gigs, recommendations and (hopefully) the odd exclusive! Yours Truly KJS would like to take this opportunity to say a big "Thank You!" to you for visiting ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) during 2014 and to also wish you a Happy, Peaceful, Prosperous and ELOtastic New Year. See you on the other side!

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 31-Dec-2014

Friday, 26 December 2014

Acclaimed Roy Wood Biography now a Paperback

#821: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! I must admit that when Yours Truly KJS saw the above covers the other week whilst searching for "Something Else" over at, I thought that it was another of those many Roy Wood CD compilations. But in my ignorance, I neglected to spot that it was the recent paperback issue (on Monday 8th December) of John Van der Kiste's excellent 2012 e-book update of his "Roy Wood: The Move, Wizzard and Beyond" book, which was originally published back in 1986.

This 168 page physical edition chronicles the career of The Move, ELO and Wizzard co-founder from the very beginning with Gerry Levene & The Avengers up to his latest live exploits and it's a "must read" for his fans and all music advocates in general. You can buy Roy Wood: The Move, Wizzard and Beyond" (Paperback) by John Van der Kiste from via this link thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Roy Wood: The Move, Wizzard and Beyond" by John Van der Kiste to those enlightened folks who like ELO/Jeff Lynne, WizzardThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 26-Dec-2014

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Exclusive Video Premiere: Night In Shangri-La (BGO)

#820: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Back in September 2011, Yours Truly KJS was intrigued to hear about a mysterious 'new' ELO influenced artiste and album. With their debut album sleeve artwork lending heavily on that of "Out Of The Blue" and the ensuing promise of classic ELO themes thereafter, Michael Laine Hildebrandt and his ingeniously entitled Bubble Gum Orchestra (BGO) landed in their violin shaped spaceship and gave us a musical experience which was literally "Out Of This World". Ever since, ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) has been pleased to bring you all the BGO happenings in a span of over three years including, naturally, all four studio albums to date.
In parallel, over that same period, a talented, dedicated, Birmingham born cartoonist living in Cheshire, some 4,600 miles away from BGO's Texan HQ in Lewisville, has been patiently liaising with the BGO founder to produce a conceptual music video to accompany one of the most memorable and impressive tracks from "Out Of This World" entitled "Night In Shangri-La".
Dale Hemenway has now completed that video (see above) and KJS/ELOBF is proud to be the vehicle by which it is formally premiered worldwide as a gift to all today - Christmas Day (Ed: Subsequently remixed and Remastered in 2016). Here are the lyrics of the song for you to peruse and [hopefully] sing along to thus:

~ All music and lyrics by Michael Laine Hildebrandt ~

Don't cha know the world will be here
Even when we've gone away,
The moon looks down and laughs at us
As we stroll through his mighty gaze,
Yesterday has gone away
And tomorrow's gonna find us soon,
That's where we'll find the answers
If we just keep looking, looking through.

~ Bridge ~
Don't cha know, Don't cha know, Don't cha know,
Don't cha know, What we're gonna do,
Don't cha know, Don't cha know, Don't cha know,
Don't cha know, What we're gonna do.

~ Chorus ~
We'll spend the night in Shangri-La,
Then we'll fly to Xanadu,
Eldorado calls your me,
 Get your ticket to the moon.

The mighty waterfall came crashing down,
And through our minds of blue,
We walk above the clouds each night,
Wondering why we don't fall through,
I see your long hair flowing
As you're running down the avenue,
I guess I'll never catch you,
In this dream unless you want me to.

~ Copyright ©2011 Out Of This World Music BMI ~

As you will no doubt see, it's a video with a storyline that appeals to ELO fans, replete with references to classic ELO songs and a real tribute to the musical legacy of Jeff Lynne. When I first watched this music video, it truly moved me with its attention to detail and charm. On behalf of Michael, Dale and myself, we hope that you enjoy this most wonderful of ELOesque creations.

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Bubble Gum Orchestra to those enlightened folks who also like ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 25-Dec-2014

Monday, 22 December 2014

Caught Live (3): The Traveling Pilburys @ Quinney Hall 21/12/14

#819: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Roger 'Ollie' Spencer's annual Christmas bashes are somewhat legendary and his latest event at Quinney Hall near Sutton Coldfield last night (Sunday 21st December) was no exception as a packed house was more than entertained by the former Idle Race and Sight 'n' Sound man, ably assisted by a wonderful set of fifties and sixties classics by daughter Bonnie and a storming set by the fantastic Traveling Pilburys.
Bonnie and Ollie Spencer provided marvellous entertainment
Ollie Spencer is also a top class comedian and he proved it last night as he had the audience in permanent chuckling mode before Bonnie Spencer demonstrated her impressive vocal talents with a string of wonderful pitch perfect covers of proven songs by the likes of Erma Franklin and Doris Day as well as seasonal favourites by Shakin' Stevens (yes - you've guessed it!) and Brenda Lee.
Meeting up with a jolly Ollie Spencer and the Pilburys' Graham Savage
Lead vocalist John Kerton's former Andicaps band mate Mike Heard looked on, as did surprise guest Roy Wood, as The Traveling Pilburys delivered another electric collection of covers that included, of course, their take on The Traveling Wilburys' "Handle With Care" and "End Of The Line" as well as several Beatles' ditties and an ELO tinged "Roll Over Beethoven".

The Traveling Pilburys performed: "The Letter" ~ "Human" ~ "Roll Over Beethoven" ~ "Eight Days A Week" ~ "Stuck In The Middle With You" ~ "Wild World" ~ "Handbags & Gladrags" ~ "Handle With Care" ~ "Twist & Shout" ~ "Hippy Hippy Shake" ~ "Hold Back The Night" ~ "Mean Woman Blues" ~ "Boney Maronie" ~ Gimme Some Lovin'" ~ "I Saw Her Standing There" ~ "2468 Motorway" ~ "Rockin' All Over The World" ~ "Singing The Blues" ~ "End Of The Line"

This was an excellent, well organised event, bursting with entertainment that raised significant monies in aid of J4T21. We now look forward to seeing what Ollie has planned for Christmas next year!

The Traveling Pilburys were: John Kerton (Lead vox)Graham Savage (Bass/vox)Steph Griffin (Keyboards)Adrian Emanuel (Guitar/vox)John Wilson (Drums)

Find out what The Traveling Pilburys are up to via their excellent official website thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends The Traveling Pilburys to those enlightened folks who also like ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Idle RaceThe Move'Brum Beat'The Traveling WilburysThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 22-Dec-2014