Saturday, 2 January 2021

#ELO50: 50th Anniversary Thoughts

#1,556: Hello and welcome to 2021! Perhaps one of the most noticeable nuances in the strange year that was 2020 has to be the absence of any mention of ELO's 50th anniversary. Whereas one can easily discover the birth of The Move (Sunday 23rd January 1966), the same cannot be said of the definitive, formal arrival of the Electric Light Orchestra a la Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan. It would therefore true to say (if you'll excuse the pun) that there is a little "Confusion" when it comes to ELO's actual age and it's a subject of two almost controversial elobeatlesforever (elobf) articles in 2010 (click here and here to read).

Yours Truly 1970
Recorded in July 1970, the general consensus is that the first ELO song was "10538 Overture", a Jeff Lynne song originally intended as a 'B' side for a then future single by The Move. Some fans also identify another Lynne penned track: "What?" (found on the The Move's "Looking On" album and also the flip side to the "When Alice Comes Back From The Farm" UK single) as the definitive ELO launch point. This would, of course, mean that 2020 was indeed their 50th anniversary as the 40th anniversary release of the DVD "Electric Light Orchestra Live - The Early Years" (Eagle Rock Entertainment #EREDV780) suggested.

Yours Truly 1971
For this writer, it is the release of debut album "The Electric Light Orchestra" (Harvest #SHVL797) on Friday 3rd December 1971 that defines phonographically the year in which ELO began. Whereas 1970 is undoubtedly the year ELO was conceived in a recording sense, (P)1971 is undeniably the year that official ELO releases commenced. Indeed, the 1991 EMI 2CD compilation "Early ELO" was subtitled 1971-1973 and the Light Years enhanced reissue in 2001 was cited as a 30th anniversary edition.

Yours Truly 1972
Adding to the mix in this story is the fact that it was actually 1972 when ELO enjoyed their first hit single with the aforementioned "10538 Overture" (Harvest #HAR5053), performed their first live dates and belatedly released their first long player in the US under the title "No Answer" (United Artists #UAS-5573) due to a certain unfortunate secretarial error. It was also interesting to see ELO Part II touring the UK in 1997 under the banner of "Celebrating 25 years of ELO's Greatest Hits" and Face The Music fanzine marking ELO's 25th anniversary in 1992.

Yours Truly 2021
Since then, all manner of CD and DVD compilation releases have generally resorted to ascribing those Early ELO years as 1970-1973 (check out the above montage header) yet, as stated at the outset of this article, here we are in the New Year having seen no mention of a 50th ELO birthday during 2020. For these reasons and the fact that the Jeff Lynne's ELO tour bus remains parked up due to the ongoing plandemic there is now the strongest of cases, commercial speaking, to release new EJLO material or repackage classic ELO discography &/or videography. ELO fans should therefore expect to see a lot more activity from Sony Legacy (and others) this year in formally celebrating and marketing five decades of Birmingham's best. We're wishin' and hopin' that happens lest this ELOpportunity is wasted.
The Move certainly do have a defined beginning and they'll be celebrating their 55th birthday soon!
Related KJS/ELOBF articles

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... KJS ... 02-Jan-2021 ***


  1. Well, going by past ELO Anniversary celebration compilations...

    Afterglow (1990) 20th Anniversary
    Flashback (2000) 30th Anniversary
    The Essential 2 CD (2011) 40th Anniversary
    The Classic Albums Collection (2011) 40th Anniversary



  2. I would choose the simpler option to start with the release of the first album.