Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Yours Truly 2019: A Year In Review

#1,510: Besides being the year in which elobeatlesforever (elobf) ended up taking a six (6) month sabbatical, 2019 was still a year of many happenings in the elobf universe with the Japanese BSCD2 issue of "Secret Messages" (albeit minus "Beatles Forever"), the chart topping new studio album "From Out Of Nowhere" and extensive US tour by Jeff Lynne's ELO, the release of an expanded "Mustard" set by Roy Wood, the live orchestration of "Earthrise" by Morganisation and a certain 10th birthday celebration in May being major highlights.

We may not have been present at some gigs this year and indeed may have taken our "Time" in returning with new writings but this writer feels that the best way to commemorate a dramatic if not somewhat abridged year for elobf would be best summarised via the above montage and this selection of twenty (20) articles published in early and late 2019 covering a wide range of subject matter thus ... 

Yours Truly KJS would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every visitor and contributor to elobeatlesforever (elobf) during 2019 and to also wish you a Happy, Peaceful, Prosperous if not ELOtastic New Year! Looking ahead, there's much to look forward to, musically speaking, in 2020 so please consider bookmarking elobf and reading more new articles in this new decade!

*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 31-Dec-2019 ***

Saturday, 28 December 2019

ChartWatch: Top 10 Return for Roy Wood & Wizzard

#1,509: As we approach the end of a decade in which elobeatlesforever (elobf) has seen healthy growth from modest beginnings, it seems apt and right to acknowledge another significant milestone for The Move, ELO and Wizzard co-founder Roy Wood.

In the week that saw Jeff Lynne's ELO and "From Out Of Nowhere" remain in the Official Top 30 Album Chart in slipping from #26 to #28 (after 8 weeks), astute fans of Roy Wood will be delighted to see Wizzard rise an amazing nineteen places #10 in the Official Singles Chart with their seasonal classic "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" giving Woody his first UK Top 10 single when "Are You Ready To Rock?" peaked at #8 in January 1975.
The continued resurgence of IWICBCE is, of course, a result of the inclusion of download and streaming sales by the Official UK Charts Company since 2007 and, looking at the above elobf table, you can see a steady increase in the peak chart position over the last decade of what many folks still consider to be the ultimate Christmas song since it originally reached #4 in December 1973.

Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) would like to congratulate both Roy and Wizzard for attaining their first Top 10 single in almost 45 years and hope that we will soon see some long awaited new material, even an album, in the approaching decade.

Related KJS/ELOBF articles

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 28-Dec-2019 ***

Thursday, 19 December 2019

ELO: Eight Injection Moulded Singles

#1,508: Injection moulded singles started appearing on record shelves circa 1971 predominantly by two of the major labels at that time in Philips and Polydor. They were developed primarily as a way of reducing the cost in manufacturing the 7" format with their painted labels deemed somewhat cheaper than the printed paper labels that preceded them for decades.

Whereas elobeatlesforever (elobf) has focused on the rarer UK issued ELO solid centre singles "Showdown" (HAR5077), "Turn To Stone" (UP36313), "Mr. Blue Sky" (UP36342) and "Telephone Line" (UP36254) in recent years, Yours Truly KJS thought it was high time that elobf took a look at the injection moulded singles featuring ELO released in the UK.

Firstly, released in support of "Face The Music" (JETLP11) during their tenure on Jet/Polydor, the three FTM singles "Evil Woman" (JET764), "Nightrider" (JET769) and "Strange Magic" (JET779) were all injection moulded in dark blue and are easy to find. Bev Bevan's solo single "Let There Be Drums" (JET777) and four Roy Wood/Wizzard releases are other examples.

Next, with ELO at their commercial peak in 1979 and their "Discovery" album (JETLX500) still riding high in the UK album chart, some green coloured injection moulded copies of the third single "Don't Bring Me Down" (JET153) were imported from France to help Jet/CBS meet the demand turned out to be ELO's highest placed UK single at #3 in their own right.

Another four years or so would elapse before ELO fans and collectors would come across more of the same in 1983 probably due more to ongoing financial difficulties at Jet rather than actual record sales when both "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" (A3500) and "Secret Messages" (A3720) appeared with a silver injection moulded label in addition to initial copies sporting the familiar yellow Jet paper label. A blue coloured injection moulded variant of "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" was also issued and continues to be a rarity to this day. For the record, "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" peaked at #13 and "Secret Messages" stalled outside the Top 40 at #48.

Another ELO injection moulded UK single appeared in May 1984 as part of the Harvest/EMI Golden 45's series when "10538 Overture" backed by "Roll Over Beethoven" (G45 22) saw reissue as a silver injection moulded item as well as editions in alternate black and mauve paper labels. This is perhaps the rarest of the eight featured records in this article to locate. ELO (and related artist) vinyl continues to offer up the odd surprise for the avid and/or casual fan and collector! Here's hoping that you've enjoyed reading this article!

Related KJS/ELOBF articles
HAR5077: Solid Centre Showdown
UP36264: Telephone Line Twist
Turn To Stone: Solid Centre Success!
UP36313: Turn To Stone Twist
ELO: The Jet/Polydor Years
Jet Records Discography
Mr. Blue Sky: ELO's Signature Song

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 19-Dec-2019 ***

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Career Crossroads: Roy Wood & Jeff Lynne

#1,507: Perhaps the most fascinating period in the careers of Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne is the five year period between 1971-76 in which The Move morphed into the Electric Light Orchestra and Roy Wood excelled both with Wizzard and as a solo artist.

Yours Truly KJS has compiled the above matrix of 21 charting UK singles to highlight the amazing success that Roy Wood enjoyed during a time when Jeff Lynne had his first UK hit UK yet was very much in the shadow (commercially speaking) of his former band mate until the meteoric rise of ELO in their home country started in 1976. We can draw some interesting facts and conclusions from the aforementioned graphic produced for elobeatlesforever (elobf) thus:

Related KJS/ELOBF articles
ELO: The Burbank Years
ELO: The Jet/Polydor Years
An Appreciation of Roy Wood
Jet Records Discography
Chart Tragedy: ELO's UK Album Chart Famine
Another Chart Breaks: Early ELO in the UK & US
Caught Live: Nick Owen in Conversation with Roy Wood

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 12-Dec-2019 ***

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Reasons to Release: Beatles Forever

#1,506: Much has been said down the years, not least by this writer, regarding "Beatles Forever", the one and only remaining (officially) unreleased track from "Secret Messages", ELO's originally intended 1983 double album (JETDP402) which was sadly culled "for commercial reasons" to the 1LP issue (JETLX527) that we all knew and loved until the 35th anniversary 2LP was released last year (albeit without its proverbial crown jewel) not forgetting the recent Japanese Blu-spec CD2 issue, also without "Beatles Forever".
Whilst we have been told that the track is an embarrassment to Jeff Lynne these days on account of his later work with George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, we know that "Beatles Forever" was indeed deemed good enough to be revealed to the masses if the 2LP had been released back in 1983, even though elements of it appeared in 1984's "Video!" as part of the "Electric Dreams" OST. It's also fairly certain that it would have been part of a "Secret Messages" 30th anniversary edition in 2013 that was in the works before the ELO maestro signed up with Frontiers Records. Hence, leaving out "Beatles Forever" from "Secret Messages" (both in 2018 and 2019) still seems bizarre especially when it was labelled as "The Legendary Double Album As Conceived By Jeff Lynne - Recorded in 1983" and quoted in the brief sleeve notes as having "escaped intact".
The funny thing is that Jeff Lynne does not need be concerned with the title "Beatles Forever", it is not unique being a phraseology used in Beatles magazines, fanzines, books, tapes and even a German EP (see the above header montage) across six decades. His song would merely join a long line of tributes and accolades afforded to his Beatles heroes.

Yours Truly KJS began elobeatlesforever (elobf) in February 2009 to promote the official release of "Beatles Forever". If there were no appetite for another "Secret Messages" album set, a limited edition single would do! We continue with those hopes.

Friday, 6 December 2019

ChartWatch: From Out Of Nowhere Rebounds + Wizzard Return

 #1,505: Perhaps due to the recent BBC4 re-transmission of their November BBC Radio 2 In Concert show and the "Wembley Or Bust" film last weekend as well as the release of the "From Out Of Nowhere" picture disc (read more here), Jeff Lynne's ELO have returned to the Official Albums Chart Top 100 this week, jumping from #22 up to #18 after five weeks on the chart. "All Over The World" has also chalked up its 201st week in the Top 100 by sneaking in at #99.

Meanwhile, over in the Official Singles Chart Top 100, Roy Wood and Wizzard have re-entered at #44 with "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday". Having peaked at #12 last year, Woody stands a good chance gatecrashing the Top 20 again in 2019!

Related KJS/ELOBF articles

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 06-Dec-2019 ***

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Time for More ELO Picture Discs?

#1,504: The arrival of the exclusive amazon Black Friday picture disc edition of the new Jeff Lynne's ELO album "From Out Of Nowhere" begs an interesting question for ELO (and related artistes) fans, followers and collectors: With all those iconic album sleeves, why have only "Out Of The Blue" and "From Out Of Nowhere" been issued as picture disc albums to date?

Looking at the above elobeatlesforever (elobf) montage of sixteen ELO album covers (which is by no means exhaustive), you can see how agreeable they would be as picture discs. Prime examples (in the considered opinion of Yours Truly KJS) would be "Eldorado", "A New World Record", "Discovery" and "Time". Dare I suggest that a "Secret Messages" 2LP picture disc set including "Beatles Forever" would also tick many boxes? Which ELO albums would you like to see issued as limited edition picture discs?
Related KJS/ELOBF articles
Vinyl Story: The ELO Picture Discs
Picture This: The Jet Picture Discs
Out Of The Blue: 40th Anniversary 2LP Picture Disc
Rare Xanadu 10" Picture Disc Tops Record Collector Guide
Traveling Wilburys: Picture Disc Debut for Volume 1
We Shout Raving Notes: ELO's Picture Disc Mystery
Black Friday Bulletin: Jeff Lynne's ELO, Cheap Trick & Roy Wood

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 05-Dec-2019 ***

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Review: Secret Messages (ELO)(Japan Blu-spec CD2)

#1,503: The 35th Anniversary Blu-spec CD2 limited edition release of ELO's sublime 1983 "Secret Messages" album duly arrived at elobf HQ earlier today from Japan following its release last week and you can imagine that Yours Truly KJS was keen to have a listen or three!

You cannot but admire the way that these Japanese issues are presented with the disc in their own sleeve alongside a replica inner sleeve from the original LP emerging out of one side and the the CD booklet from the other in a neat downsized version of last years 2LP edition. The sound is obviously cleaner than previous CD issues thanx to the inherent phase transition mastering giving the seventeen trax comprising "Secret Messages" (Epic Records #SICP-31313) verve, clarity and a renewed freshness. "Hello My Old Friend", "Bluebird", "Stranger" and "Buildings Have Eyes" sound especially gorgeous in the opinion of this writer.
It should therefore come as no surprise for me to say that this is as good as "Secret Messages" by Electric Light Orchestra is going to get until "Beatles Forever", the final piece of the jigsaw, is added to complete what is still an album that some ELO fans still fail to grasp. You'd expect me to say that and I'll continue to do so! Expect the absence of "Beatles Forever" to be addressed again in a near future elobf article. In the meantime, you can still order this amazing Blu-spec CD2 package from CD Japan by clicking on this link. ★★★★

Related KJS/ELOBF articles

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Secret Messages" by Electric Light Orchestra 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 ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 03-Dec-2019 ***

Monday, 2 December 2019

Mr. Blue Sky: ELO's Signature Song

#1,502: If you were to ask the casual music follower and avid ELO fans what, in their opinion, is THE definitive ELO song, many would answer "Mr. Blue Sky" immediately. Taken from the finale of "Concerto For A Rainy Day" on side three of their much loved double album "Out Of The Blue", MBS peaked at #6 in the Official UK Singles Chart at the end of February 1978 and a more modest #35 in the United States Billboard 100. But the story, surprisingly, doesn't end there.

Casual fans are probably aware that ELO's UK chart performance waned as the eighties progressed from the high of "Xanadu" (JET185) reaching #1 in 1980 to the tragedy of "Getting To The Point" (A7317) attaining #97 in 1986. But what this writer didn't realise, thanx to my browsing through the Official Chart Archive, was that "Mr. Blue Sky" has breached the Official UK Singles Chart during the download era on five occasions hitting (for one week) #99 in June 2011, #94 in August 2011, #88 in August 2012 (perhaps due to it featuring in the London Olympics closing ceremony), #97 in October 2012 and #88 again in May 2017.

Undoubtedly, "Mr. Blue Sky" (originally UP36342/SJET104) remains the ultimate iconic, feel good song that simply never loses its appeal across all generations and is always guaranteed to get audiences up on their feet at every ELO themed gig!

Related KJS/ELOBF articles
Mr. Blue Sky: All Over The World
Mr. Blue Sky: Jeff Lynne Endorses Cancer Charity Single
Mr. Blue Sky Tops Music Charity Feel Good Top 10
B-Side Brum: Mr. Blue Sky

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 02-Dec-2019 ***

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Review: From Out Of Nowhere (Jeff Lynne's ELO)

#1,501: Having decided to recommence writing new elobeatlesforever (elobf) articles after a seven month hiatus, Yours Truly KJS feels quite strange to be putting together this review regarding "From Out Of Nowhere" (RCA/Big Trilby Records), the latest studio album from Jeff Lynne's ELO, a whole calendar month after its release back on Friday 1st November (which just happens to have been my 52nd birthday) in the wake of its impressive recent chart topping exploits, especially now that the rather nice amazon Black Friday exclusive edition picture disc has enjoined the earlier black, blue and gold vinyl releases and FOON has slipped out of the UK Top 20 after four weeks.

Having reacquainted myself with 2015's "Alone In The Universe" in advance of the release of FOON, my first impression of the 10 new trax on offer was that "From Out Of Nowhere" was an improvement, a more cohesive and consistent recording than AITU. Whereas retrospectively the former now feels like it was hastily assembled, the latter is a much more polished affair, a little like ELO albums of old. From the familiar tones of the opening title track (thanx to extensive BBC Radio 2 airplay) through to classy closer "Songbird", this writer senses a return to the songwriting form of the ELO maestro harking back to the good 'ol days. ELO fans, new and old, will love the changes in tempo afforded throughout what is a relatively short outing (32:42) with the pensive "All My Love" and "Losing You" balanced (with power) by "Down Came The Rain" (a familiar theme)"One More Time" (isn't it great to see Richard Tandy credited on an ELO LP again?) and "Time Of Our Life", a thoughtful inclusion to thank the 60,000+ fans who attended the 2017 "Wembley Or Bust" show. On a personal note, my twin faves at the time of writing continue to be "Down Came The Rain" and "Sci-Fi Woman" - formerly "WiFi Woman".
"From Out Of Nowhere" is a record that deserved to hit the heights of #1 in a challenging modern music market. We now look forward to some extensive 2020 dates and, hopefully, more fabtastic memories. ★★★★★

  Trax: "From Out Of Nowhere" ~ "Help Yourself" ~ "All My Love" ~ "Down Came The Rain" ~ "Losing You" ~ "One More Time" ~ "Sci-Fi Woman" ~ "Goin' Out On Me" ~ "Time Of Our Life" ~ "Songbird"

Related elobf articles
Hints of New Jeff Lynne's ELO Album Emerge
ChartWatch: From Out Of Nowhere Exits Top 10
ChartWatch: Jeff Lynne's ELO Slipping Away from Top 10
Black Friday Bulletin: Jeff Lynne's ELO, Cheap Trick & Roy Wood

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "From Out Of Nowhere" by Jeff Lynne's ELO to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneThe Traveling WilburysRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 01-Dec-2019 ***