Saturday, 18 January 2020

ELO: A Translucent Light Orchestra Tale

#1,513: One of the facets of being an avid Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and related artistes record (vinyl) collector is that you can come across and learn something about the actual manufacturing of the records that we all know and love if not some of the variations in those processes. Indeed, in this recent elobf article, we highlighted eight UK issued injection moulded ELO singles and briefly covered their origin in the early seventies origin and cost reducing purpose.

Which brings Yours Truly KJS to the subject of this article! Did you know that some ELO records pressed in the Republic of Ireland and the States although supposedly black and opaque are actually translucent? The definition of the word translucent is a substance allowing light to pass through but not defined shapes; semi-transparent. And that is the case with three records that grace my personal record collection.

It's been a few decades since I discovered that if I held up my US import copy of ELO's 1979 hit single "Don't Bring Me Down" b/w "Dreaming Of 4000" (Jet/CBS ZS9 5060) up to a decent wattage light bulb, it was actually possible to see through it in a dark brown haze. The reason for this is that it was actually made from styrene (a la polystyrene), essentially cheaper recycled plastic possibly due to the oil crisis back in the day. Note also that some top quality audiophile records pressed in what was termed 'super vinyl' also had the same feature.

Fast forward seven years to 1986 and across the North Atlantic to Eire and if you were lucky enough to buy a copy of ELO's LP "Balance Of Power" (Epic EPC26467) or lead single "Calling America" b/w "Caught In A Trap" (Epic A6844), you would've also found out that both also had a brownish transparency when held up to a light. Check out the above elobeatlesforever (elobf) photo montage! You can see that it's much easier to see the translucency in those two Epic releases.

Whereas it is easy and cheap to obtain a styrene copy of "Don't Bring Me Down" via eBay or Discogs, finding translucent copies of "Balance Of Power" and "Calling America" is likely more difficult making them desirable to collectors and quite valuable.

Related elobf articles
ELO: Eight Injection Moulded Singles
UP36264: Telephone Line Twist
Recommended: Telephone Line [Aslan]

*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 18-Jan-2020 ***

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Another Chart Breaks: From Out Of Nowhere

#1,512: After dropping a whopping 70 places to #98 last week, Jeff Lynne's ELO former #1 album "From Out Of Nowhere" duly exited the UK Official Albums Chart Top 100 today following a modest nine (9) week chart run. The charts these days are somewhat different to their 20th century predecessors owing to the inclusion of digital downloads and streaming data as well as there being whole new generation or two of music buying general public so how do we gauge the performance of FOON?

Yours Truly KJS thought that it would be therefore interesting to look at how new Jeff Lynne/ELO releases (excluding compilations) have done in the 21st century relative to each other. Looking at the table below as compiled by elobf, the least successful release in terms of peak position was "Zoom"  and, obviously, "From Out Of Nowhere" was best placed. It's also noteworthy that "Alone In The Universe" stayed in the chart practically twice as long as the chart topping FOON and is likely the most commercially successful. The resurgence in the popularity of Jeff Lynne and the music of the Electric Light Orchestra is underlined by the fact that five of the six albums in question including "Long Wave", "Mr. Blue Sky" and "Wembley Or Bust" all made the UK Top 10.

So how did "From Out Of Nowhere" do? In the opinion of this writer, it was a return to form, a hit but not a bestseller.
*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 11-Jan-2020 ***

Saturday, 4 January 2020

34 Play: Electric Light Orchestra Part Two & Zoom

#1,511: When Jeff Lynne retired ELO in the wake of "Balance Of Power", their sixth consecutive Top 10 UK studio album in March 1986, little did fans and followers think that it would be another 26 years before they would see the ELO maestro trouble the upper echelons of the UK charts again with new twin albums "Long Wave" and "Mr. Blue Sky" in October 2012.

In the ensuing decade, Jeff Lynne would go on to co-write with and produce the likes of George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Paul McCartney as well as being a key member of ultimate supergroup The Traveling Wilburys and also the man pulling the strings behind two hit singles with the remaining three Beatles as part of their Anthology project. Chart success did not elude them or by extension Jeff during that time even though his debut solo album "Armchair Theatre" enjoyed modest success (peaking at #24) on home territory.

It was during this period that Bev Bevan formed ELO Part II and despite signing with the somewhat unfashionable Telstar label, their eponymous debut album still managed a respectable #34 (note that ELO's first two studio albums managed #32 and #35 respectively). Several compilations were issued with heavy TV advertising campaign elevating Dino's Very Best Of ELO set to #4 in July 1994 whilst Bev and ELO Part II toured extensively from Europe to the Americas to Australia.
The ELO fan base was (and still is) split to an extent when it comes to the existence and legitimacy of ELO Part II but such was the relative disinterest of the general public in and the poor promotion of ELO at the turn of the century that even a newly rebooted Electric Light Orchestra with Jeff Lynne at the helm could only hit #34 in 2001 with "Zoom". It would be another decade before the hit albums returned and a resurgent ELO were adopted as a national treasure yet many fans would do well to remember that in the hinterland between 1986 and 2012, both ELO and ELO Part II attained #34 in the UK album chart with new records, ten years apart.

Related elobf articles
Jeff Lynne: ELO in the 21st Century
Chart Tragedy: What Went Wrong with Zoom?
ELOwnership: What's In A Name?
Chart Chat: Rolling Over Without Beethoven
ELO: The Telstar Years
Compilation Corner: The Very Best of ELO (Dino)

*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 04-Jan-2020 ***

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

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 ... 01-Jan-2020 ***