Monday, March 27, 2006

The ELO remaster series is back on track!

Mark your calendars people! On May 22, 2006 - the remaster series - after being in a serious coma for several years - is on track. Three releases - On The Third Day, Face The Music and A New World Record - will be unleashed with bonus tracks, mainly demos, instrumental versions of previous songs, alternative takes, etcetera. I don't think we'll find any lost grail or previously unknown ELO song (though I wish to pieces the demo from Discovery Second Time Around was available as a completed song, 'twas heavenly).

Sunday, January 22, 2006


The first ELO song I ever heard to my recollection was Showdown, a haunting R&B number that sounded way different than any thing else that was churgling out of the radio at the time. I was ten years old. Showdown stuck out in my ears because on this tinny portable pocket radio speaker you could make out this big big sawing string section playing the rhythmic melody like a bass track, an exquisite, dry, chills-up-and-down-your-back guitar lead and this mournful tortured singer, crying out,
"it's unreal the suffering, "
then the resignation of,
"There's gonna' be a showdown,"
and then the wail of the chorus:
"and it's raining, all over the world, raining all over the world, tonight, the longest night!"
Wow. That was my Heartbreak Hotel !
It took a good while for me to learn the name of the band (Electric Light Orchestra? Sure nothing like the Love Unlimited Orchestra.) I didn't hear much about them for awhile until "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" and "Boy Blue" started filling up the airwaves. But I started to care a lot more about music after that. Until then it was all pretty much disposable - all I cared about was comedy records up until that moment.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Electric Light Orchestra Part II Former Members Reunion Tour 2006

In case you are not a member of the ELO discussion group Showdown, this has been their most lively and spirited topic for the past couple of months. In short, in 1999, when Bev Bevan decided to end ELO Part II and sell the rights back to Jeff Lynne, the remaining members wanted to continue touring and playing ELO music. They were barred from presenting themselves as ELO or ELO part II in any way, so they changed their name to The Orchestra and recorded an excellent album that far excelled anything recorded by ELO Part II but was unable to sell many copies except to diehard fans. They toured the world and pursued separate projects. The UK fans clamoured for an Orchestra tour for many years, but the promoters would find reasons to avoid booking the group. In 2005, "All Over The World - The Best Of The Electric Light Orchestra" zoomed to number six in UK charts and earned several platinum awards. This convinced promoters to approach The Orchestra's management for a full scale tour in 2006. Unfortunately, the promoters wanted to use the ELO name for the tour. Management and promoters claim their lawyers have okayed the group to tour as a reunion show as Electric Light Orchestra Part Two Former Members. And that is what all the fuss is about in a nutshell. No one is arguing about the musical merits of the group. It's all about identity, image, opportunism, false advertising, honour, betrayal - you'd think The Beatles were back in court again, and all the fans were taking sides!
My own opinion on this sad affair is that alot of trouble could have been avoided had Jeff Lynne and his management simply licensed the ELO name to this group of musicians. Jeff Lynne could then go on showing the world his mettle as a world class songwriter, producer, recording artist and if he ever chooses again live performer. Officially not a word about this situation has come from the Jeff Lynne camp. All the howling being emitted worldwide is from the fans, especially those on the internet.

All Over The World - The Very Best Of The Electric Light Orchestra (2005)

Last year, Sony Music released worldwide yet another ELO compiliation. What was different about this collection is that all the tracks have been remastered and this collection involved Jeff Lynne and ELO Archivist Rob Caiger. The sound of all the tracks is fresh, alive and breathtaking, with licks and phrases so catchy and music production and arrangements so grand and wondrous, this serving is a ready reminder to all who care to listen why ELO records were so irresistable in the first place. This sparkling collection of great ELO recordings spans from Showdown ( "On The Third Day", 1973 ) to the recent remade version of Xanadu ( "Flashback", 2000 ) and the twenty-first century number from 2001's "Zoom", Alright, though, curiously, the two hit making singles that paved the way for the band in America from the "Eldorado" album ( Can't Get It Out Of My Head and Boy Blue ) were not included.
Nevermind. Much of the singles featured here are teasers for the continued rollout of Sony/BMG's remaster series of ELO's albums due out in 2006 (look for On The Third Day, Out Of The Blue and Face The Music - but where, oh, where is A New World Record?). The liner notes and photos are fab, entertaining and informative, though the info tends to be prosaic, short and sweet, than evocative and voluminous like those found in Elvis Costello's remasters.
This album has been a massive hit in the UK and other territories throughout the world, but I was extremely offended by the lack of promotional effort
by Sony Music USA in North America, clearly ELO's largest market. Retailers barely stocked this item, most fans in U.S. and Canada who wanted a copy had to order online. A hugely squandered opportunity. "Zoom" sold more copies in North America than "All Over The World". Honestly, I have had it with Sony USA's consistant non support of Jeff Lynne and ELO. Howard Stringer isn't firing anybody and Jeff Lynne's management isn't firing Sony, so that's that.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


The purpose of this weblog is to air my views, opinions, feelings on all things ELO and ELO-related. Over time, I will discuss at length how I feel about certain albums, singles, songs, artwork, artists, dreams, ideas while also hopefully being edifying and entertaining. Comments accepted from all.