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 ***


  1. happy new year Keith! i believe that ELO part 2 AND The Orchestra played a huge part in keeping ELO music alive and well ..... BIG THANKSto them ...... shame they werent recognised in the charts , but they were truly amazing live :)

  2. I think one of the best concerts I ever went to was the NEC in Birmingham ELO Part 2 with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra!

  3. Honest Men is honestly a very very good song.