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Rock - Released November 13, 2015 | Epic - Legacy

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Nowadays, 1977 is remembered as both the year of punk and the year of disco. At the time, though, it was the year of Fleetwood Mac's RUMOURS and Electric Light Orchestra's OUT OF THE BLUE, two albums that were simply inescapable. But where overexposure made RUMOURS feel somewhat stale and dated, OUT OF THE BLUE sounds as fresh now as it did at the time. This is due in large part to the obsessive insularity of Jeff Lynne's aesthetic. He seems not to be ignoring musical trends, but to be simply unaware of them. Lynne's mid-period Beatles fixation combines with his love of lush orchestrations and pristine production to create some of his strongest music, including the enormous hits "Turn to Stone," "Sweet Talkin' Woman" and "Mr. Blue Sky." However, the autobiographical "Birmingham Blues" suggests that Lynne was tiring of the rock-star grind, which might explain ELO's lowered profile after this release.
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Rock - Released September 1, 1976 | Epic - Legacy

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Rock - Released May 31, 1979 | Epic - Legacy

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Rock - Released August 1, 1981 | Epic - Legacy

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Rock - Released September 10, 2012 | Columbia - Legacy

Tempting as it may be, it's not quite accurate to call Jeff Lynne the rock & roll George Lucas, a technophile who can't resist tweaking his famous older work to bring it up to modern standards. Unlike Lucas, Lynne doesn't paint over his original work, turning it into something vaguely reminiscent of the past: with Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra, he simply re-creates his old arrangements with new technology. There are no reinterpretations of these ten hits -- 12 on the bonus edition, with "10538 Overture" and "Point of No Return" added to the collection -- Lynne has simply set out to re-record the originals so they sound brighter, clearer, and a shade bigger. And he's succeeded. If you're listening casually, it can be pretty easy to mistake these for the originals. Lynne's voice is in good shape, the harmonies are layered precisely, he's replicated old-fashioned analog synths and lifted compression, so Mr. Blue Sky simply feels clean and renewed, the familiar contours buffed so they sparkle. Whether this is enough for fans to trade in their original ELO hits album in favor of this crisp new model is simply a matter of taste -- many may prefer the heavily compressed analog originals, as that's what they grew up with; after a quiet decade, hardcore fans will certainly treasure any new Lynne music, even if it is merely a revival -- but this is by no means an embarrassing stroll down memory lane. It can be quite fun, actually, even if it is somewhat baffling. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released September 1, 1974 | Epic - Legacy

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This is the album where Jeff Lynne finally found the sound he'd wanted since co-founding Electric Light Orchestra three years earlier. Up to this point, most of the group's music had been self-contained -- Lynne, Richard Tandy, et al., providing whatever was needed, vocally or instrumentally, even if it meant overdubbing their work layer upon layer. Lynne saw the limitations of this process, however, and opted for the presence of an orchestra -- it was only 30 pieces, but the result was a much richer musical palette than the group had ever had to work with, and their most ambitious and successful record up to that time. Indeed, Eldorado was strongly reminiscent in some ways of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Not that it could ever have the same impact or be as distinctive, but it had its feet planted in so many richly melodic and varied musical traditions, yet made it all work in a rock context, that it did recall the Beatles classic. It was a very romantic work, especially on the opening "Eldorado Overture," which was steeped in a wistful 1920s/1930s notion of popular fantasy (embodied in movies and novels like James Hilton's Lost Horizon and Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge) about disillusioned seekers. It boasted Lynne's best single up to that time, "Can't Get It Out of My Head," which most radio listeners could never get out of their respective heads, either. The integration of the orchestra would become even more thorough on future albums, but Eldorado was notable for mixing the band and orchestra (and a choir) in ways that did no violence to the best elements of both. ~ Bruce Eder
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Pop - Released August 2, 2005 | Epic - Legacy

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Rock - Released August 3, 2018 | Epic - Legacy

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35 years later, this new re-edition finally corrects a terrible injustice. Despite its colossal success at the end of the 1970s, the powerful major distributing ELO in the United States vetoed the double-album project, forcing Jeff Lynne – who had become the band’s uncontested leader −, to change his strategy and tame his ambitions, settling for a reasonably long simple album. Professionals in the business had strong doubts over whether or not this veteran of the 70s could survive the 80s, a decade in which pop music lost all dignity. In other words, he who was one of the few to come close to the Beatles’ excellence and knew how to adapt, with more or less finesse, to the zeitgeist, particularly the disco wave, was in danger of becoming old fashioned… Still, his two previous albums, Discovery (1979) and the ambitious Time (1981) both topped the charts in many countries, as well as his original soundtrack for the disappointing film Xanadu.Listening to the twenty-five tracks of this revised and corrected version of Secret Messages, it becomes clear that Lynne’s updating work should have earned him more respect. Retaining its idiosyncratic components that allowed for rock’n’roll influences to harmoniously coexist with pronounced classical influences, ELO broadened their skill set while mastering the latest progress in technology. Tracks that had been scattered over singles, compilations, or the following album (Balance Of Power) have finally been re-integrated, with, as a bonus, a handful of previously unreleased songs that are well worth a listen. Only Beatles Forever is missing, the tribute Lynne still doesn’t deign to officially release, despite achieving his dream by producing the Liverpool band during their Anthology period, after collaborating with two of its members (George Harrison and Ringo Starr). © Jean-Pierre Sabouret/Qobuz
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Rock - Released October 1, 1975 | Epic - Legacy

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Rock - Released November 1, 1973 | Epic - Legacy

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Rock - Released June 27, 2014 | Epic - Legacy

The very fact that Electric Light Orchestra released a second three-disc box set is a tacit admission that, yes, 1987's Afterglow wasn't everything it should be. Happily, 2000's Flashback is. Assembled with the cooperation of Jeff Lynne, Flashback covers all the bases, featuring all the hits, a good selection of album tracks, and seven previously unreleased tracks, two alternate mixes and "After All," previously unavailable on CD. The sequencing is roughly chronological, with each of the three discs spotlighting a different era, then sequenced for maximum listenability within that -- so "10538 Overture" segues to "Showdown" and "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle" then doubles back to the first album. It's a gambit that works, since Flashback winds up flowing as gracefully as ELO's best albums. And, make no mistake, this is one of their best albums, a rare box set that satisfies the needs of both casual and mildly dedicated fans, while offering the hardcore not just a bunch of rarities but an enjoyable album with its own character. So, it trumps Afterglow in every possible way, then, and thereby eliminates the need for yet another three-disc ELO box. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released November 27, 2015 | Legacy Recordings

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Rock - Released February 17, 1986 | Epic - Legacy

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Rock - Released June 12, 2001 | Columbia - Legacy

Fifteen years after Jeff Lynne masterminded the last official Electric Light Orchestra album, and ten after his solo debut, Lynne recorded Zoom -- an ELO album that he recorded nearly entirely by himself. So why isn't this a solo album? Well, not only does Lynne own the ELO name, so he can do whatever he wants, but he designed this to be a return to the classic ELO sound. Which it is, more so than any album since the early '80s. There are lush, heartbreaking ballads and '50s-styled rockers with an endearingly robotic pulse and Beatlesque harmonies. Better than that, the songwriting is melodic and memorable, the strongest Lynne has done in decades, resulting in the most consistent record released under the ELO banner since Discovery. On top of that, the production, while clearly not a product of the '70s, avoids all the pitfalls of modern record production, sounding warm, welcoming, and right. So, why was Zoom largely ignored upon its release in the summer of 2001? Probably because no matter how good it is, there weren't a lot of listeners clamoring for a new ELO album, and even some dedicated fans may have wondered if they needed a new ELO record, since, for all its strengths, Zoom doesn't deliver any knockout punches, even on the level of "Calling American" or "Four Little Diamonds." Without a great lead single (and, even if there had been, there wouldn't have been any place for it to receive airplay), there was nothing to bring the doubters into the fold, so they couldn't discover that Zoom was a very good ELO album, certainly more than just an album for the true believers -- which is what it wound up being. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released June 1, 1983 | Epic - Legacy

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Rock - Released April 22, 2013 | Columbia

Although ELO quickly became Jeff Lynne's baby, it was launched as a collaboration between Lynne and his bandmates in the Move, multi-instrumentalist Roy Wood, and drummer Bev Bevan. Indeed, the label on ELO's first album reads "Move Enterprises Ltd. presents the services of the Electric Light Orchestra," and most histories claim that the initial idea for the spin-off group combining rock and classical music was Wood's, not Lynne's. Wood and Lynne split the songwriting duties on Electric Light Orchestra, much as they did on late-period Move albums, but it seems like their visions of what ELO was were widely divergent. Wood's songs are clearly more classically influenced, with the string and horn sections driving the songs rather than merely coloring them, as they do on Lynne's tunes. The difference between Wood's baroque "Look at Me Now" and Lynne's hard rocking "10538 Overture" is obvious, and Lynne never wrote anything as purely classical as Wood's "The Battle of Marston Moor (July 2nd, 1644)" in his entire career. (The Gershwin-like piano jazz of "Manhattan Rumble (49th Street Massacre)" is Lynne's equivalent piece, and suggests an intriguing avenue he unfortunately never explored further.) This dichotomy makes Electric Light Orchestra in some ways much more interesting than later ELO albums. When Wood left to form Wizzard after the release of this album, the tension generated by that clear difference between his and Lynne's songwriting styles was gone. Later ELO albums were much more commercially successful, but they were also considerably more stylistically attenuated. As good as they are, all of the later ELO albums sound pretty much exactly alike. Electric Light Orchestra sounds like nothing either Jeff Lynne or Roy Wood did before or after, and therein lies its fascination. ~ Stewart Mason
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Rock - Released July 14, 1992 | Volcano

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Rock - Released October 23, 1990 | Epic - Associated

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Rock - Released January 1, 1973 | Epic - Legacy

Although ELO quickly became Jeff Lynne's baby, it was launched as a collaboration between Lynne and his bandmates in the Move, multi-instrumentalist Roy Wood, and drummer Bev Bevan. Indeed, the label on ELO's first album reads "Move Enterprises Ltd. presents the services of the Electric Light Orchestra," and most histories claim that the initial idea for the spin-off group combining rock and classical music was Wood's, not Lynne's. Wood and Lynne split the songwriting duties on Electric Light Orchestra, much as they did on late-period Move albums, but it seems like their visions of what ELO was were widely divergent. Wood's songs are clearly more classically influenced, with the string and horn sections driving the songs rather than merely coloring them, as they do on Lynne's tunes. The difference between Wood's baroque "Look at Me Now" and Lynne's hard rocking "10538 Overture" is obvious, and Lynne never wrote anything as purely classical as Wood's "The Battle of Marston Moor (July 2nd, 1644)" in his entire career. (The Gershwin-like piano jazz of "Manhattan Rumble (49th Street Massacre)" is Lynne's equivalent piece, and suggests an intriguing avenue he unfortunately never explored further.) This dichotomy makes Electric Light Orchestra in some ways much more interesting than later ELO albums. When Wood left to form Wizzard after the release of this album, the tension generated by that clear difference between his and Lynne's songwriting styles was gone. Later ELO albums were much more commercially successful, but they were also considerably more stylistically attenuated. As good as they are, all of the later ELO albums sound pretty much exactly alike. Electric Light Orchestra sounds like nothing either Jeff Lynne or Roy Wood did before or after, and therein lies its fascination. ~ Stewart Mason
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Electronic/Dance - Released April 8, 2016 | POST POST