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#32 in the US Billboard 200, this was the first commercially successful ELO greatest hits collection yet it was hastily withdrawn in the UK almost as soon as it had finished being pressed with only a few copies escaping intact.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 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 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.
Related KJS/ELOBF articles
*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 05-March-2020 ***

1 comment:

  1. US: #24 CashBox; #32 Billboard 200, RIAA certification: Gold 8-)