Sunday, 29 March 2020

First Live: The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)

#1,531: It was quite a surprise to Yours Truly KJS when, following years of ELO releases on Jet Records, that "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)" (EPC32700) appeared on record shop shelves not only on the Epic label but also with new album artwork in November 1985. This writer was 18 years old and I remember buying the cassette at the time. It took another seven years to acquire a pristine vinyl copy of the album, thanx to my good friend Christian Evans, some persuasion and a copy of "Afterglow".

As an avid collector, I was aware of the original 1974 German, Dutch and South African gatefold LP release of "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)" (Warner Bros. Burbank WB56058) as a copy often turned up in local second hand record shops, usually with a relatively hefty price tag and not in particularly good condition. Sandwiched between the studio albums "On The Third Day" (K56021) and "Eldorado" (K56090), "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)" was a poor recording based on a rough mix of the concert held on the night of Sunday 12th May 1974 yet it provided an edited cover of ELO's iconic Beatles cover "Day Tripper" b/w "Daybreaker" (WB16456) as a single in Germany and Holland which remains a rather rare collectible for completists to this day.
The '85 Epic release was far better to the original '74 Warner Bros. issue owing to the fact that it was pressed using another superior recording of the gig found in the archives. The change in album art was also dramatic with the garish 1950's B movie parody slogan replaced by a sleeve sporting the familiar ELO logo atop an imagined LA highway sign replete with palm tree and traffic light. With the hiatus between "Secret Messages" in June 1983 and "Balance Of Power" in March 1986 nearing its end, the repackaging and reissuing of "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)" - ELO's first official live album - was indeed timely.
It would be a further thirteen years before a remastered "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)" (Epic 4911032) finally arrived on CD in 1998 with the accompanying booklet based on the 1985 sleeve with the original 1974 album art also faithfully reproduced within.

More live albums followed in 1998 with "Live At Winterland '76" (EAMCD038) and "Live At Wembley '78" (EAMCD039) via Eagle Records before the release of "Live" (2013) and "Wembley Or Bust" (2017). In terms of live output, we should also consider ELO Part II's "Performing ELO's Greatest Hits Live" (1992) and "One Night - Live In Australia" (1996) in the list too.

The story of Electric Light Orchestra's first live album "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)" is long and unique but wouldn't it interesting to find more songs on those archived tapes and, if so, enough material to warrant an expanded release?

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*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 29-March-2020 ***

Monday, 23 March 2020

Flashback: Whatever Happened to Clair de Lune?

#1,530: When it comes to the musical output of Jeff Lynne and Electric Light Orchestra, perhaps one of the more recent mysteries for fans and followers of the ELO maestro is the non-appearance of his interpretation of Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune" not only in the film itself but also in the original soundtrack album for the motion picture "American Hustle" back in 2013.

"Clair de Lune" - originally the third movement of Debussy's "Suite bergamasque", an instrumental piano composition based on a 1869 Paul Verlaine poem - was cited for possible inclusion in "American Hustle" by several sources at the time including the now retired Official Jeff Lynne Facebook page. Although never leaked or sampled (as far as this writer is aware), it is believed to be a guitar based version with Jeff's familiar sound and production characteristics.

The "American Hustle" OST did include a new Jeff Lynne penned instrumental "Stream Of Stars" as well as his solo version of "10538 Overture" and "Long Black Road" (first found on the Japanese edition of "Zoom" in 2001). Yours Truly KJS believes that when it came to song selections for the film, Soundtrack Executive Producer David O. Russell chose "Stream Of Stars" over "Clair de Lune" as a third instrumental track alongside Danny Elfman's "Irving Montage" and Duke Ellington's "Jeep's Blues".

Maybe Jeff's take on "Clair de Lune" will turn up on a bonus album track or a future rarities release or even an expanded "American Hustle" OST release. Or perhaps it will remain another one of those enigmatic unreleased tracks - not unlike "Beatles Forever" ...

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*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 23-March-2020 ***

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Time for a 40th Anniversary Expanded Xanadu?

#1,529: Many fans will be aware that ELO's studio albums between 1971 and 1986 have all been reissued, remastered and/or expanded to the max save for their five song contribution to the "Xanadu" original soundtrack album (UK: #JETLX526; US: MCA-6100), alongside a quintet of Olivia Newton-John songs, which peaked at #2 in the Official UK Album Chart back in August 1980. Now that the 40th anniversary of "Xanadu" is fast approaching, this writer is of the opinion that an expanded CD (and vinyl) edition is long overdue bearing in mind that the original gatefold LP produced an impressive six Top 40 hits in the UK alone including, of course, a certain #1 single ...
Aside from the familiar ten songs spread over its ELO and ONJ sides, there are a number of other trax that could be included in an expanded "Xanadu" including "Drum Dreams" ('B' side to "I'm Alive"; #JET179), "Fool Country" ('B' side to "Xanadu"; #JET185), "You Made Me Love You" ('B' side to "Suddenly; #JET7002) and the enigmatic "Xanadu Overture" (sometimes referred to as "Xanadu Reprise") as heard in the film finale. You could even add Jeff Lynne's re-recorded version for "Flashback" in 2000 for good measure meaning that up to fifteen trax could be squeezed onto an updated release thus ...

[1] "I'm Alive" (ELO) ~ [2] "The Fall" (ELO) ~ [3] "Don't Walk Away" (ELO) ~ [4] "All Over The World" (ELO) ~ [5] "Xanadu" (ELO/ONJ) ~ [6] "Magic" (ONJ) ~ [7] "Suddenly" (ONJ/Harry Webb) ~ [8] "Dancin'" (ONJ/The Tubes) ~ [9] "Suspended In Time" (ONJ) ~ [10] "Whenever You're Away From Me" (ONJ/Gene Kelly) ~ [11] "Drum Dreams" (ELO) ~ [12] "Fool Country" (ONJ) ~ [13] "You Made Me Love You" (ONJ) ~ [14] "Xanadu Overture"/"Xanadu Reprise" (ELO) ~ [15] "Xanadu" (2000 version)
Undoubtedly, it would be interesting to gauge whether there is enough interest in both the Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra fan bases for Universal and/or Sony to put together an attractive commercial package, the only potential obstacle being that the OST was originally a joint Jet/MCA release in the UK/Europe but MCA elsewhere. Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) would like to know if you would welcome an expanded, remastered "Xanadu" release. Thoughts?

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*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 19-March-2020 ***

Sunday, 15 March 2020

First Day of September Release for Wembley Or Bust Budget Hardback

#1,528: Fans and followers of Jeff Lynne and Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) who were unable to afford the Deluxe or Collectors edition of the Jeff Lynne's ELO book "Wembley Or Bust" (Genesis Publications ISBN 978-1905662524) back in 2018 will be pleased to hear that a more affordable 212 page hardcover edition (ISBN 978-1905662647) is set to be published later this year on Tuesday 1st September.

Pre-orders for the new budget edition of "Wembley Or Bust" by Jeff Lynne's ELO can presently be placed with amazon.co.uk (currently priced at £35) and amazon.com (currently priced at $45) via these links thus:

www.amazon.co.uk/Wembley-Bust-Jeff-Lynne/dp/1905662645
www.amazon.com/Wembley-Bust-Jeff-Lynne/dp/1905662645
elo beatles forever (elobf) recommends "Wembley Or Bust" by Jeff Lynne's ELO 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 ... 15-March-2020 ***

Friday, 13 March 2020

Remembering Beryl Sinclair: My Mother, Music & Me

#1,527: These words are difficult to write. My mom Beryl Sinclair passed away last weekend hence the pause in new elobf articles. Whilst others have quite rightly posted their photos and memories via social media and expressed their grief in their own way, Yours Truly KJS wanted to pause for thought and remember her influence on me, specifically how I developed such a love for music in general and later, of course, the music of all things Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) et al.

The truth is that even before I bought my first record "Turn To Stone" in November 1977 at the age of ten, my mother had inadvertently seeded me with an ELOve! I recall vividly that she used to do the weekly shop in Wolverhampton town centre and occasionally brought home pristine copies of "Hot Hits" or "Top Of The Pops" from Woolworths. The amazing thing is that I used to play them on the family record player (and later my own modified Dansette). I still fondly remember taking a particular liking to a version of "10538 Overture" on the "Hot Hits XIII" (#MFP50041) album and later "Evil Woman" on the "Top Of The Pops 50th Special Edition" (#SHM935) LP. So perhaps it was not a surprise that I would eventually latch onto a lifelong love of ELO and be writing these words.

Later, I would go on to buy "A New World Record" (#UAG30017) from her catalogue for 18p a week (over 20 weeks) before my mum bought me "Three Light Years" (#JETBX1) and "ELO's Greatest Hits" (#JETLX525) as Christmas presents in 1978 and 1979 respectively. All of which I still treasure as you can see in the above photo montage.

Grief is hard to express in mere words. My mother was a beautiful, kind, generous and loving lady. She was and is an integral part of my life: past, present and yet future. You would not be reading these words but for her, hence this tribute.

In memory of Beryl Lilian Sinclair
Tuesday 6th July 1937 ~ Sunday 8th March 2020

*** Keith James Sinclair ... 13-March-2020 ***

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Olé ELO: The Withdrawal of JETLP19

#1,526: In terms of UK releases, besides the aborted second ELO EP and the "Turn To Stone" reissue mystery, the other rarity that eludes many collectors of Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and related vinyl is the release of their 1976 "Olé ELO" compilation via Jet/Polydor (#JETLP19) in their home country. Having peaked at a very respectable #32 in the US Billboard 200, this was the first commercially successful ELO greatest hits collection yet it was hastily withdrawn in the UK almost as soon as it had finished being pressed with only a few copies escaping intact. For many years this writer thought it was down to the original Jet/UA release (#UA-LA630-G) having rear album sleeve notes specifically aimed at US audiences catching up with a band with spectacular live shows and a growing list of hit singles but to understand what happened we need to not only look at the early days of Jet Records but also across the Channel to Europe. The fact that "Olé ELO" did see release at the time on the continent in Germany on the famed red Polydor label (#2310 475) and was later reissued in Holland via Jet/CBS (#JETLP903) inevitably leads us to the conclusion that its effective non-release in the UK was down to circumstances closer to home.

Jet Records (the subject of a forthcoming elobf career overview) made their debut in October 1974 with the release of "No Honestly" (#JET747), a #7 hit for Lynsey de Paul. Their marketing and distribution was carried out by Polydor (and briefly Island Records - including Roy Wood's hit single "Oh What A Shame" #JET754; #13). Success was sparse with a total of 29 singles released under the Polydor umbrella with only four hitting the Top 40 including ELO's "Evil Woman" (#JET764; #10) and "Strange Magic" (#JET779; #38). On the album front, the situation was worse with none of eleven (11) Jet/Polydor albums charting including, amazingly, ELO's "Face The Music" (#JETLP11) and Roy Wood's "Mustard" (#JETLP12). It was at this time that Jet sought another distributor in United Artists (as was the case in America) and it's likely that the rapid pulling of "Olé ELO" was down to that transition if not some licensing difficulties with Harvest over the inclusion of "10538 Overture", "Kuiama" and "Roll Over Beethoven".

It's also interesting to note that ELO's next album, the platinum certified "A New World Record" (#UAG30017; #6) was also numbered as JETLP20 (in brackets). Jet and United Artists went on to reissue "On The Third Day" (#UAG30091), "Eldorado" (#UAG30092) and "Face The Music" (#UAG30034) albums but not "Olé ELO" which remains officially unreleased in the UK to this day.
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*** Until next "Time" in the elobf universe ... KJS ... 05-March-2020 ***