Sunday, 29 October 2017

ELO: The Eagle Years

#1,334: If ever there were a label that has sought to keep generating interest in the music of classic and modern ELO - particularly when Jeff Lynne had parked up the ELO spaceship both before and after the release of "Zoom" in 2001 - then it has to be Eagle Rock Entertainment with a flurry of notable CD releases in the late nineties and some essential DVD and Blu-ray issues since.

Whereas it could be said that it was naive to lift the soundtrack from ELO's famed 1978 Wembley show straight onto CD, their quintet of releases during 1998-1999 remain much sought after items with prices for the now ultra-rare "The BBC Sessions" and "Live At BBC Sessions" occasionally going for significant amounts on a certain online auction site. Their "Friends And Relatives" 2CD compilation contained many tracks previously not found in digital form and fills many a gap in the record collection of Yours Truly KJS even now.  Note also that "Live At Winterland '76" was still being licensed from their somewhat controversial former manager Don Arden at this point, as was "Live At Wembley '78".

The advent of the aforementioned "Zoom" and the subsequent relaunches of ELO thereafter saw the remastering and repackaging of the entire ELO back catalogue after Jeff Lynne assumed full control of the ELO brand in 1999, with Eagle Rock switching their attention to the visual aspect of ELO material. Their "Out Of The Blue" Wembley show was paired with the promotional film for "Discovery" by Eagle Vision on DVD at first with the same concert later put out in 2006 with improved DTS, Dolby 5.1 and PCM stereo as well as a nice reproduction of the original 1978 world tour programme. Four years later, Eagle Vision squeezed footage from Brunel University (1973), Rockpalast (1974) and "Fusion" (1976) into the impressive "Live: The Early Years".
Not listed: "Out Of The Blue Tour: Live At Wembley" and "Discovery" were also released in VHS format
The Wembley charity concert finally made its debut on Blu-ray (together with most of "Live: The Early Years" as a bonus) in 2015 hitting #1 in the Official Music Video Chart before Eagle Vision caught up with Jeff Lynne's ELO, releasing the "Live In Hyde Park" spectacular (with "Mr. Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne & ELO" as a not-to-be-missed bonus) before going on to top said chart (again) for six weeks whilst staying therein for 15 months. Eagle Rock Entertainment have played a significant part in keeping the interest in ELO going for fans and the general public alike over the last two decades and, as far as elobeatlesforever (elobf) is concerned, they should be congratulated for doing so.

Note that the forthcoming "Wembley Or Bust" album will include video footage of Jeff Lynne's ELO gig in June as part of the deluxe package as opposed to a separate DVD/Blu-Ray release.

A request therefore is presented to Eagle Vision by this writer: Please can you consider putting out that iconic Electric Light Orchestra Part Two concert with The Moscow Symphony Orchestra at Birmingham NEC in May 1991 (Telstar TVE1037) on DVD and/or Blu-Ray?

Related KJS/ELOBF articles

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 29-Oct-2017

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Petty Thinking: Wilburys Mourn TP + Learning To Fly

#1,333: Almost a month has elapsed since the tragic passing of Tom Petty on Monday 2nd October and still it is difficult to get my head around it. Indeed, Yours Truly KJS picked up a pristine vinyl copy of fellow Wilburys brother Roy Orbison's fab 1989 gatefolded LP "Mystery Girl" last weekend. And there, of course, on side one was the name of Tom Petty alongside Jeff Lynne and Roy as co-writer of "You Got It" and "California Blue". Wherever I go, I just can't escape TP.

The news that Bob Dylan paid tribute to Tom in performing "Learning To Fly" with his band as an encore on Saturday 21st October in Denver, Colorado was also of note. Both happenings had me looking back to the beginning of the month to read again the words of Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne as they paid tribute to and remembered Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. thus:

"It's shocking, crushing news. I thought the world of Tom. He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I'll never forget him." (Bob Dylan)

"Tom Petty was the coolest guy I ever knew." (Jeff Lynne)

Perhaps the most unwanted and the saddest of my thoughts at this time is that we now only have two Wilburys with us. I'm so glad I got to see Tom (for the first time) in July, Jeff in June and Bob (also for the first time) in May of this year. I have early New Year resolutions to not take for granted Messrs. Dylan and Lynne and to be truly thankful for the amazing legacies of Roy, George, Tom and The Traveling Wilburys. We were blessed to have them, see them and hear them.

Remembering Tom Petty

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 26-Oct-2017

Sunday, 22 October 2017

ELO: The Jet/Polydor Years

#1,332: Jet Records were launched by Don Arden in October 1974 with the Lynsey De Paul single "No Honestly" (amusingly given the catalogue number JET747) breaching the UK Top 10. Initially distributed by Polydor with a brief stint by Island Records during which Roy Wood enjoyed his final Top 20 non-Christmas themed hit "Oh What A Shame" (JET754), Jet Records went onto to become the flagship label for ELO right up until 1983. Formed after the limited success of ELO and Wizzard on the Warner Bros. Burbank label, the majority of the Jet single releases during this period were of injection moulded manufacture (typical of Polydor at the time) of a deep blue label colour.
Interestingly, Jet released eight singles and three albums featuring a combination of ELO, Roy Wood, Roy Wood's Wizzard and Bev Bevan during this period before Jet switched to United Artists Records in Summer 1976. Yet chart success was again hard to achieve for ELO in the UK. Despite "Evil Woman" (JET764) peaking at #10 in late January 1976, only "Strange Magic" (JET779) also charted (reaching #38 in July of that year) with "Nightrider" (JET769) and - quite amazingly - their acclaimed album "Face The Music" (JETLP11) failing to chart at all.

Even more disappointing was the fact that none of the Jet/Polydor single releases by Roy Wood, Roy Wood's Wizzard and Bev Bevan troubled the UK charts either. Even "Mustard" (JETLP12) drew a blank. This was, of course, in complete contrast to the rising profile of the Electric Light Orchestra in the United States and was likely the reason that the compilation "Ole ELO" (JETLP19) was withdrawn in the UK. Perhaps the difference in the fortunes of ELO on either side of the Atlantic could be explained by the fact that they changed labels three times in the UK for their first five studio albums when in the US they remained with United Artists Records.
Of special interest to Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) is the fact that "Heavy Head" (the 'B' side of the "Let There Be Drums" single) cited shared songwriting credits for Bev Bevan, Kelly Groucutt and Richard Tandy alongside Jeff Lynne for the first and only time on the Jet label (see above). Note also that that the transition from Jet/Polydor to Jet/UA was highlighted by the quoting of JET786 and JETLP20 in brackets when "Livin' Thing" (UP36184) and "A New World Record" (UAG30017) were released, following on from the final Jet/Polydor catalogue numbers JET785 and JETLP19 respectively (also shown above).

Undoubtedly, the creation of Jet Records provided the platform for the later successes of Jeff Lynne and ELO whilst it marked a lack of promotion, focus and support for Roy Wood. ELO returned to the UK Top 10 singles chart during these days but there was little else commercially to shout about. Another change in marketing and manufacturing partners ensued, this time with United Artists Records (more on that subject in a forthcoming elobf article) and the rest, they say, is history.

See also: ELO: The Burbank Years

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 22-Oct-2017

Friday, 20 October 2017

Recommended: Roy Orbison In Dreams: The Hologram UK Tour

#1,331: Timed perfectly to compliment the much anticipated forthcoming new orchestrated Roy Orbison album "A Love So Beautiful: Roy Orbison with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra" (released in the UK on Friday 3rd November), tickets go on sale next week for "Roy Orbison In Dreams: The Hologram UK Tour" which will see a holographic Roy performing his biggest hits across the UK next April at ten venues backed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Fans and followers of The Big O are promised a "transformative live entertainment concert experience".

This is most definitely a "must see" for Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf)! Pre-sale tickets will be available here on Wednesday 25th October. Tickets go on general sale from 9AM on Friday 27th October via these links thus:

Recommended: A Love So Beautiful (Roy Orbison with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)
November Release Rush for ELO & Roy Orbison

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "A Love So Beautiful" by Roy Orbison with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and "Roy Orbison In Dreams: The Hologram UK Tour" to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff Lynne, The Traveling Wilburys, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes. See you there?

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 20-Oct-2017

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Turn To Stone Tease: Jeff Lynne's ELO Unveil Wembley Video

#1,330: Perhaps it shouldn't have come as a surprise to elobeatlesforever (elobf) that Jeff Lynne's ELO chose to release footage of "Turn To Stone"  - taken from the forthcoming album/film "Wembley or Bust" - yesterday (Monday 16th October) via ELOVEVO and The Independent following on from the audio only video and download track made available on Thursday 5th October. But it sure was a poignant choice to this writer.

The reason for the above statement is that "Turn To Stone" has very much a part of my fabric since the age of 10 when Yours Truly KJS bought my first record, "Turn To Stone" b/w "Mister Kingdom" (Jet/UA UP36313) in November 1977. "Turn To Stone" was also the first ELO song that I saw performed live when I saw ELO Part II with The Moscow Symphony Orchestra at Birmingham's NEC in late May 1991. Looking at the new video only whets the appetite for a release that will serve not only as a fantastic souvenir of a great night but also as an excellent introduction to the ELO universe for those folks who are not yet acquainted with all things Jeff Lynne. How apt that this song still grabs my attention after all these years ...

"Wembley or Bust" by Jeff Lynne's ELO is released on Friday 17th November.

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Wembley or Bust" by Jeff Lynne's ELO to those enlightened folks who love ELO/Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, 'Brum Beat', The Idle Race, The Traveling Wilburys, The Move, The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 17-Oct-2017

Monday, 16 October 2017

Another Art Breaks: From Secret Messages to Long Wave

#1,329: From "Time" to "Time", the album artwork of ELO and Jeff Lynne has been derived from existing canvasses. This is especially the case betwixt two sleeves for two albums released almost three decades apart.

Back in 1983, ELO fans were treated to the visual montage adorning the tragically reduced 1LP issue of "Secret Messages" with the then four acknowledged members of ELO (Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy and Kelly Groucutt) peeking out of two terraced windows at a scene including an angel, a stags head and classical art figures with cooling towers providing the backdrop. A little later we discovered that the album cover for "Secret Messages" - designed by David Costa - was based upon a piece of art entitled "The Future's A Bit Fishy, We've Got A Hand In It" (see above). Based on a street scene in Rochdale (Spring Mill Walk/Royal Street), you can see the differences between the former and the latter - including the addition of an upstairs window (see below for more info on that), a streaking meteor and much, much more!

The original untinted photograph is found in the book "How Things Are" by Hag (K. Ostra Productions ISBN 0955311802) which can be purchased via this link:
Window Dressing: Time tour promo photo provided the Secret Messages quartet (Courtesy: Patrik Guttenbacher)
Fast forward 29 years and the release of Jeff Lynne's "Long Wave". An album of fifties and sixties standards lovingly recreated by the ELO maestro. For this record, a more subtle embellishment was in order. Based on an original 1951 photograph provided by acclaimed Birmingham author and historian Alton Douglas of The Steam Clock pub on the corner of Sherborne Street and Morville Street in Ladywood (see above), the image of Jeff Lynne (and guitar) emerging from a doorway was the only obvious difference aside from the shortening of a lamp post in the foreground to make room for the album title and, of course, the words JEFF LYNNE!

My thanx to Alton Douglas and Brewin Books Ltd. for their permission to use the aforementioned photograph in this article as found in the book "Birmingham: Back To The Fifties" (ISBN 1858582344) which can be purchased via this link thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "How Things Are" by Hag and "Birmingham: Back To The Fifties" by Alton Douglas to those enlightened folks who appreciate ELO/Jeff LynneRoy Wood'Brum Beat'The Idle RaceThe MoveThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 16-Oct-2017

Friday, 13 October 2017

Recommended: A Better Me & 2018 Tour (Gary Barlow)

#1,328: Gary Barlow - the man partially responsible for the glorious return of Jeff Lynne's ELO both on record and on stage - announced yesterday details of an intimate 2018 tour of the UK and Ireland. The Take That founder and lead songwriter will start with dates in Edinburgh on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th April and finish with (at the time of writing) a relatively local date in Delamere Forest, Cheshire on Saturday 9th June. Yours Truly KJS would love to see a date in the West Midlands, perhaps at Cannock Chase being as forests are on the menu!
Take That and Jeff Lynne's ELO Musical Director Mike Stevens has confirmed via Twitter that he will at least take part in the tour for the Isle of Man dates in late May so there is a strong possibility that Gary will be backed by the the TT/ELO touring band raising hope that ELO fans might also see some Jeff Lynne's ELO concerts too in 2018 ... hopefully with Richard Tandy back on board.

 Folks who pre-order Gary's forthcoming autobiography "A Better Me" by close of play on Sunday 15th October via will be aeligible to access priority ticket sales on Wednesday 18th October from 10AM. Tickets will go on general sale on Friday 20th October from 10AM. "A Better Me: The Official Autobiography" by Gary Barlow will be published by Blink (ISBN 978-1911600978) in Hardcover/Kindle editions on Thursday 18th October. Find out more via these links thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "A Better Me: The Official Autobiography" by Gary Barlow to those enlightened folks who love ELO/Jeff LynneRoy Wood'Brum Beat'The Idle RaceThe MoveThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 13-Oct-2017

Monday, 9 October 2017

November Release Rush for ELO & Roy Orbison

#1,327: Within my previous elobeatlesforever (elobf) article, Yours Truly KJS noted that as the new Jeff Lynne's ELO album "Wembley Or Bust" is to be released on Friday 17th November, it will likely precede the delayed release of the "Out Of The Blue" 2LP picture disc set on Friday 24th November by a week. Considering that the new Roy Orbison album "A Love So Beautiful" (with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) is also due out on Friday 3rd November, one realizes that November 2017 is going to be happily expensive for fans of ELO/Jeff LynneThe Traveling Wilburys and Roy Orbison. You can find out more about the above trio of new November releases (and place pre-orders) via these elobf links thus:

Friday, 6 October 2017

Recommended: Wembley Or Bust (Jeff Lynne's ELO)

#1,326: As hinted at recently by elobeatlesforever (elobf), fans and collectors of all things Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) are to be treated to the audio visual release of the spectacular that was the Jeff Lynne's ELO date at Wembley back on Saturday 24th June. Entitled "Wembley Or Bust", the album is due for release via Big Trilby Records/Sony Music in digital, 2CD and 3LP boxed set formats on Friday 17th November with pre-orders now being taken via the official Jeff Lynne's ELO shop,,, iTunes and other reputable vendors.

"Wembley Or Bust" comprises 23 tracks for the standard digital, 2CD and 3LP issues. The Deluxe Edition also includes a film of the critically acclaimed concert directed by Paul Dugdale in either DVD or Blu-ray format. "Turn To Stone (Live at Wembley Stadium)" is now available to buy as a download or listen to via ELOVEVO as is a short trailer (see both below) to whet your appetite in advance of the full release.

Trax: "Standin' In The Rain" ~ "Evil Woman" ~ "All Over The World" ~ "Showdown" ~ "Livin' Thing" ~ "Do Ya" ~ "When I Was A Boy" ~ "Handle With Care" ~ "Last Train To London" ~ "Xanadu" ~ "Rockaria!" ~ "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" ~ "10538 Overture" ~ "Prologue/Twilight" ~ "Ma Ma Ma Belle" ~ "Shine A Little Love" ~ "Wild West Hero" ~ "Sweet Talkin' Woman" ~ "Telephone Line" ~ "Turn To Stone" ~ "Don't Bring Me Down" ~ "Mr. Blue Sky" ~ "Roll Over Beethoven" ~ "Wembley Or Bust" (film)
This is, to say the least, an expansive release timed perfectly for Christmas and ironically a week in an advance of the delayed "Out Of The Blue" 2LP picture disc set on Friday 24th November. Whilst many fans will be counting down the days to both releases, Yours Truly KJS will be looking forward to a new 3LP boxed set that will follow in the footsteps of "Three Light Years" (1978), "Four Light Years" (1980) and "Afterglow" (1990). "Wembley Or Bust" - so named to avoid any "Confusion" with ELO's iconic 1978 concert - will be the third official ELO live album alongside "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)" (1974/1985) and "Live" (2003). It will also be interesting to see how the album performs in the Official UK Album Chart after the Top 5 placing of "Alone In The Universe" in late 2015.
"Wembley Or Bust" by Jeff Lynne's ELO can be pre-ordered via these links thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Wembley Or Bust" by Jeff Lynne's ELO to those enlightened folks who love ELO/Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, 'Brum Beat', The Idle Race, The Traveling Wilburys, The Move, The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 06-Oct-2017

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Remembering Tom Petty

#1,325: The news that Tom Petty passed away yesterday (Monday 2nd October) at the age of just 66 years came as a shock to many, not least this writer. Doubtless many will write moving and lengthy tributes to their musical hero - and rightly so. Yours Truly KJS discovered the man affectionately called TP by his many fans and followers relatively late when "Don't Come Around Here No More" from the excellent "Southern Accents" album joined my record collection in 1985.

Yet within six years, Tom had collaborated with ELO maestro Jeff Lynne on no less than four albums (whether it be with The Heartbreakers or solo) including the acclaimed "Full Moon Fever" (1989) and "Into The Great Wide Open" (1991) as well as both Traveling Wilburys volumes (under the pseudonyms of Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. and Muddy Wilbury) with "Highway Companion" (2006) following thereafter.
Whether it be classics such as "American Girl", "Refugee", "I Won't Back Down", "Free Fallin'" and "Learning To Fly" or his acclaimed work with Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Bob Dylan or those legendary gigs with The Heartbreakers, the rebirth of Mudcrutch, or the triumphant return of "Hypnotic Eye", the loss of TP is deeply felt.

On a personal level, I am all the more grateful that I was a face in the crowd at Hyde Park, London back in July to witness a supercharged performance by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (thanx to my good friend Paul Scott). 2017 was the year that elobeatlesforever (elobf) got to witness three Wilburys in person hence it is all the more difficult to absorb this news.

Caught Live: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers @ Hyde Park 09/07/17
Review: 2 (Mudcrutch)   Review: Hypnotic Eye (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers)
Truly, our heroes are leaving us. We should treasure them and support them to the utmost.

Rest In Peace Tom Petty. May you learn to fly.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 03-Oct-2017

Monday, 2 October 2017

Remembering Flowers In The Rain (The Move)

#1,324: STOP PRESS: BBC Midlands Today presenter Nick Owen will be looking at the story behind The Move's iconic hit "Flowers In The Rain" tonight (Monday 2nd October) on BBC One (West/East Midlands) at 7:30PM with Roy WoodBev Bevan and Trevor Burton telling the story of the song that launched Radio 1 but earned no riches for the legendary Brummie band in "Inside Out: Remembering Flowers In The Rain". The programme description reads:

"Fifty years ago Birmingham band The Move earned a place in pop history when their song Flowers In The Rain was the first to be played at the launch of Radio 1. But the band never made a penny from the track after an extraordinary intervention by the Prime Minister of the day."

Folks outside of the West Midlands can watch the programme on Sky Channel #959. "Inside Out: Remembering Flowers In The Rain" will be available to view on BBC iPlayer immediately after the broadcast via this link thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Inside Out: Remembering Flowers In The Rain" to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 02-Oct-2017