Showing posts with label Electric Light Orchestra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Electric Light Orchestra. Show all posts

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Mr. Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra

Growing up in the Seventies, I have rather vivid memories of my sister playing records to me. She's six years older than me and so she had a record collection while I was still dreaming of having one, one day. 'Mr. Blue Sky' was one of the songs she played a lot back in 1978, when it was in the charts. Ten years later I bought a copy of the single, and twenty years after that I bought the album 'Out of the blue' which is quite a fascinating album.

However, last weekend I found this new copy of 'Mr. Blue Sky', pressed on blue vinyl. I didn't think much about it: I simply had to have it. It's still one of the most fabulous songs I know.

My collection: 7" single no. 5258
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 19, 2011
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Mr. Blue Sky' / 'One summer dream'

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The way life's meant to be - Electric Light Orchestra

'The way life's meant to be' was the last single to be released from Electric Light Orchestra's 1981 album 'Time'. The song starts with gentle violins, and continues with flamenco-like guitar playing, and castanets. The south Mediterranean sound continues throughout the vocal and choiring on the refrain.

According to Jeff Lynne, 'It seemed to be [a pessimistic view] on that song. Yeah, well, and absolute that song... He's walking down the same street that it was before, like say a hundred years before. But uh, even though he's on the same bit of ground, everything that he knew is, like, buried under this new shit, y'know, that's growing up... on top of it, all these plastic towers and stuff. Ah, the castanets. It was a bit Russian but we put castanets on it and it became Spanish.'

My collection: 7" single no. 4796
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 10, 2010
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'The way life's meant to be' / 'Wishing'

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Don't walk away - Electric Light Orchestra

'Don't walk away' was released in 1980 as the fourth single from the soundtrack of the movie 'Xanadu'. Electric Light Orchestra may have been the only party to really profit from this movie, as it was not a commercial success, but the singles did fare reasonably well in the charts.

At least, the previous singles 'I'm alive', 'Xanadu' and 'All over the world' were top 10 hits in varying countries. 'Don't walk away' only reached number 7 in Ireland, reaching a more modest number 21 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 4808
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 10, 2010
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Don't walk away' / 'Across the border'

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Turn to stone - Electric Light Orchestra

Jeff Lynne spent two weeks writing songs in Switzerland in 1977 for Electric Light Orchestra's double album 'Out of the blue'. One of the results was this song, 'Turn to stone', which became the opening track for the album. It was also released as the first single from the album.

The single reached number 18 in the UK singles chart and number 11 in the Dutch Top 40. In 2008, Jeff Lynne was awarded a BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc) Million-Air certificate for having one million airplays of this song.

My collection: 7" single no. 2869
Found: Record fair
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Turn to stone' / 'Mister Kingdom'

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Rockaria! - Electric Light Orchestra

'Rockaria!' was the second single from Electric Light Orchestra's 1976 album 'A new world record'. The track features the operatic voice of Mary Thomas during the introduction. She flubbed the first take by starting the vocals too early. However, Jeff Lynne elected to use the take (complete with her interjection, 'Oops!') anyway.

The single reached number 9 in the UK singles chart and number 28 in the Dutch Top 40.

My collection: 7" single no. 4689
Found: All that music, Leiden, March 13, 2010
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Rockaria!' / 'Poker'

Friday, 19 March 2010

Can't get it out of my head - Electric Light Orchestra

First released on Electric Light Orchestra's fourth album 'Eldorado' in July 1974, 'Can't get it out of my head' was relased as a single in November 1974.

It became the band's first top ten single in the US, reaching number 9. It also reached number 19 in the Dutch Top 40. Amazingly, both the single and LP failed to chart in the UK. In 1978 the song was included on a four-track ELO EP that was released in the UK only, which reached number 34 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 4692
Found: All that music, Leiden, March 13, 2010
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Can't get it out of my head' / 'Illusions in G Major'

Sunday, 14 March 2010

All over the world - Electric Light Orchestra

'All over the world' is taken from the soundtrack of the movie 'Xanadu' (1980) featuring Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly, and Michael Beck. The song also appears on the soundtrack album and was released as the second single from that album in 1980.

he single reached number 13 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, number 11 in the Dutch Top 40 and also number 11 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 2817
Found: February 1, 1997
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'All over the world' / 'Midnight blue'

Saturday, 20 February 2010

The diary of Horace Wimp - Electric Light Orchestra

According to Jeff Lynne, 'The diary of Horace Wimp' is 'a song about a lucky lad who somehow defies the odds and gets the girl. Really wild use of the vocoder.' Originally released on the album 'Discovery' (1979) by the Electric Light Orchestra, it was subsequently released as a single.

The single reached number 8 in the UK singles chart, number 10 in Ireland and number 48 in Australia.

My collection: 7" single no. 1023
Found: Record Exchange, London, October 17, 1989
Cost: 10p
Tracks: 'The diary of Horace Wimp' / 'Down home town'

Friday, 12 February 2010

Confusion / Last train to London - Electric Light Orchestra

'Confusion' was released as a double A-side single with 'Last train to London' in the UK and Ireland, whereas the two tracks were released as separate singles in other territories. Thanks to this fact, we can conclude that 'Confusion' was actually the better selling of the two, since it was a top 10 hit in four other countries, in contrast to 'Last train to London', which only reached the top 10 in France. Meanwhile, the double A-side single reached number 8 in the UK and number 9 in Ireland.

Both tracks were taken from Electric Light Orchestra's 1979 album 'Discovery', from which three previous singles had already been released.

My collection: 7" single no. 2758
Found: House of Rhythm, London, October 29, 1996
Cost: 20p
Tracks: 'Confusion' / 'Last train to London'

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Don't bring me down - Electric Light Orchestra

A common mondegreen in this song is the perception that, following the title line, Jeff Lynne shouts 'Bruce!' However, he is actually saying a made-up word 'Grroosss'. After the song's release, so many people had misinterpreted the word as Bruce that Jeff Lynne actually began to sing the word as Bruce for fun at live shows.

Released as the third single from their 1979 album 'Discovery', 'Don't bring me down' was actually the first ELO single not to feature a string section. The single reached number 3 in the UK singles chart, number 4 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 5 in the Dutch Top 40. During its chart run I thought I saw this single in the discount bin, but I had a big blackout, as I came home with 'Shine a little love'. I bought this single 16 years later.

My collection: 7" single no. 2441
Found: August 26, 1995
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Don't bring me down' / 'Dreaming of 4000'

Friday, 15 January 2010

Sweet talkin' woman - Electric Light Orchestra

'Sweet talkin' woman' was originally named 'Dead end street', but the name changed to avoid confusion with a 1966 hit of the same title by the Kinks. Some words that survived from that version can be heard in the opening of the third verse, 'I've been livin' on a dead end street'. It was recorded on ELO's 1978 album 'Out of the blue' and released as the fourth single from the album.

Initial copies of the 7" single were pressed on transparent purple vinyl in the UK. It reached number 6 in the UK singles chart and number 27 in the Dutch Top 40.

My collection: 7" single no. 1163
Found: January 27, 1990
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Sweet talkin' woman' / 'Bluebird is dead'

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Mr. Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra

I haven't heard 'Mr. Blue Sky' in a long time, but when I played it today, I got that same feeling I've had so many times when I hear this song: goosebumps all over. Can you imagine a track like this in the charts today? Can you even imagine a track like this being recorded, with full orchestra, a choir and everything else?

Back in 1978 it was possible. 'Mr. Blue Sky' comes from Electric Light Orchestra's classic album 'Out of the blue' and was released as a single in January 1978. The single reached number 6 in the UK singles chart and number 11 in the Dutch Top 40.

My collection: 7" single no. 618
Found: Parkpop, Den Haag, June 26, 1988
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Mr. Blue Sky' / 'One summer dream'

Sunday, 29 November 2009

The ELO EP - Electric Light Orchestra

In December 1978, the ELO EP was released in the UK only, to promote the three LP box set 'Three Light Years'. The box set contained three recent albums by the band: 'On the third day' (1973), 'Eldorado' (1974) and 'Face the music' (1975).

'Can't get it out of my head' was the lead track on the EP, which reached number 34 in the UK singles chart. This way the track finally became hit in the UK, after it had charted already in 1974 in the USA, where it peaked at number 9.

My collection: 7" single no. 4270
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 21, 2009
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Can't get it out of my head', 'Strange magic' / 'Ma-ma-ma belle', 'Evil woman'

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Hold on tight - Electric Light Orchestra

'Hold on tight' was the first single to be released from ELO's 1981 album 'Time' and was their last top 10 hit in the UK, reaching number 4 in the summer of 1981. In the Netherlands, where the single reached number 5, they would have one more top 10 hit single with 'Rock and roll is king' in 1983.

The song is quite unique for an English band, because it contains a verse sung in French. The words are a direct translation of the English verse sung earlier on in the song.

My collection: 7" single no. 3859
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, July 18, 2009
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Hold on tight' / 'When time stood still'

Friday, 3 July 2009

Livin' thing - Electric Light Orchestra

'Livin' thing' was written by Jeff Lynne and appears on ELO's 1976 platinum-selling album 'A New World Record'. In the UK and Canada the single peaked at number 4, whereas in the Netherlands ELO scored their first top 10 hit with this, peaking at number 6. According to 'Unzipped', Suzi Quatro's autobiography, her sister Patti sang uncredited backing vocals on the track, particularly the 'higher and higher' parts.

The chorus of the song ('It's a livin' thing / It's a terrible thing to lose / It's a given thing / What a terrible thing to lose') has been subjected to frequent interpretation, because the lyric never explicitly identifies what 'it' is. This has led to the interpretation by some that the song was intended as an anti-abortion or a pro-environmentalist statement. Lyrical imagery elsewhere in the song may also give support to these impressions. Jeff Lynne has stated that the song was intended to be about love and the loss of love.

My collection: 7" single no. 3819
Found: La La Land, Den Haag, July 2, 2009
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Livin' thing' / 'Fire on high'

Monday, 25 May 2009

Calling America - Electric Light Orchestra

After the 1983 album 'Secret messages' was not very successful, the Electric Light Orchestra effectively disbanded. However, Jeff Lynne was contractually obligated to deliver one more album to CBS Records, and so 'Balance of power' was released in 1986. The sound of this album was very different from the sound that had made the band so popular in the Seventies. There were no strings, just synthesizers, and the whole album kindof lacked the 'soul' previous albums had.

'Calling America' was the one and only hit from this album, reaching number 28 in the UK singles chart. It was also the band's last top 40 hit.

My collection: 7" single no. 2846
Found: Record fair, April 5, 1997
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Calling America' / 'Caught in a trap'

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Ticket to the moon / Here is the news - Electric Light Orchestra

Electric Light Orchestra released 'Ticket to the moon' and 'Here is the news', two tracks from their 1981 album 'Time', as a single with two A-sides. The former is a beautiful ballad packed with strings and a grand piano. The latter is an uptempo track with lots of synthesizers and a lively background of news reports. The single peaked at number 24 in the UK, but did not chart elsewhere in Europe.

'Here is the news' became somewhat controversial when an evil Dutch broadcaster hijacked the first few seconds of the track to announce their vulgar programmes. Since then, that sound strikes fear into me, but when the great track follows, I realise it's not the voice of evil calling for me, but the brilliant English band.

My collection: 7" single no. 2769
Found: London, October 29, 1996
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Ticket to the moon' / 'Here is the news'


Friday, 30 January 2009

Xanadu - Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra

'Xanadu' was the theme song from the movie of the same name. The movie starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly and was an unofficial remake of the 1947 film 'Down to earth' with Rita Hayworth.

A rare collaboration for Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra, the single was the band's only UK number 1 single when it peaked there for two weeks in July 1980. The song peaked at number 1 in the Netherlands as well, and at number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

I recently bought a UK copy of this single with a limited edition gatefold sleeve at the record fair in Utrecht (on November 22, 2008), but the original single came into my collection soon after it was released.

My collection: 7" single no. 59
Found: Wouters, Den Haag, 1980
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'Xanadu' / 'Fool country'

Sunday, 4 January 2009

I'm alive - Electric Light Orchestra

Taken from the soundtrack of the movie Xanadu, this track by Electric Light Orchestra sound kindof familiar. It is almost a pastiche of earlier Electric Light Orchestra tracks. It was the second single taken from the soundtrack, after the title track 'Xanadu' (with Olivia Newton-John) had been a big hit all over Europe. By comparison, this single fared less well.

The film's version of the song contains a fairly lengthy instrumental introduction, a small segment of which is used for the album and single versions.

My collection: 7" single no. 3516
Found: Record Palace, Amsterdam, December 27, 2008
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'I'm alive' / 'Drum dreams'

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Shine a little love - Electric Light Orchestra

One of the most popular bands of the Seventies was probably Electric Light Orchestra. Their albums were full of spectacular soundscapes and the singles were invariably big hits. As I explained in a previous entry, the shop where I bought my singles in the late Seventies discounted ex-chart tracks. I don't know what happened in my mind, exactly, when I bought this single. 'Don't let me down' was high in the charts and I really wanted to have that song. I was very excited when I found this in the discount section. I must have misread or misunderstood the title, because when I played the single at home it didn't sound like 'Don't let me down' at all. I think I didn't play this single for months afterwards, angry at myself for this stupid mistake.

Still, 'Shine a little love' is a great song as well. It was taken from ELO's 1979 album 'Discovery', and made number 6 in the UK and number 10 in the Netherlands in the summer of 1979. The song was sampled in the track 'Shine' by the Lovefreekz in 2004.
The b-side, 'Jungle', was apparently a single candidate at some point, although the record company decided against it. Read more about the story of that track on this page.

My collection: 7" single no. 21
Found: Wouters, Den Haag, 1979
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'Shine a little love' / 'Jungle'
Download: here
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