Friday, 31 January 2020

TA7090: A Matter of Alternative Lyrics

#1,517: In covering the withdrawal of "Manhattan Rumble (49th Street Massacre)" as the 'B' side of Electric Light Orchestra's "Roll Over Beethoven" (Harvest HAR5063) single, our previous elobeatlesforever (elobf) article (click here to read) reminded Yours Truly KJS of a couple of other oddities when it comes to ELO flip sides.

The first was the use of the instrumental "Drum Dreams" twice as a 'B' side for two singles culled from the "Xanadu" soundtrack in "I'm Alive" (UK/US) and "All Over The World" (US) as featured in this 2015 elobf article.

The second was to be found on the reverse side of ELO's 1986 UK 12" single for "So Serious" (Epic TA7090). Whereas "Endless Lies" was selected to back "So Serious" (CBS Associated ZS4 05892) in the States, a previously unreleased track: "Matter Of Fact" was chosen for the UK issue. Sounding not unlike "Sooner Or Later" (the 'B' side of Jeff Lynne's 1984 solo single "Video!"), fans and collectors were surprised to find two versions of the same song when listening to the 12" single with two different sets of lyrics on offer, a first for ELO in terms of official releases at that time - not forgetting a certain pselling mitsake.

Hence, as a "Matter Of Fact", whether they're withdrawn, doubled up, contain alternative lyrics, are previously unreleased or are legacy album trax, ELO's numerous 'B' sides are often just as interesting as those more illustrious, well known ELO 'A' side hit headliners ...

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 31-Jan-2020 ***

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

HAR5063: The Massacre of Manhattan Rumble

#1,516: Back in 2017, Yours Truly KJS wrote a trio of elobeatlesforever (elobf) articles covering some aspects of the early career of the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) on EMI's Harvest label between 1971-73, specifically their three charting singles amongst which was a 7" vinyl rarity created by the abrupt withdrawal of ELO's second UK single "Roll Over Beethoven" (HAR5063).

Initial copies of the Chuck Berry penned "Roll Over Beethoven" single included the Jeff Lynne penned "Manhattan Rumble (49th Massacre)" taken, of course, from their self-titled first album (famously entitled "No Answer" in the US due an erroneous secretarial note) as the flip side before it was quickly replaced by "Queen Of The Hours" (also a Lynne composition). As a result, most copies of "Roll Over Beethoven" found today in personal collections (or for sale) of a single which peaked at #6 in the Official UK Singles Chart during February 1973 therefore sport the later 'B' side with a small number of the original a little harder to find.
Whilst there are a few changes in the text between the two versions including a change in publishing rights, the most obvious difference is that whereas "Manhattan Rumble" cites "Produced by Roy Wood & Jeff Lynne" beneath the artist name, "Queen Of The Hours" merely states "Vocals by Jeff Lynne" so that there is no credit for Roy Wood. Whether or not this was for contractual (or other) reasons, it does say a lot about the shift in leadership of the band at that time. So there you have it: the 'B' side that wasn't and the creation of an early ELO rarity!

Friday, 24 January 2020

Jeff Lynne's ELO: Autumn 2020 Tour Dates Confirmed + Tickets (Postponed)

#1,515: Regular visitors to elobf @ Twitter will know that we have been expecting an official confirmation of a Jeff Lynne's ELO tour in support of their recent UK #1 album "From Out Of Nowhere" this month hence it was no surprise that an Autumn 2020 tour of Europe, UK and Ireland was announced today with tickets going on sale to the general public from 9AM on Friday 31st January following the usual pre-sale promotions via the likes of Ticketmaster, Live Nation and a certain mailing list. Yours Truly KJS and elobf recommend that you check (as applicable) with O2, Barclaycard and HSBC regarding their priority ticket schemes and bookmark these links thus:

The ELO maestro and Musical Director Mike Stevens will be taking the Jeff Lynne's ELO spaceship on initial fourteen date tour of duty through Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, the UK and Ireland including what appears to be a conservative UK leg of just six gigs (one in Glasgow, two in Birmingham, one in Manchester, one in Belfast and two in London). It's unfortunate that Welsh fans will again miss out on seeing Jeff call in at their capital too during this somewhat abridged tour. Expect more dates to be added thanx to brisk advance ticket sales.

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 24-Jan-2020 ***

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

About Time: ELO's Inner Sleeve Munich Mystery

#1,514: When ELO released their second concept album "Time" (Jet/CBS JETLP236/FZ37371) in  early July 1981, eager fans including Yours Truly KJS broke the cellophane wrapping to get at the new Electric Light Orchestra offering to be presented with an inner sleeve that included the album lyrics above a photograph of ELO's four core members Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy and Kelly Groucutt standing in front of and looking up at a futuristic building in support of the theme of what was to be their second UK #1 album.

Some of us wondered where that photo was taken and if you didn't already know, the intent of this elobf article is simply to inform you that the aforementioned building is the 27 floor HVB Tower (formerly known as the Hypo-Haus) in Arabella Park, Munich, Germany just across the road from Musicland Studios, where not only "Time" was recorded but also "Face The Music", "A New World Record", "Out Of The Blue", "Discovery" and "Xanadu" with the help of legendary sound engineer Mack (a.k.a. Reinhold Mack).

Construction began in 1974 (ironically the year that ELO's first concept album "Eldorado" was released) and was completed seven years later with its inauguration in November 1981 meaning that ELO's lyric liner photo was taken just before building work was finished. The HVB Tower remains an administrative building of the HypoVereinsbank to this day. So now you know!

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 21-Jan-2020 ***

Saturday, 18 January 2020

ELO: Translucent Light Orchestra

#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 KJS/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 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 KJS/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 ***