Friday, 31 December 2021

Yours Truly 2021: A Year In Review

#1,643: Here we are again, this time looking back on the year that was 2021, the first full year of KJS/ELOBF articles (88 in total) since 2018 and a year dominated by the lack of any real celebration of ELO's 50th anniversary by either Jeff Lynne's ELO or Sony Music's Legacy Recordings and, of course, the tragic passing of Louis Clark. It also turned out to be a year of minimal activity for Roy Wood too with his 2021 dates pushed back twelve months leaving a busy Bev Bevan to carry the torch with Quill and a renewed Stand Up & Rock! show now featuring an impressive Andy Bennett (formerly of Ocean Colour Scene) alongside lifelong pal and funnyman extraordinaire Jasper Carrott.

Goodbye My Old Friends
We also said goodbye to Don Everly and Mark Regula (Ivory Tower Project) as well as local record shop Oldies Unlimited whilst belatedly paying tribute to Carl Wayne this year with ELO engineer Dick Plant also paying tribute to the aforementioned Louis Clark. Although not mentioned in print, we were also much saddened by the passing of our good friend Terri Heritage - a familiar, friendly face at many a gig.

A Return to Gigs
September 2021 heralded a welcome return to live dates with seven shows attended and six reviewed including Quill (thrice)ELO Again and Stand Up & Rock! across the West Midlands and beyond. Joy Strachan-Brain, Bev Bevan and Quill just get better and better. Seeing and hearing "So Fine" performed live by Andy LouisThe ELO Experience was another live highlight to savour.

Interview Infusion
KJS bumped into Bev Bevan, Louis Clark Jr. and Joy Strachan-Brain in the latter half of 2021
Album of the Year
Just three albums were reviewed this year but there was no drought in quality as opposed to quantity! It was great to recommence overviewing Bubble Gum Orchestra albums again for the first time since 2018's "Zentopia" and we were blessed with two great albums in "Angel Dreams" and "4000 Miles to Eden" from BGO maestro Michael Laine Hildebrandt. Late October saw the release of the much anticipated new Quill studio album "Riding Rainbows" and it did not disappoint with a plethora of superb songs and guest musicians ensuring it being crowned as our Album of the Year 2021! Congratulations to Joy, Bev & Quill!

Not Forgetting ...

Another ELOBF Milestone!
Closer to home, ELO Beatles Forever celebrated our 12th birthday in February and received our four millionth view during September having launched the ELOBF Mailing List in June and recommenced our infamous Gig Guides (now on a monthly basis) in August.

Yours Truly KJS would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every visitor, contributor and interviewee to ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) during 2021 and to also wish you a better if not ELOtastic New Year! Looking ahead, there's much to look forward to (musically speaking) in 2022 so please consider bookmarking KJS/ELOBF and reading more new articles in the twelve months ahead!

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 31-Dec-2021 ***

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Now & Then: ELO's Christmas Chart Double Revisited

#1,642: Just over six years ago, Yours Truly KJS/ELOBF published an article (click here to read) noting the unique UK Christmas album chart double achieved by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) first in 1979 and then repeated by Jeff Lynne's ELO in 2015.

The reason for this brief article is to belatedly report that a similar feat also occurred in 2017 - allbeit within the Top 50 as opposed to the Top 30 - thanx to the success of "Wembley or Bust" and the enduring appeal of "All Over The World" equating to respective chart positions of #29 and #43 respectively during Christmas week that year. Whereas many ELO fans/followers of old will be aware that "A New World Record" and "Out Of The Blue" appeared together in the Top 100 on a few occasons and that ELO/Jeff Lynne enjoyed three albums in the UK Top 10 upon the release of "Long Wave" at #7 and "Mr. Blue Sky" at #8 (again ably supported by "All Over The World" at #10) in October 2012, this writer felt that this further seasonal ELO @ Christmas chart update was somewhat overdue ...
*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 28-Dec-2021 ***

Wednesday, 22 December 2021

Another Chart Breaks: ELO @ Christmas

#1,641: Regular visitors will doubtless be aware that the progress of Wizzard's festive classic "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" in the UK Singles Chart is monitored here every year. You might also recall that Yours Truly KJS/ELOBF also noted ELO's twin album Christmas chart successes in 1979 and 2015 some six years ago too. It therefore seemed a rather good idea to spread the net a little further and take a look at where ELO stood at Christmas down the years in both the British Single and Album Chart bearing in mind that the Top 100 was once the Top 75 and before that the Top 50. The results of our data trawl (as shown in the tabulations below) will hopefully be of interest to ELO fans.
Looking at ELO's chart presence in the singles chart at Christmas, it's interesting to note that they were in the Top 40 for five consecutive years between 1976-80 aligning perfectly with their rising popularity. "Livin' Thing" was at #6 in 1976 (having peaked at #4 the previous week) with Mike Oldfield, Queen, Abba, Showaddywaddy and Johnny Mathis ahead of them. It's also noteworthy that one year later "Turn To Stone" was still in the Top 20 (having peaked at #18 two weeks earlier). The ELO EP spent four weeks in 1978 at a respectable #34 although the "Three Light Years" boxed set (surprisingly) did not trouble the album chart until January. "Confusion"/"Last Train To London" - the fourth single taken from "Discovery" (and ELO's debut 'AA' side) - was at #15 in 1979 (having peaked at #8 in early December). Their last Christmas hit came in 1980 with "Don't Walk Away" at #23 (having peaked at #21 two weeks previously).
When it comes to the Electric Light Orchestra in the Christmas album chart down the years, there's essentially a divide between their most successful commercial period between 1976-81 and their resurgence from 2015 onwards. "A New World Record" was deservedly still in the Top 10 in 1976 and (not surprisingly) "Out Of The Blue" was found in the Top 30 in both 1977 & 1978. Two ELO LP's graced the Christmas chart in 1979 thanx to the momentum of debut #1 album "Discovery" and the timely release of "ELO's Greatest Hits" with "Time" hanging about in the lower reaches in 1981. The release of "Alone In The Universe" twinned with reignited sales for best selling compilation "All Over The World" meant another album chart double in 2015. The ensuing timely releases of "Wembley or Bust" in 2017 and "From Out of Nowhere" alongside continuing healthy sales for AOTW ensured that ELO were in the proverbial Christmas mix in 2019 too!

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 22-Dec-2021 ***

Monday, 13 December 2021

More Christmas Joy: Quill ft. Bev Bevan @ Cannock 10/12/21

Solid centre: Telephone Line
#1,640: The only difference on paper between Quill's gig at The Prince of Wales Theatre in Cannock on Friday 10th December and their recent date at the The Robin 2 was five days and about ten degrees Celcius. The set list may have been the same yet this was a completely different experience with the band and audience mutually enjoying themselves on what was a wonderful festive occasion. Quill are a close musical family and this was more than evidenced on stage as they danced, jigged and jived away to their hearts delight. Rather than repeat myself, Yours Truly KJS & ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) thought that it would be nice to publish a pictorial review/gallery of the proceedings with a selection of photos taken on the night - some by my good friend and fellow gig goer Christian Evans. Hope you enjoy the gallery!
"Wanna buy Tony Iommi's new perfume at £400 a shot?"
Riding Rainbows
Drum Dreams: Andy Edwards & Bev Bevan
Don't Bring Me Down
KJS with Louis Clark Jr. (The Orchestra) ~ Next stop Admaston!
Go to to order "Riding Rainbows"view tour dates and much more!
Quill are: Joy Strachan-Brain (Lead vox) ~ Bev Bevan (Percussion/drums) ~ Kate McWilliam (Fiddle/vox) ~ Abby Brant (Keys/vox) ~ Lee T. Evans (Guitars/vox) ~ John Jowitt (Bass/vox) ~ Andy Edwards (Drums/percussion/guitar)

Check out these recent KJS/ELOBF articles:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommend Quill ft. Bev Bevan to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of Electric Light Orchestra/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The BeatlesBlack Sabbath and related artistes.

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 13-Dec-2021 ***

Saturday, 11 December 2021

Early ELO & Move Enterprises Ltd.

#1,639: Did you know that early ELO's stateside career on United Artists Records revealed more about their transition from The Move than in their home country on EMI's Harvest imprint? Whereas The Move (who were primarily Roy Wood, Bev Bevan & Jeff Lynne at that time - not forgetting Rick Price) were certainly more well known in the UK & Europe, the development of an Electric Light Orchestra was more of a known in the British music press than admitted on vinyl whilst across the Atlantic their first two studio albums "No Answer" (UAS-5573) and "Electric Light Orchestra II" (UA-LA040-F) as well as their first three US singles "10538 Overture" (50914), "Roll Over Beethoven" (UA-LA173-W) and "Showdown" (UA-LA337-W) all made reference to The Move on their labels.
Produced by Roy Wood for Move Enterprises (with thanx to Patrik Guttenbacher @ FTM Germany)
American fans found the credit "Move Enterprises Ltd. Presents The Services Of THE ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCH." on their first album and single but for their second studio album and next two ensuing 7" issues, the UA label cited "Produced by Jeff Lynne for Move Enterprises, Ltd." ensuring that the duality of ELO and The Move was officially enshrined in record label text some five decades ago. Roy Wood's pride and enthusiasm for his ELO brainchild is unmistakable in the press interview below.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Christmas Joy: Quill ft. Bev Bevan @ The Robin 05/12/21

#1,638: On an evening when the inside temperature provided a somewhat chilly if not apt setting for Quill's Christmas Show at The Robin 2 in Bilston on Sunday (5th December), everyone in attendance was well and truly warmed up (with no mulled wine in sight) by another hugely enjoyable, top notch set comprising originals, covers and seasonal songs led from the front by the effervescent Joy Strachan-Brain.

Whether it was the quartet of trax from their excellent "Riding Rainbows" album, their take on tunes by The Move, ELOBlack Sabbath and Blind Faith or their atmospheric renditions of Christmas classics new and old, the septet who are Quill ensured that their vastly altered set ticked all the boxes for their fans and followers. To quote Elton John, although it could be said that the venue was "Cold as Christmas in the middle of their gear" (please excuse the pun), the band truly played on. I loved the Quill version of Greg Lake's "I Believe In Father Christmas" and The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" (Joy was ace in Kirsty MacColl's role as was John Jowitt with Shane McGowan's vocal). Both festive songs nestled nicely in the set alongside those ELO & Move classics that we all now and love whilst their own "Riding Rainbows", "Say It Ain't So" and "Love On The Run" more than ably demonstrated the individual talents of the group. A mention too for guitarist, singer and songwriter Lee Evans (who was ace) as well as those (Joy, Abby & Kate) who also had to sing in such near sub-arctic conditions! By the way, you have to see it to believe it how both Bev Bevan and Andy Edwards swap over during "Heaven & Hell"! Next up is Quill's Christmas date at The Prince of Wales Theatre in Cannock on Friday 10th December. See you there? ★★★★★
KJS with Bev (l) ~ Next up: Friday 10th December @ Prince of Wales Theatre, Cannock (r)
Quill performed: Grey Goose Call ~ Chinese Whispers ~ Telephone Line (ELO) ~ Black Dog Day ~ Say It Ain't So ~ Ghosts of Christmas ~ I Believe In Father Christmas (Greg Lake) ~ I Can Hear The Grass Grow (The Move) ~ Kate's Jig ~ Riding Rainbows ~ Fairytale of New York ~ Can't Find My Way Home (Blind Faith) ~ Love On The Run ~  Heaven & Hell (Black Sabbath) ~ God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen ~ Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town ~ Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree ~ Blackberry Way (The Move) ~ Don't Bring Me Down (ELO)

Quill are: Joy Strachan-Brain (Lead vox) ~ Bev Bevan (Percussion/drums) ~ Kate McWilliam (Fiddle/vox) ~ Abby Brant (Keys/vox) ~ Lee T. Evans (Guitars/vox) ~ John Jowitt (Bass/vox) ~ Andy Edwards (Drums/percussion/guitar)
Go to to order "Riding Rainbows"view tour dates and much more!
Check out these recent KJS/ELOBF articles:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommend Quill ft. Bev Bevan to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of Electric Light Orchestra/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The BeatlesBlack Sabbath and related artistes.

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 07-Dec-2021 ***

Friday, 3 December 2021

#ELO50: The Electric Light Orchestra: 50th Anniversary Thoughts

#1,637: The big day has arrived! Today Yours Truly KJS & ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) wish to celebrate 50 years since ELO's debut gatefold LP "The Electric Light Orchestra" (Harvest/EMI #SHVL797) was released in the UK on Friday 3rd December 1971 in our own special way. We've trawled the KJS/ELOBF record and CD collection and come up with at least ten (10) copies of ELO's first album including, of course, the US edition - mistakingly entitled "No Answer" (United Artists #UAS-5573) due to an unfortunate if not infamous secretarial error - released later in March 1972 (and managing #196 in the US Billboard 200).
Here in their home country, "The Electric Light Orchestra" enjoyed a four (4) week chart run having entered the UK Top 50 chart at #45 on 12th August 1972 before dropping out for a week and then re-entering at #49 rising to a peak position of #32 and slipping to #42 a week later. No doubt its belated success was down to debut single "10538 Overture" (Harvest/EMI #HAR5053) hitting an impressive #9 during an eight (8) week chart run at that time. Since then there have been multiple vinyl reissues as well as expanded and enhanced CD editions, most notably in 2001 and 2011. Whilst some fans who encountered ELO in later years struggle with their early material, this writer has always been fascinated by the morphing of The Move into the Electric Light Orchestra and their first official release!
"50 years! Wow! Was my least favourite ELO album but it was very early days. A very classy sleeve! 10538 Overture the outstanding track but I liked Look At Me Now and Whisper In The Night too." ~ Bev Bevan
Related KJS/ELOBF articles
ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) is forever grateful to ELO's co-founding trio of Roy WoodJeff Lynne and Bev Bevan for this enigmatic long player. Wishing a Very Happy 50th Birthday to "The Electric Light Orchestra" from KJS/ELOBF!

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 03-Dec-2021 ***

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Bev Bevan: Quill Christmas Triple Show Bulletin

#1,636: The advent of December heralds Joy Strachan-Brain, The Move/ELO legend Bev Bevan and Quill embarking on a series of seasonal Midlands dates in support of their excellent new album "Riding Rainbows" (read the KJS/ELOBF review here). Tickets for their Christmas shows at The Robin 2 in Bilston on Sunday 5th, the Prince of Wales Theatre in Cannock on Friday 10th and Admaston Village Hall near Rugeley on Saturday 18th are still available (although limited at the latter). See below for further ticketing info thus:

Sunday 5th December (4PM)
Quill ft. Bev Bevan @ The Robin 2, Bilston
Tickets: £16.50 each

Friday 10th December (7:30PM)
Quill ft. Bev Bevan @ Prince of Wales Theatre, Cannock
Tickets: £20 each

Saturday 18th December (7:30PM)
Quill ft. Bev Bevan @ Admaston Village Hall, Rugeley
Limited tickets: £25 each

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Riding Rainbows" by Quill 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 ... 01-Dec-2021 ***

Monday, 29 November 2021

ELOBF Gig Guide #39: December 2021

#1,635: Yours Truly KJS and ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) are pleased to present you the latest Monthly ELOBF Gig Guide listing selected UK (mainly Midlands) dates during December 2021. Whilst we'll all miss the recently postponed seasonal Roy Wood gigs, there are still plenty of choices to peruse led by Quill ft. Bev Bevan touring in support of their excellent new album "Riding Rainbows". Expect another event listing soon covering the month of January, subject to expected Winter plandemic restrictions.
Please consider getting out there and supporting these artistes, concerts and venues!

Friday 3rd December
Judie Tzuke with Beverley Craven: Strings Attached @ Lichfield Cathedral
Tickets: from £38.97 each

The Upbeat Beatles @ Town Hall, Dudley
Tickets: from £22 each

Saturday 4th December
Explosive Light Orchestra @ Coppenhall Club, Crewe
Tickets: from £8 each

Sunday 5th December
Quill ft. Bev Bevan @ The Robin 2, Bilston
Tickets: from £16.50 each

Friday 10th December
Quill ft. Bev Bevan @ Prince of Wales Theatre, Cannock
Tickets: from £20 each

Saturday 11th December
The ELO Show @ M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
Tickets: from £25 each

The Roy Orbison Story ft. Barry Steele @ Prince of Wales Theatre, Cannock
Tickets: from £24 each

The Steve Gibbons Band @ Blue Piano, Birmingham
Tickets: from £17 each

Sight 'n' Sound @ Heath Hayes Cons Club, Cannock
Tickets: from £5 each

Saturday 18th December
Quill ft. Bev Bevan @ Admaston Village Hall, Rugeley
Tickets: from £25 each

Andy Bennett's Special Rock & Roll Christmas @ Holy Trinity Church, Leamington Spa
Tickets: from £28 each (standing) or £42 each (seated)

Kingdom of Madness ft. Mark Stanway @ Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton
Tickets: from £20 each

Sunday 19th December
Quill ft. Bev Bevan @ Admaston Village Hall, Rugeley
Tickets: SOLD OUT

Friday 24th December
The Upbeat Beatles @ The Robin 2, Bilston
Tickets: from £16.50 each

Click on these site links for latest tour listings:

The artistes and shows listed above are recommended by ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF). Please contact KJS/ELOBF should you wish events to be considered for the above listing &/or future gig guides. It'll be nice to perhaps see you at some of the above gigs for a chat!

Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 29-Nov-2021

Friday, 19 November 2021

So Fine: The ELO Experience Caught Live @ Cannock 18/11/21

Tripping the electric light fantastic: The ELO Experience
#1,634: I have friends and know folks who have seen Andy Louis and The ELO Experience literally hundreds of times down the years (Yours Truly KJS/ELOBF have seen them at least seventeen times!) and their loyalty is always rewarded, evidenced by their excellent performance last night (Thursday 18th November) at The Prince of Wales Theatre just down the road in nearby Cannock.

Once again, The ELO Experience justified their position as the UK's premier ELO tribute band in presenting an accomplished, professional and thoroughly entertaining set of twenty three Electric Light Orchestra classics from their debut UK hit single "10538 Overture" (#9; July 1972) to their final Top 20 hit "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" (#13; July 1983). The vibrant full house ensured an electric atmosphere as the Jeff Lynne songbook (plus a certain Chuck Berry penned tune also famously covered by The Beatles) was recreated on stage with the highlight undoubtedly being an accurate and polished rendition of the anthemic and uplifting "So Fine" from 1976's "A New World Record". Having previously enjoyed their take on the likes of "Across The Border", "Big Wheels""Starlight", "Night In The City" and "Latitude 88 North", hearing another classic ELO album track performed live was the icing on the proverbial cake. ★★★★★

The ELO Experience performed: "All Over The World" ~ "Evil Woman" ~ "Telephone Line" ~ "The Diary Of Horace Wimp" ~ "So Fine" ~ "Showdown" ~ "Wild West Hero" ~ "Shine A Little Love" ~ "Xanadu" ~ "Confusion" ~ "Livin' Thing" ~ "Prologue" ~ "Twilight" ~ "Sweet Talkin' Woman" ~ "10538 Overture" ~ "Turn To Stone" ~ "Last Train To London" ~ "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" ~ "Rockaria!" ~ "Hold On Tight" ~ "Roll Over Beethoven" ~ "Don't Bring Me Down" ~ "Mr. Blue Sky"
Photo: Christian 'Manhattan Rumble' Evans
The ELO Experience were: Andy Louis (Lead vox/guitar) ~ Pete Smith (Bass/vox) ~ Chris Marsh (Keyboards/vocoder) ~ Jan Christiansen (Lead guitar/vox) ~ Tony Lawson (Drums) ~ Liz Stacey (Violin) ~ Francesca McDonald (Cello)

The ELO Experience continue to tour the UK extensively and you can view all their Tour Dates, sign their Guest Book and find out what they are currently up to via their official sites thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends The ELO Experience to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneThe MoveRoy WoodThe Idle RaceThe Beatles'Brum Beat' and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 19-Nov-2021

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Christmas Cheer for Roy Wood

#1,633: Following the recent postponement of his 2021 dates, it was indeed good to see Dr. Roy Wood pop up in the news this week with coverage of his involvement with Nelson's Distillery and their new limited edition seasonal gin entitled Christmas Cheer thus:

Christmas Cheer is priced at £29.95 for a 50cl bottle and can be bought (while stocks last) via this link thus:

Related KJS/ELOBF articles

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Roy Wood to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff LynneWizzardThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 14-Nov-2021 ***

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Remembering Oldies Unlimited

Source: Chronicle Week (Wolverhampton edition) page 2, Thursday 11.11.2021
#1,632: This writer was quite saddened to read the above article this week regarding the closure of Oldies Unlimited in Darlington Street, Wolverhampton on Tuesday 30th November (although it will continue online and at selected Midlands record fairs) and felt it would be apt to write a few words in fond memory of such a familiar friend. My first recollection of Oldies Unlimited would be picking up and flicking eagerly through the pages of their catalogue at Tom Hawkins Music Services in Oxley (another frequently visited establishment) or visiting the Oldies Unlimited shop (always rammed with vinyl) in Worcester Street. They were essentially a mail order franchise business back then based in nearby Telford and I remember ordering not a few ELO and related records in my early collecting days. A revamped Oldies Unlimited would later emerge in their current location and be a regular stop in my ever diminishing circuit of record shops in Wolverhampton city centre. Yours Truly KJS wishes Simon all the very best as he takes Oldies Unlimited into its new virtual home. Thanx for the memories!
Who remembers perusing those Oldies Unlimited catalogues back in the day?
Related KJS/ELOBF articles
Yours Truly KJS spent many a happy hour flicking through both picture and plain sleeves down the years!
ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends Oldies Unlimited 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 ... 11-Nov-2021

Monday, 8 November 2021

Interview: Author Barry Delve discusses Electric Light Orchestra: Every Album, Every Song

#1,631: When it was announced that new book "Electric Light Orchestra: Every Album, Every Song" (Sonicbond Publishing ISBN 978-1789521528; 160 pages) would be published on Friday 3rd December (originally Thursday 25th November), Yours Truly KJS/ELOBF was minded to catch up with author Barry Delve to find out more both about himself and his debut book in this latest interview for ELOBF. It was again rather enjoyable for this particular fan to interview a fellow fan on familiar subject matter! Here's hoping that you enjoy reading these questions and answers!

KJS: First things first, Barry! Please tell us about yourself?
BD: What's to know? I'm just an ordinary guy who's written a book about ELO!

KJS: Is this your first book?
BD: Yes. I've contributed art and written articles for various fanzines and websites (mostly to do with cult TV and films, which is a major interest) over the years but this is the first time I've tackled a proper book and written anything about music.

KJS: What sparked your interest in the Electric Light Orchestra?
BD: I kind of cover it in the introduction, but the short version is I saw them on Saturday morning TV (The Multi-Coloured Swap Shop) performing "Livin’ Thing" and was hooked from that moment on. Thanks to archive TV listings I managed to work out the exact date I saw them and realised had I missed that particular programme and tuned in a couple of weeks later then it would have been Queen in that slot and I'd probably have adopted them!

KJS: Your motivation for writing the book?
BD: It all happened by accident as I had no intention of writing a book! I bought one of the early "On Track" books and emailed the publisher to say how much I'd enjoyed it and innocently asked if there was one on ELO in the pipeline. The response was that there wasn’t one planned but would I be interested in writing it myself? I wasn't sure at first but Stephen at Sonicbond was very encouraging after I submitted an example piece and I knew I'd regret it if I passed on the opportunity, so I went for it.

KJS: How did you approach writing "Electric Light Orchestra: Every Album, Every Song"?
BD: From the beginning I decided not to write the book in order, so I started with "Discovery", as it was a piece on one of the songs that I had initially submitted to the publisher as a tester. I then did "Time" and after that went to "A New World Record" and worked backwards. I then worked backwards from "Balance Of Power" and filled in the gaps. "Out Of the Blue", which for a reason not even known to myself I had been avoiding, was last of the original ELO albums I tackled. I then did the post 1986 output chronologically. I don't know if this made a difference but the randomness of it kept my interest levels up! I was very undisciplined at the start but as the deadline got nearer I imposed a stricter regime, which was to do at least two songs a day. Not an easy task when you’re also holding down a full time job! It was the research that took most of the time, as I wanted to uncover as much undocumented stuff as I could and also check everything for myself. So an example of this would be that there's a short noise at the end of "Don't Bring Me Down" that Jeff Lynne has stated is afire door closing. Well, to me it’s always sounded nothing like a door, so rather than just re-quoting the quote I thought I'd try and find out for myself what it was. I put the clip in 'Audacity' software and kept increasing the speed of it until it sounded recognisable. When I got to 600% it was clearly a metal door closing so it went in the book! I've also tried to make it as informative as possible, so taking the first album as an example, if you want to know exactly which classical album the backwards introduction to "Mr. Radio" is taken from, or where 49th Street is in Manhattan, this is the book for you! The hardest part was stopping, letting go of it and giving it over to the publisher, just this week a previously unknown recording of ELO performing "Eleanor Rigby" live has surfaced and it’s never been documented that they performed it so I'm gutted I couldn't get to include it. Even now I'm waking up every day wondering if I've left a song out!

KJS: What can readers expect to find in this particular book?
BD: It's a complete overview of ELO from their beginnings up until the present day. It works as a linear history, but also as something readers can dip into randomly. I've tried cram in as many facts as possible, including things like chart places and there's even a guide to all the secret messages on the eponymous album. There's a sprinkling of opinion too, so hopefully it will be a handy one-stop guide to everything people need to know about ELO!

KJS: Were there any particular difficulties with your research?
BD: I started making ELO scrapbooks from the moment I got into the band and I still have my fan club newsletters and the Face The Music fanzines, which have been very useful. The internet is obviously a great resource and sites like have searchable versions of the old music papers, so I've been able to go back to the original sources, including radio interviews for all the facts and quotes I've used. If I couldn't read it or hear it for myself I didn't use it! On top of that I reached out to many people who had connections with ELO and many of them were more than happy to talk to me. I wanted to do a piece on the "Freedom City" movie and John Elton, the producer, was really helpful. He has lots of photos and a script somewhere, but unfortunately was unable to locate them, so regrettably I cut that part entirely when I had to reduce the word count. The only real difficulty was getting accurate release dates, as a lot of the accepted dates, as documented on Wikipedia, etc. are just wrong, so it was back to checking contemporary press releases and the music press for those.

KJS: Did you uncover any surprises along the way?
BD: Not necessarily surprises, but I made it my mission to try and get to the bottom of some mysteries. For example, the story behind the supposed original 'handshake' sleeve for Secret Messages has always intrigued me, so I tracked it down and spoke to the artist who designed the actual artwork, and he was able to tell me exactly why and when it was created and what it was meant for. There are things scattered through the book which I don't think are common knowledge. Some that immediately spring to mind are the original titles for some "Secret Messages" songs and the details of exactly which "Time" tracks were recorded by Jeff and Richard in LA after the album was meant to have been completed. I've also managed to track down a couple of unpublished pictures from the early days which I hope will be of interest.

KJS: What are your hopes for "Electric Light Orchestra: Every Album, Every Song"?
BD: I hope both casual and hard-core fans alike will find it interesting and enjoyable. It was put together as a labour of love, it's very much written from the perspective of a fan and I hope that comes through.

KJS: Have you any further writing adventures planned?
BD: As we know, the ELO family tree is quite large and extends in many directions so the big conundrum was what to include and what not to include. I had a word count I had to stick to and it soon became apparent that wouldn't be able to cover everything, so I limited myself to only writing about bands that included the words 'ELO' in their names and then I ended up cutting about 10,000 words anyway! So, this is a roundabout way of saying that there’s another book waiting to be written about Jeff Lynne's solo adventures as a performer, writer and producer and the wider ELO network. I'm not sure there’s a market for it or if I have the stamina to do it, but if people are interested, then let Sonicbond know!

KJS: What are your three fave ELO tunes and why?
BD: Goodness, that changes every day! OK, lets avoid the singles and go with these: (1) "Eldorado": a magnificent and mature song with a great vocal performance, where everything comes together to create a fitting finish to ELO's first masterpiece album. (2) "So Fine": It is what it is! A bouncing ball of effervescence that's impossible not to like. Forget "Mr. Blue Sky" – this is the song you should be playing on a sunny day! And what about that ending? The story behind how "So Fine" blends seamlessly into "Livin’ Thing" is a great example of how in ELO's heyday Jeff Lynne was experimenting and perfecting in the studio right until the last possible moment. (3) "Sweet Is The Night": When Kelly Groucutt joined ELO his singing and the way his vocals blended with Jeff Lynne's and took the band to another level. There are a few songs where Kelly gets a bit more of the spotlight and this is the best of the lot, with Jeff and Kelly's enthusiastic vocal harmonies amplifying the sense of sheer joy that permeates this uplifting song.

KJS: How can folks pre-order "Electric Light Orchestra: Every Album, Every Song"?
BD: It's available via Burning Shed who are the home of the Sonicbond shop, Amazon and most online booksellers.

Yours Truly KJS & ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) extend our thanx to Barry Delve for his much appreciated participation in this exclusive interview. You can pre-order and/or find out more about "Electric Light Orchestra: Every Album, Every Song" via these links thus: