Monday, 24 January 2022

Short Little Diamonds: ELO's Briefest Trax

#1,648: Ever wondered what would be the shortest track officially released by the Electric Light Orchestra - especially in these days of expanded albums replete with bonus content, alternate takes, demos and rough mixes? Yours Truly KJS thought it would be interesting to plough through my CD & vinyl collection and list ELO/Jeff Lynne trax of under two minutes duration with a view to identifying the shortest ELO song albeit with a couple of caveats. Due to the fact that ELO Part II's Moment Of Truth album contains six sub-two minute length trax, I've excluded all three orchestral instrumental interludes, the four second long "Vixen" (spoken by Kelly Groucutt) and "The Leaving". Doubtless KJS/ELOBF might have missed one or three more examples but, at the time of writing, "Opening" from the Balance Of Power expanded remaster in 2007 takes the biscuit at 24 seconds with "Let It Rock" from Jeff Lynne's 2012 solo effort Long Wave bringing up the rear.
Please feel free to contact ELOBF and leave a comment with any corrections &/or further suggestions!

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 24-Jan-2022 ***

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

ELO in Colour: The Jet Reissues

#1,647: A kind of confluence occurred in the Spring of 1978 as ELO's popularity outside of the United States increased dramatically following the success of their A New World Record and Out Of The Blue albums (and ensuing hit singles) alongside the commencement of their legendary spaceship tour and the transition in distribution of Jet Records from United Artists to CBS. The latter change led to a unique marketing opportunity for Don Arden's Jet Records to not only promote ELO's UK back catalogue from On The Third Day to A New World Record (note that ELO’s first two long players were released via EMI/Harvest in the UK and were therefore out of scope at that time) but also add new impetus to the sales of Out Of The Blue. One thing that Jet did well was making ELO fans aware (or reminding them) of their 1973-1976 back catalogue, namely On The Third Day, Eldorado, Face The Music (amazingly all three records never charted) and A New World Record (UK: #6) either as reissues or with selected album trax as 7" B sides or the Three Light Years (JETBX1) boxed set later that year so the reissue of the aforementioned albums in coloured vinyl (starting with OOTB in late '78 with the others following in Spring '79) was both timely and of huge interest to fans/collectors – especially a 10 year old KJS! The transition was all the more confusing with Jet/UA sleeves initially being stickered with the new Jet/CBS catalogue numbers as was the case with my (rather tatty) first copy of Out Of The Blue (JETDP400/UAR100).
On The Third Day and Eldorado had already been reissued by Jet/UA (UAG30091/UAG30092) following their original release via Warner Bros. Burbank label (K56021/K56090) with Face The Music having seen a similar reissue also via Jet/UA (UAG30034) following an initial early Jet Records outing thru' Polydor (JETLP11) hence with A New World Record (UAG30017/JETLP20) and Out Of The Blue (initially UAR100 via Jet/UA) included, the five coloured vinyl LP's offered by Jet/CBS were instantly collectable and were snapped up by eager fans. On The Third Day (JETLP202) came out in clear vinyl, Eldorado (JETLP203) was issued in yellow (some say gold) vinyl and Face The Music (JETLP201) in green vinyl. A New World Record (JETLP200) came along in red vinyl with Out Of The Blue (JETDP400) obviously in blue vinyl.
Note that other coloured vinyl 7" & 12" records issued in the UK between 1976-1979 included Livin’ Thing (Blue/UP36184) and Mr. Blue Sky (Blue/UP36342) prior to the UA/CBS switch with Wild West Hero (Yellow/SJET12109), Sweet Talkin’ Woman (Purple/SJET121/SJET12121) and Shine A Little Love (White/SJET12144) thereafter. All of these records remain highly treasured by Electric Light Orchestra fans in the UK (and beyond) and can be found regularly (noting that prices can vary from a genuine bargain to the ridiculous so make sure you shop around) on websites such as eBay and Discogs. Yours Truly KJS still looks back fondly on those record collecting days. Did you get the set?

Related KJS/ELOBF articles

~ With thanx (again) to my good friend Patrik Guttenbacher @ Face The Music Germany ~ 

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 18-Jan-2022 ***

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Spotlight: The Official ELO Fan Club

#1,646: I still remember opening up my copy of the Three Light Years (JETBX1) boxed set back in December 1978 and to find a blue/white flyer introducing The Official ELO Fan Club slipping out of the enclosed booklet. It was the first time that I'd heard of an ELO Fan Club and I recall vividly the interest it generated, backed as it was with an offer for "a very special commemorative" Three Light Years T-shirt and sweatshirt! Driven by the relatively belated success of ELO in their home country thanx to A New World Record (UAG30017) and Out Of The Blue (UAR100/JETDP400), the launch of an ELO Fan Club was not a complete surprise although a young KJS did not venture to join due to the limited funds available (my focus was on capturing The Move/Electric Light Orchestra back catalogue at the time and trying to keep up with all those singles!) to an 11 year old!

Fast forwarding to more recent days and my writings here, a KJS/ELOBF article in August 2017 entitled "Here Is The Newsletter" (click here to read) sought to clarify the number of newsletters and offers that the ELO Fan Club (or Appreciation Society as it was sometimes called) issued from Spring 1978 until its apparent dissolution in Spring 1981 on behalf of my good friend Patrik Guttenbacher at FTM Germany. Whilst the internet and social media (this writer has lost count of the number of ELO centric groups on Facebook) are the vehicles for ELO fans to express their affection for the band here in Yours Truly 2022, back then the notion of fan clubs was a little more analogue and perhaps the only way to receive news of inter-album updates, tour info, merchandise offers and the odd exclusive. You can see the plethora of ELO Fan Club output within this article (check out both montages). It’s also a little ironic that The Official ELO Fan Club hung around itself for three light years when ELO were, on a worldwide scale, at their commercial peak and challenging the likes of ABBA in popularity with their own constant stream of hit singles and albums.
As the hit singles dried up and albums sales - particularly in North America – declined in the 80’s (read the ELOBF article "Across The Border: The Demise of Jet Records"), the ELO Fan Club was no more and the only corporate or record company reach-out to fans thereafter was the gold disc competition (read the ELOBF article "We Shout Raving Notes: ELO’s Picture Disc Mystery") that came in the UK with the Secret Messages 7" picture disc (WA3720) in September 1983 before Jeff Lynne closed out Part One of the ELO story with Balance Of Power (EPC26467) in 1986.

Were you a member of The Official ELO Fan Club? If so, what are your treasured memories? Please leave a comment below or get in touch!

Friday, 7 January 2022

Singled Out: ELO's Rear Sleeve Reveal

#1,645: Looking back at the days when ELO were at their commercial peak and practically every single was destined for the UK Top 10, it was very easy for new fans to find out their discography and go back through ELO's back catalogue when it came to their previous album output. It was a little different in America as the bands albums from 1972 onwards had all charted and they had remained (mostly) with United Artists Records and their success was already established whereas in Britain, ELO had swapped labels regularly and some of their classic albums such as Eldorado hadn't even charted. Yours Truly KJS was flicking through my 7" collection this week and remembered that around the release of latter Out Of The Blue singles Wild West Hero b/w Eldorado (SJET109) and Sweet Talkin' Woman b/w Bluebird Is Dead (SJET121) following the change in distribution from UA to CBS, ELO's album history was proudly displayed on the rear picture sleeves of the aforementioned singles as well as Shine A Little Love b/w Jungle (SJET144). Over in the States, Sweet Talkin Woman b/w Fire On High (JT-XW1145) was released as the second OOTB single (just before the UA/CBS transition) and listed everything - alerting a young KJS to a differently entitled first Electric Light Orchestra long player, an alternative sleeve for ELO II and a career spanning compilation! Jet Records were really good at marketing the ELO brand at that time thanx to the success of their singles, albums and extensive tours, another example being the Three Light Years boxed set (JETBX1). Truly, those were the days when walking six miles to buy the latest ELO release (hence saving the bus fare) had to be done!

Related KJS/ELOBF articles

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 07-Jan-2022 ***

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Review: Morgan 50 (Dave Scott-Morgan)

#1,644: Most ELO fans will be familiar with the Dave Morgan (now David Scott-Morgan) and his involvement with the band for their live performances from 1981 onwards as well as his contributions in the studio on "Secret Messages" and Jeff Lynne's "Armchair Theatre". Further investigation into his long career will reveal stints with The Uglys, Balls and Magnum plus a solid songwriting acumen, examples being "Something" (flip side of legendary #1 UK single "Blackberry Way" and "This Time Tomorrow" (B side of "Curly") by The Move as well as the amazing European success of "Hiroshima" - originally recorded by Wishful Thinking circa 1971 and a Top 10 single in Germany upon its reissue in 1978 (peaking at #8 during an incredible 44 week chart run) and later a #4 hit for Sandra. These days Dave works his musical magic with Morganisation and most recently he took a step back in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his own eponymously titled debut solo LP with "Morgan 50" - a new vinyl pressing replete with an expanded CD in its original German artwork.
Dave Morgan: A hitmaker in his own right with The Move (60's), Wishful Thinking (70's) & Sandra (80's)
Originally an eleven song outing, "Morgan 50" features six bonus trax added for the accompanying CD for an album that garnered more commercial appeal on the continent than here in the UK yet retains an enthusiatic charm showcasing, as it does, the talents of Dave Scott-Morgan. Produced by Lou Reizner (who incidently also produced the 2LP original soundtrack album for 1976's "All This and World War II" which, of course, included countributions by Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood), there's a certain interchangeability here between this record and Wishful Thinking's debut long player "Hiroshima" sharing not only producers, but also labels (Ampex, Global Records) and a trio of trax including "We're Gonna Change All This", "She Belongs To The Night" and "Goodbye Lover". This is very much an enjoyable, listenable record with the influence of Bob Dylan apparent on "Hey Paul" and The Beatles on "Georgia Here I Come". "Angel" and "You'll Never Get To Heaven" (quite ironic considering Dave's Christian faith) are two other great tunes to savour as is the aforementioned anthemic, positive opener/manifesto (and lead EU/US single) "We're Gonna Change All This". There's a refreshing familiarity reflected here that's found throughout all Dave's records up to the present whether it be rhythm, blues or unabashed folk. Released when the Electric Light Orchestra were simultaneously putting their musical feelers out in 1971, it therefore comes as no surprise (having joined their ranks for a period) that both Dave and ELO are still around and making (if not re-making) remarkable music here in Yours Truly 2022. ★★★★★
"Morgan 50" by Dave Scott-Morgan is available to purchase via this link thus:


ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Morgan 50" by Dave Scott-Morgan to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of Electric Light Orchestra/Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles, Bob Dylan and related artistes.

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF universe ... 04-Jan-2022 ***