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  1. #1

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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    Mentioning him in passing on the 'post-Beatles' thread made me think that he and his band deserve their own dedicated spot on OTF.

    So what do you think of 'The Jeff Lynne Band'? Because that's what ELO were - a quick look at the credits for their albums during their mid to late '70s peak confirms that Jeff Lynne did virtually everything bar play drums and the orchestral pieces. Either he was a genius or a control freak or both.

    One of my older cousins was a big fan and had most of their albums so I was exposed to their music from an early age.

    And the music is often great - the period from 1976 - 1981 had mega sellers like 'A New World Record', the double album 'Out Of The Blue', 'Discovery' and the time travel concept album 'Time' - which was a radical departure from their sound by heavy use of synths - but had some brilliant songs.

    But it's the backing vocals, always the backing vocals. I just think they stain so many great songs. Take Living Thing for example - a wonderful melody, good solo vocals, and then the chorus comes in and it just sounds horrible to me.

    If I had to pick a favourite ELO song then I'd go for Confusion, an example of where the backing vocals don't seem quite so prominent in the mix.

    After ELO split up Lynne went on to become famous as a Travelling Willbury and producer for hire. I liked one or two of the Willbury songs and love Roy Orbison's 'Mystery Girl' album which I think Lynne produced.

    But he does seem to have a reputation for producing dull and plodding music these days.

    How should we remember him and ELO?

  2. #2

    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    I love you, historyman. But I also hate you, because this means I'm gonna get lured into posting on WSC when I've got shitloads of work to do.

    Be prepared for a deluge of hatred from some quarters. And a rambling pro-ELO post from me, when I get around to it.

  3. #3

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    Jeff Lynne and ELO


  4. #4
    Gangster Octopus's Avatar
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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    Spearmint Rhino wrote:
    Be prepared for a deluge of hatred from some quarters.
    You called?

  5. #5
    Bordeaux Education's Avatar
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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    I am not an obsessive fan of ELO at all but, literally, there is nothing of theirs that I haven't liked upon hearing and they are so reminiscent of a certain period of my life that I can't imagine turning against them. There Violinski as well, wasn't there?

  6. #6
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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    I think ELO Greatest Hits was the first album I ever asked my parents for, though it took me some time to get it and I initially got Abba Greatest Hits Vol. II instead.

    In the most positive manner possible, they are the band that most evoke the mid-to-late seventies for me. Their music has so much transportative power that I get a Pavlovian response, I am instantly in front of the jukebox at Porthcawl Rugby Club cadging ten pence pieces off my Dad to play 'Mr Blue Sky' and I can smell the stale beer and Deep Heat (not all of it from my Dad). Peculiarly, only Elton John and Kiki Dee's 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart' has quite the same effect.

    Quite apart from the nostalgia, of course, they just wrote epic tunes.

    Why did I not know until today that Marc Bolan played guitar on 'Ma-Ma-Ma Belle' to return the favour for Jeff Lynne doing the same on 'Solid Gold Easy Action'?

  7. #7

    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    I utterly love "Confusion" and "Don't Bring Me Down", and I have lots of time for "Shine A Little Light" and "Living Thing".

    I'll defend the Discovery LP, but all that preceded it belonged in the collection of the long-haired, whispily-moustached older brothers of my friends who tended to have all ELO LPs alongside those by ELP and BTO. So I never really felt a connection with ELO's material.

    And what followed Discovery was pretty dire. Or perhaps I just resented Jeff Lynne's old-before-his-time image.

    Randy Newman was a fan, by the way. So much so that he wrote a song abpout ELO.

  8. #8
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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    As did Lionel Ritchie.

  9. #9
    Ray de Galles's Avatar
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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    Reading my post above back to myself really proves what was said on the Books forum about listening to the Partridge audiobook

    you'll be speaking in the distinctive Partridge cadence for hours after you've listened.

  10. #10

    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    Alderman Barnes wrote:
    As did Lionel Ritchie
    And Cheap Trick.

    Excellent posts above, especially Harry's.

    A top 5:

    5 Rockaria!
    4 Strange magic
    3 Wild west hero
    2 Ma-ma-Belle
    1 Horace Wimp

  11. #11

    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    Alderman Barnes wrote:
    As did Lionel Ritchie.
    That was liquid otf.

  12. #12

    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    1 Sweet Is The Night
    2 Shangri-La
    3 One Summer Dream
    4 Concerto For A Rainy Day (all of side four of Out of the Blue)
    5 Waterfall

    Love 'em.

  13. #13

  14. #14
    Gangster Octopus's Avatar
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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    Some older threads. With a certain recurring theme:

    I

    hate

    ELO

  15. #15
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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    I don't think I know any songs other than "Don't Bring Me Down," but it has a certain campy charm. I like the tape-loop drums.

    Putting it on at a party practically guarantees that drunk people will sing along loudly. (And say "Bruce" instead of "gruss" or whatever he's actually saying.)

  16. #16
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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    1. The Whale
    2. Turn to Stone
    3. Shine a Little Love
    4. Twilight
    5. Starlight

    Calvert W. McCutcheon wrote:
    Concerto For A Rainy Day (all of side four of Out of the Blue)
    Isn't that side three?

  17. #17

    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    Indeed it is.
    Good spot Fussbudget.

    The Whale, eh?
    Some mental sounds on that one.
    I missed out Telephone Line,so I'll wedge that in at no. 6.

    I had the 3 Light Years box set thingy too, some of that was superb.
    Can't believe the Completist has gone for Horace Wimp, it's appallingly bad.

  18. #18

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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    Fussbudget wrote:
    1. The Whale
    2. Turn to Stone
    3. Shine a Little Love
    4. Twilight
    5. Starlight
    I put on Out of the Blue yesterday whilst doing some stuff round the house and Starlight is a perfect example of the backing vocals dilemma that I talked about in the opening post.

    I thought it was Jeff Lynne being the Bee Gees.



    Still there seems to be more love than hate so far, and that includes the archived threads too.

  19. #19
    Fussbudget's Avatar
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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    See I quite like the backing vocals, I think with ELO the more over-the-top the better.

    Horace Wimp is alright apart from the fact that, as is often the case with them, it sounds a little too much like a Beatles pastiche to be taken seriously.

  20. #20
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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    Oh, go on, then!

    1. One Summer Dream
    2. Eldorado Overture
    3. Shine a Little Love
    4. Turn To Stone
    5. Livin' Thing

    In fact, it's probably a legacy of my late-70s love of ELO that I later (about '83) got into what are still one of my favourite bands - In The Nursery.

    ELO - 'Eldorado Overture'

    In The Nursery - 'The Golden Journey'

    I'm just a sucker for a good (virtual) string section, basically!

  21. #21
    imp's Avatar
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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    I love 'em so much I should change my user name to Horace Imp, arf. Except I hate that fucking song. I also thought 'Time' was dire, and gave up on them after that, and the disappointment of Discovery and Xanadu. Recently bought some early albums of theirs on vinyl, but they're a bit dull to be honest - golden era is the Three Light Years set, A New World Record and OOTB. Though historyman is uncomfortably close to the truth with the thing about the backing vocals, which I think I must somehow tune out. Like ignoring the faults in someone you love.

  22. #22

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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    imp wrote:

    Though historyman is uncomfortably close to the truth with the thing about the backing vocals, which I think I must somehow tune out. Like ignoring the faults in someone you love.
    That's a good way of looking at it!

    Actually after thinking about this for a day or two I've remembered that after my older cousin introduced me to ELO I began to recognise some of the songs he was singing. But he was a terrible singer, and I think somehow that the backing vocals remind me of that.

  23. #23

    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    I second historyman’s love for Confusion as it stands out as their least bombastic song, although it veers dangerously close. Don’t Walk Away also resonates, as it shows that Lynne had quite a vocal range, belying his hirsuteness somewhat (I thought someone that hairy ought to have a Lee Marvin-like baritone). And Shine a Little Light is just too, too catchy.

    I mean, they were just so beyond parody that it’s hard not to get all guilty pleasure about them. My formative memory of ELO was being exposed to every track on Discovery thanks to ITV, who would play their videos in between their children’s TV output. How they got away with that level of promotion is beyond me.

    My favourite post-ELO recording was The Traveling (one L, goddamit) Wilburys’ End of the Line which was used as the finale to One Foot in The Grave.

  24. #24

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    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    Commodore wrote:

    My favourite post-ELO recording was The Traveling (one L, goddamit) Wilburys’ End of the Line which was used as the finale to One Foot in The Grave.
    Yes, that's without doubt the best TW song for me.

    Thinking about Jeff Lynne's work as a producer for a moment, if I had to nominate a favourite song that he produced (and there probably aren't that many that I like), I'd go for Roy Orbison's California Blue.

    That part near the end when Roy lets rip with a phenomenal 'CALIFORRRRRRNYA BLUE' never fails to move me.

    Interestingly, back in 2008 the Washington Post named Lynne as one of the top 5 erm... knob twiddlers of all time.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...op-5-98304083/

  25. #25

    Jeff Lynne and ELO

    I'd guessed the top 5 twiddlers before I opened the link pretty much on order but had Mutt Lange instead of Eno.

    Lynne's great, no doubt about it, his production and innovative use of delay is like a signature, as is his acoustic guitar sound, Sweet Talking Woman, for example treats the instrument in a way that's never really been done before, but the thing that really sits out is his clunky old drum sound.
    I mean, it works, and all that, and it never really deviated until Discovery (with that massive Don't Bring Me Down intro which even I've used to replace weedy sounding kick and snare on live recordings) but it's just so, well, lifeless and flat.
    It's like he's stuck up a couple of overheads and told Bevan not to bother tuning the kit and has just said 'go!'.It just seems that not a second's thought has gone into it than necessary.

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