Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Secret Messages: More Successful Than You Think

#1,238: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO's 1983 LP "Secret Messages" (JETLX527/JETDP402) and the unreleased track "Beatles Forever" remain both the starting inspiration for and a major component of elobeatlesforever (elobf) here in Yours Truly 2017.

 Yet some ELO fans see "Secret Messages" as a poor relation when compared to its more illustrious and commercially successful predecessors. Excluding the boxed set "Three Light Years" (JETBX1), ELO album releases in the UK from 1976 to 1981 peaked at #6 ("A New World Record"), #4 ("Out Of The Blue"), #1 ("Discovery"), #7 ("ELO's Greatest Hits"), #2 ("Xanadu") and #1 ("Time") respectively whereas as "Secret Messages" attained what is often seen as a disappointing #4.
Regular visitors to elobf will know from not a few previous articles that "Secret Messages" actually performed rather better during its fifteen week chart run between 26th June and 8th October 1983 than is commonly accepted. The reason for that conclusion is that if you look at the Official Album Chart for the week following the release of  "Secret Messages", you will see that ahead of Electric Light Orchestra were three classic albums in "Synchronicity" (The Police), "Thriller" (Michael Jackson) and "Let's Dance" (David Bowie) - the 11th, 1st and 4th best selling albums of 1983.

Whereas we will never know how the originally intended "Secret Messages" double album would have fared, the familiar 1LP format will always be one of my fave ELO albums. Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) will continue to campaign for the full release of "Secret Messages" in its full 2LP, 18 track glory, including (of course) "Beatles Forever" ...

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 15-Feb-2017


  1. Just look at the top 3 Secret Messages definitely wasn`t a failure.

  2. One of my favourite albums

  3. I think it(Secret Messages) had more polish to it than previous albums. While it doesn't make my top 3 it definitely makes my top 5. Great songs with an intended roundness in sound that Jeff probably couldn't do with songs that he had to write with orchestral arrangements always looming in the background of his mind. This seemed to free Jeff to explore for and find other sounds and techniques that came off beautifully throughout the album. My least favorite song on the album is probably the biggest hitter "Rock N Roll is King. It's not that it isn't an okay song, it just doesn't seem to fit the album (kinda like Hold On Tight seemed to be an outlier on Time). Letter from Spain, The Stranger, Take Me On and On, and Train of Gold are particularly fantastic takes on Jeff's introspective and artistic writing. (Clay Adkins, 40+ years of ELO and Jeff Lynne fandom)

  4. The new rereleased SM is fantastic and if this was originally released would have been a monster, Record company stuffed up big time.