Saturday, 26 January 2019

Singled Out: Xanadu

#1,481: Nestled nicely between the Electric Light Orchestra's chart topping albums "Discovery" (1979) and "Time" (1981) is their five song contribution to "Xanadu" OST in 1980. It's an album that some ELO fans shudder at and others embrace as much as their other studio efforts. Whilst the film has taken on a cult following in latter years and "Xanadu" has been successful adapted to the stage on Broadway and elsewhere, the songs written by Jeff Lynne (all ELO trax) and John Farrar (all Olivia Newton-John trax) for the movie have been far more enduring.

"Xanadu" peaked at #2 (UK) and #4 (US) in August 1980 and amazingly provided no less than six Top 40 UK singles including, of course, a #1 for ELO/ONJ as well as three hit records for ELO in their own right: "I'm Alive" (#20), "All Over The World" (#11) and "Don't Walk Away" (#21) plus two for Olivia Newton-John: "Magic" (#32) and "Suddenly" (#15). "Magic" also topped the chart in the States. It's noteworthy that "The Fall" was the only ELO track not to be released as a single! The irony for both avid and casual fans alike is that recent Jeff Lynne's ELO crowd favourite "All Over The World" is indeed a "Xanadu" track and the ELO maestro includes two songs from JETLX526 in his set lists not forgetting that it is also the name of a certain #1 greatest hits compilation with over one million sales since 2005!
As far as Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) are concerned, "Xanadu" counts as a bona fide ELO album on account of its content, initial success and continuing appeal. It is therefore surprising if not a little disappointing that the "Xanadu" OST has not been given the same expanded treatment as other ELO albums. There is certainly enough material out there to append to the original tracks.
"Drum Dreams" (the flip side to "I'm Alive" and "All Over The World in the US) comes to mind as does the extended "Xanadu Overture" as featured in the finale as well as the rather wonderful lengthened synth intro to "I'm Alive" accompanying the arrival of the muses in the opening sequences of the film. Add to that ONJ's "Fool Country" and an expanded, remastered "Xanadu" reissue is not so difficult to imagine which would doubtless will appeal to both ELO and Olivia Newton-John fans! The only issue might be sorting out the publishing rights between Jet (Sony) and MCA (Universal). An outing in 180g vinyl would also be nice. Music On Vinyl take note!

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Recommended: King's Heath Walk of Fame Beatles Fest

#1,480: It's always a pleasure to oblige when my good friends Bob Prew and Ken Whittaker over at King's Heath Walk of Fame contact Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) to highlight their now annual Beatles All You Need Is Love Fest which is being held this year on Sunday 10th February, especially remembering that Beatles legend John Lennon once stated that ELO were the "son of (The) Beatles". It was the ultimate of compliments and another huge nod to the influence of The Fab Four on Birmingham's finest whose hometown hosted The Beatles' when they played their maiden live performance on Friday 15th February 1963 - the first of three appearances at King's Heath Ritz Ballroom in the very home of 'Brum Beat'.

The Beatles All You Need Is Love Session is up first featuring an eclectic array of musicians and runs from 3PM until 6PM at Fletcher's Bar, York Road, King's Heath. Tickets are priced at £4 each (*plus booking fee) and can be purchased in person from Kitchen Garden Cafe and/or wegottickets with tickets on the door priced at £5 each (if available). Acclaimed Beatles tribute Made In Liverpool will then strike up the band from 7PM onwards down the road at the Hare & Hounds. Tickets are priced at £12 each (*plus booking fee) and can be purchased in advance via Skiddle or on the door (if available).

For further information, you can email and/or contact Bob on (0121) 689 2360 and/or Ken on (0121) 443 5237 and/or visit these sites thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends King's Heath Walk Of Fame to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 23-Jan-2019

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Magic: The Other Xanadu Picture Disc

JETP196: "Magic"
#1,479: Regular visitors to elobeatlesforever (elobf) over the last decade will (hopefully) recall that the withdrawn US promo 10" picture disc of ELO/Olivia Newton-John's 1980 hit "Xanadu" (MC10384) has been featured by elobf on a number of occasions due to its rarity and value, having been sold on eBay at least five times for the best part of $10,000 and it being ranked by Record Collector Magazine as their #1 scarcest, rarest and most valuable picture disc back in April 2015.

Yours Truly KJS is also a record collector as well as being an avid ELO (and related artistes) fan so when I came across another "Xanadu" related picture disc taken from the ONJ side of the "Xanadu" original soundtrack album (JETLX526), I took the plunge and bought it. "Magic" b/w "Whenever You're Away From Me" (JETP196) by Olivia Newton-John peaked at #32 in the UK Official Singles Chart more or less at the same time that ELO's "All Over The World" (JET195) was just falling short of the Top Ten at #11 during August 1980.
The ultra-rare "Xanadu" 10" US promo picture disc
It's a nice item with both sides of the disc sporting a rather glamorous image of ONJ but it does beg one question. If the story is true that the reason that the aforementioned "Xanadu" picture disc was pulled (with just a handful of copies escaping the cull) because Olivia was unhappy with the image on it, then should one presume that she was consulted over &/or happy with those used for the "Magic" picture disc? I guess we'll never know but it's still an interesting line of thought for both ELO and Olivia Newton-John admirers.

Here are some related KJS/ELOBF articles that you may find worth a peruse or three:

Xanadu: Fifth Promo Picture Disc Relisted on eBay (2016)
Fourth Rare Xanadu 10" Picture Disc Surfaces on eBay (2015)
Rare Xanadu 10" Picture Disc Tops Record Collector Guide (2015)
Third Rare Xanadu 10" Picture Disc Surfaces on eBay (2014)
Second Rare Xanadu 10" Picture Disc Surfaces on eBay (2013)
Rare Xanadu 10" Picture Disc Surfaces on eBay (2012)

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 20-Jan-2019

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Album of the Year 2018: Lucky Day (David Myhr)

#1,478: If you missed the elobeatlesforever (elobf) review of 2018, you will have missed the news that David Myhr's highly rated second solo album "Lucky Day" was chosen as the elobf Album of the Year. So without further ado, you can buy said CD and/or read my May 2018 album review and/or check out the aforementioned Album of the Year announcement via these links thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Lucky Day" by David Myhr to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 10-Jan-2019