#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 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 286, Magnum 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]. 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 in 2015!
Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 31-Dec-2014