Saturday, 25 September 2021

#ELO50: Whatever Happened to ELO's 50th Anniversary?

#1,619: Allowing for the fact that ELO technically began in the studio circa July 1970 with the core founding trio of Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan plus the fact that their first single wasn't issued until 1972, the year 2021 has been widely acknowledged as being the 50th anniversary of the Electric Light Orchestra with multiple social media posts citing #ELO50 and Yours Truly KJS publishing two ELOBF articles (see below) in anticipation of big things during the first quarter of this year. Yet, as we approach the fourth quarter of 2021, what has transpired is that very little has been forthcoming from Team Jeff and Sony's NYC marketing operation to mark such a significant birthday for one of the worlds most celebrated bands save the odd fan recollection, some new merchandise and an octet of Japanese BSCD2 reissues.

Many other bands/brands make a big deal of celebrating such a significant achievement yet all seems very quiet on the ELO front. Whereas it may be that these words are perchance a little premature when considering that The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO's debut LP) was released by Harvest (SHVL797) in the UK on Friday 3rd December 1971 and its 50th birthday is still a couple of months away but the general chatter amongst fans and in certain social media groups indicates a growing level of disappointment at the missing of such a golden opportunity if not the scoring of a massive own goal.

This is particuarly pertinent when considering that ELO's 30th anniversary saw many expanded and remastered releases back in 2001 and specific album reissues have been released or planned to be released, examples being a withdrawn Secret Messages in 2013 (replete with Beatles Forever) marking its 30th birthday and, of course, Out Of The Blue in 2017 marking its 40th anniversary. The list goes on.
The full set of Japanese BSCD2 reissues including 2019's Secret Messages (Photo courtesy of Mark Manley)
It may well be that ELO maestro Jeff Lynne is now enjoying retirement and is quite settled in his new Brentwood home or that Bungalow Palace is still being transferred or perhaps a new album and ensuing 2022 tour is planned which will belatedly celebrate ELO's five decades but for the sake of the loyal fans who have stuck around and the new generation of admirers who came on board post Hyde Park, surely the least that Sony (be it Legacy, Columbia or RCA)Craig Fruin and Jeff Lynne's ELO can do is put some effort in before year end. KJS@ELOBF

Related KJS/ELOBF articles


  1. Most likely greedy Jeff has made enough money out of his loyal fans now, so hasn't planned to mark 50 years !!! Just my own honest opinion from what I know off the record

    1. Stella ... Many fans sense a laziness and a taking the fans loyalty for granted both by Jeff's management and Sony this year ... KJS@ELOBF

  2. Jeff may not have cared, but Roy can still care. Right?

    1. Every true fan knows that ELO was Roy Wood's concept, vision and even name. No Roy Wood ... no ELO. From my chats with Bev and Roy down the years, I know that both of them are still extremely proud of their co-legacy in founding ELO and its ensuing worldwide success ... KJS@ELOBF

    2. Yet Jeff Lynne didn't even acknowledge those facts we true fans know at ELO's 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Roy Wood acted like he was there thanks to Jeff only!

  3. Billy Joel and Electric Light Orchestra are both celebrating 50th Anniversaries this year, Legacy Recordings handles their back catalogs on vinyl, but they're just interested in new releases for #50YearsofBilly, not #ELO50, with 1971 debuts of 11/1 & 12/3 respectively, then Team Jeff marks every other anniversary except Time's 40th, only once did they acknowledge it 6 years ago via Facebook, Friday, July 30, 2015, before there was even a Jeff Lynne's ELO Twitter account, but never since!

  4. It's very easy make jerr the scape goat in this yes he may have not said much about the 50th but you can also blame management for this and to be honest his management is useless at communicating and jeff being in his seventies should if he wishes retire 50 years is a long time to be in the public domain

  5. Over the years we have been very lucky with some (what I would consider) pretty spectacular releases to supplement the musical content itself, e.g. all the coloured vinyls (including "Surrender" & "Latitude 88 North" into the 2000s), "Ticket to the Moon" & "Out of the Blue" pic discs, "Three..." & "Four Light Years," the double CD re-issues of "ELO" & "ELO II" etc, etc, so it is pretty disappointing that nothing but a few t-shirts and re-re-re-reissues of Japanese CDs is all we've had so far.

    I would personally like to see a "Wembley or Bust" vinyl issue on pic disc and/or red/white/blue vinyl, and a proper re-issue of the full "Secret Messages" double album (including "Beatles Forever") on white vinyl.

    1. I would add AFTERGLOW & FLASHBACK (perhaps the UK singles box too) to the list of "ELO deluxe releases", some coloured maxisingles, as well as both (related) Traveling Wilburys and "Wembley or Bust" GENESIS books. For me, it would be VERY WELCOME in this 50th anniversary:
      -EMI First light´s "NO ANSWER" plus takes (that EMI-2CD pack) on vynil.
      -EMI First Light´s "ELO 2" and "The lost planet" sessions and takes on vynil as well.
      - A revised "AFTERGLOW" for the first time on VYNIL too.
      - That loooong time rumoured IDLE RACE deluxe box, or, (although without Jeff, but with his strong influence) their 3rd album on vynil: TIME IS.
      - Those EAGLE live CDs (BBC, Winterland, Wembley 78...) tranfered to vynil too.
      - That "Friends and Relatives" Eagle compilation on vynil too would be great for me.
      - A "picture disc" of BALANCE OF POWER with that geometric style could be LOVELY...

      - Some more cheaper and atractive stuff like: different slipmats with ELO logo for turntables, 45 PUK adapters also with ELO logo, cushions and shirts with old ELO LP designs, produce as official product those bootleg framed photos with golden or silver disc & plaques, guitar picks, signed...

      Of course this would require effort and investment of money and choose a competent management, open to the fans and imaginative. Unluckily, nowadays, we are faaaar away from it.