Sunday, 26 March 2017

ELOGOLOGY: BALANCE OF POWER

It was ELO but not as we knew it ...
Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Spring 1986: It had been the best part of three years since the ELO studio album "Secret Messages" had been released and Yours Truly KJS was more than pleasantly surprised when I heard "Calling America" on Radio 1 and mentions of a new album. I also remember trawling my local HMV record store in Wolverhampton for the single and having to ask an assistant for it because I couldn't initially find it on account of the bright red sleeve and completely new ELO logo.
"Balance Of Power" charted for 12 weeks reaching #9 in its second week ...
Perhaps because the album was missing both the ELO logo so familiar with fans since it appeared on the embossed sleeve of "A New World Record" in 1976 and it was released via Epic Records rather than Jet Records. "Balance Of Power" (EPC26467) peaked at #9 with lead single "Calling America" sadly stalling at #28, a modest chart performance that could well have been as a result of a negative perception of the new logo as well as the band now being a trio of Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan and Richard Tandy (minus, of course, the departed Kelly Groucutt) plus the fact than even with ten tracks, the running time was barely over 34 minutes with three songs under three minutes in length. Indeed, "Balance Of Power" had the feel of a band signing off.
A brief history of ELO logos ...
Looking back, much as I loved "Balance Of Power" (the expanded 2007 remaster was, in my opinion, the best in the series), I can't help thinking that the change in image may have caught out the casual record (and cassette) buying public if not some ELO fans. If the album artwork had somehow retained the instantly recognisable ELO logo, one does wonder if both the album and singles would have been more commercially successful, even though ELO fans and collectors were treated to to 7" and 12" issues of all three singles - namely "Calling America" (A6844), "So Serious" (A7090) and "Getting To The Point" (A7317) - for the first time. Happily, both "Zoom" and "Alone In The Universe" saw the return of the traditional ELO symbology ... and long may it continue!

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 26-March-2017

Friday, 24 March 2017

SUPPORT IN THE UNIVERSE: TOM CHAPLIN & THE SHIRES

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It was duly confirmed earlier today (Friday 24th March) that Keane frontman Tom Chaplin and British country duo The Shires will "Follow Me Follow" in the footsteps of The Feeling and The Shoos in supporting Jeff Lynne's ELO during their four show arena and stadium dates in June and July later this year. Tom will perform at all four Summer gigs whilst The Shires will bolster the support roster for the outdoor stadium shows at Wembley Stadium and Hull.

Tom Chaplin is, of course, best known for his association with Brit pop/rock band Keane - who are currently on a break between albums. His debut solo album "The Wave" reached #3 in the UK Album Chart in October 2016. The Shires - who are Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes - started out back in 2013 and have enjoyed considerable chart success with their two studio albums to date: "Brave" and "My Universe" peaking at #10 and #3 respectively here in the UK, both also certified Gold. Both artistes are sure to add some musical variety to the Jeff Lynne's ELO shows in Sheffield (Wednesday 21st June), London (Saturday 24th June), Glasgow (Wednesday 28th June) and Hull (Saturday 1st July).

Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) will be seated in Block B4 for the Wembley Stadium gig and would love to meet any friends and/or followers of elobf on the day/night. See you there?

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 24-March-2017

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

NO GO ELO: BEV BEVAN TO MISS RRHOF INDUCTION EVENT

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! ELO co-founder Bev Bevan confirmed earlier today in a statement via his official Facebook page what we most likely expected in that he will not be joining Jeff Lynne, Richard Tandy and Roy Wood when the Electric Light Orchestra are (finally) inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame (RRHOF) next month on Friday 7th April.

Whilst Bev underlined his disappointment at not being able to be at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, he also echoed the thoughts of many ELO fans in calling specifically for Mik Kaminski, Hugh McDowell, Melvyn Gale and Kelly Groucutt to also be afforded recognition for their parts in the ELO story and thanked the many fans who have supported him throughout his career. Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) truly hopes that Roy Wood will be joining Jeff and Richard on stage on the night. In the meantime, here are Bev's words in full thus:

"Unfortunately I will not be able to attend ELO’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame due to the fact that I am on tour in the UK with another great friend of Jeff, Richard and Roy ... the legend that is ‘Jasper Carrott’. These dates have been sold out for sometime and when the news broke about our induction it was too late to change them. It would have been fantastic to meet up with Roy, Jeff and Richard again. I would also like to mention a few other names that I think should be recognised as part of what made ELO so magical - in particular Mik Kaminski, Hugh McDowell, Melvyn Gale and the late Kelly Groucutt. It truly is a great honour to be a part of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame especially when I see the names of the inductees over the years … many are my heroes, some I have had the honour to meet and others the privilege to share a stage with. I have been incredibly fortunate to have had a life in the music business from my first band ‘Rocking Ronnie & The Renegades’ to ‘Black Sabbath and all the bits in between including The Move, Denny Laine & The Diplomats, Carl Wayne & The Vikings, Quill, The Electric Light Orchestra, the Brum Rocks concerts, Stand Up & Rock and more … surrounded by great talented musicians. It has been a blast and I still get a buzz every time I walk out on stage. However, I would like to add that without the support of the record buying and concert going public my great career could never have happened. So a huge thank you goes out to everyone who has ever purchased a record that I played on or been to any of the concerts. Hope to see you soon at a gig somewhere. Cheers! Bev Bevan"
elobf suggested back in January that Bev was the least likely to attend the RRHOF ceremony ...

Sunday, 19 March 2017

REMEMBERING CHUCK BERRY

His name in Electric Light last year Chuck Berry ...
Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! It was John Lennon who said of Chuck Berry: "If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry!" ... and he was right. The man credited by many with both creating the Rock 'n' Roll genre with his hanging guitar riffs alongside the seminal classics "Roll Over Beethoven", "No Particular Place To Go", "Rock And Roll Music", "Sweet Little Sixteen", "Johnny B. Goode" and "Maybellene" sadly passed away yesterday (Saturday 18th March) at ninety years of age.
Rolling Over Beethoven: Chuck Berry, ELO and The Beatles
Fans of ELO and The Beatles are especially cognitive of the impact of Chuck Berry being as both The Fab Four and the Electric Light Orchestra are well known for their covers of "Roll Over Beethoven", both in the studio and, of course, in their live performances. You'll find it nestled nicely within "With The Beatles" and, of course, an eight minute plus rockin' stringed homage in ELO's second studio album "ELO II".

As with Leonard Cohen and The Rolling Stones in "Illusions In G Major" and The Beatles in "Shangri-La"ELO maestro Jeff Lynne also saw fit to pay tribute and thus enshrine the name of Chuck Berry within the lyrics to "Rockaria!" thus:

"And the orchestra were playin' all Chuck Berry's greatest tunes"

Hence the name Chuck Berry has always been synonymous with both ELO and The Beatles. It was during those legendary "Do It With The Light On" gigs in the US that the live reputation of ELO was cemented, rewarding them with a respectable #42 in the Billboard 100 (UA-XW173W) as well as a #6 hit in the UK (HAR5063). Both releases were backed by the Jeff Lynne penned "Queen Of The Hours", taken from ELO's debut long player.
"Roll Over Beethoven" will forever be a part of the ELO discography ...
"Roll Over Beethoven" remains the encore of choice whether it be for ELO, Jeff Lynne, the growing number of ELO tribute bands and/or the many ELO offshoots featuring former members. As recently as Friday night, "Roll Over Beethoven" was the rousing finale to an excellent Trembling Wilburys gig in Birmingham, once again emphasizing the legacy (and contribution) of this inspirational musician, songwriter and lyricist to The Beatles and ELO stories.

Farewell Chuck Berry - we dig your Rhythm and Blues.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 19-March-2017

Saturday, 18 March 2017

CAUGHT LIVE [3]: THE TREMBLING WILBURYS

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The Trembling Wilburys made their now annual pilgrimage to The Roadhouse in the ELO heartland of Birmingham last night (Friday 17th March) and proceeded (again) to take those assembled (including Yours Truly KJS) on a journey through not only the Traveling Wilbury cuts we all know and love but also a selection of songs by Jeff Lynne/ELO, George Harrison/The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty as well as a healthy roster of tunes by Roy Orbison.

Musicians and bands who focus their attention on The Traveling Wilburys - the ultimate super group of them all - are few and far between. This fact alone makes The Trembling Wilburys both unique and appealing to the fans and followers of not only The Fab Five but also each individual Wilbury and their extensive careers across various genres. Thirty one (31) songs were performed yesterday evening in a gig that lasted well over two hours starting with a fantastic octet of classics by The Big O sung magnificently and accurately by Dave Collison.

The remainder of the first set saw The Tremblers deliver stunning live reworkings such as "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Something",  "I Won't Back Down", "If Not For You" and an almost skifflesque "Hold On Tight". Thereafter, we were treated a second set including twelve Wilbury tunes with "Runaway" and "Roll Over Beethoven" aptly wrapping things up. The four vocalists on show - Dave Collison, Marko Laver, Glen Knowler and Andy McNish - all do a magnificent job when they combine their talents with guitar wizard Dzal Martin, keys maestro Howard Robin and founding percussionist Dave Stark to reproduce these collected Wilbury works - and it was no different last night. Highlights for me (and there were a few) were undoubtedly (if not already mentioned) "Tweeter And The Monkey Man" (just how does Andy McNish remember all those lyrics?), "Runaway" (acknowledging the contribution of Del Shannon), "Ooby Dooby" (Dzal's guitar solos were sublime all night but this one was memorable in its own right) and "Roll Over Beethoven" (merging the twin covers by ELO and The Beatles).

Whilst I continue to be amazed by the physical and aural likenesses of Glen Knowler to George and Dave Collison as Roy Orbison, it was also nice to see and hear more of Marko Laver and Howard Robin on display not forgetting that the drum work of Dave Stark makes him a more than fitting Ringo Starr or Jim Keltner. Indeed, if you want get an idea as to what a Wilburys concert might actually have sounded like, you should go see these guys yourself! 
The Trembling Wilburys performed: "Only The Lonely" ~ "Claudette" ~ "Working For The Man" ~ "Crying" ~ "In Dreams" ~ "Running Scared" ~ "Ooby Dooby" ~ "Pretty Woman" ~ "If I Needed Someone" ~ "Here Comes The Sun" ~ "If Not For You" ~ "Hold On Tight" ~ "Something" ~ "I Won't Back Down" ~ "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" ~ "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" ~ "You Got It" ~ "She's My Baby" ~ "Dirty World" ~ "Inside Out" ~ "Heading For The Light" ~ "Last Night" ~ "Rattled" ~ "Tweeter And The Monkey Man" ~ "Not Alone Anymore" ~ "Wilbury Twist" ~ "End Of The Line" ~ "Handle With Care" ~ "Runaway" ~ "Taxman" ~ "Roll Over Beethoven"
The Trembling Wilburys are: Dave Stark (Drums) ~ Dave Collison (Vox/Guitar) ~ Glen Knowler (Vox/Guitar) ~ Dzal Martin (Guitars) ~ Marko Laver (Vox/Bass) ~ Andy McNish (Vox/Guitar/Harmonica) ~ Howard Robin (Keyboards)

Find out more about The Trembling Wilburys and their gig dates via their official web site thus:


elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends The Trembling Wilburys to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff Lynne, The Traveling WilburysRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 18-March-2017

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

CHART TRAGEDY: ELO'S UK ALBUM CHART FAMINE

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! #1,250: One of the major surprises that Yours Truly KJS encountered after buying my first 7" record "Turn To Stone" (UP36313) in late 1977 and discovering ELO at the age of ten was that when I started to track back to their previous albums, I was amazed that neither "On The Third Day", "Eldorado" or "Face The Music" managed to trouble the Official UK Album Chart.

After a good start with their first two Harvest/EMI albums attaining #32 and #35 respectively and despite singles "Ma Ma Ma Belle" (#22), "Evil Woman" (#10) and "Strange Magic" (#38) all making the Top 40 - not forgetting that "Showdown" also reached #12 (although it was not originally a part of the UK release of "On The Third Day") - it really is quite astonishing that these ELO albums did not chart in their home country. Particularly disappointing was the fact that an edited version of "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" failed to make the UK Singles chart too.

Over in the United States,  the same albums was an ever improving performance in the Billboard 200 with "On The Third Day" attaining a respectable #52, "Eldorado" deservedly breaching the Top 20 in reaching #16 and "Face The Music" making the breakthrough into the Top 10, also receiving RIAA Gold certification. Doubtless this was the fruit of ELO's many extended tours in the US and their success would continue thereafter for several years.

Yet, back in the UK, despite their reputation for delivering fantastic gigs, ELO struggled in terms of album sales due in part to their change of record label from Harvest/EMI to Warner Bros. to Jet/Polydor and their concentration on the American market (whilst they remained with United Artists during that time). This tragedy was corrected (in a fashion) when all three albums eventually made the UK Album Chart in late 1978 as part of the boxed set "Three Light Years" (JETBX1) whilst managing to reach #38 in the wake of the amazing success of "Out Of The Blue" and those celebrated spaceship dates.
No ELO album failed to chart in the UK thereafter save for this trio (ironically) of ELO compilations: "ELO's Greatest Hits Volume Two" (1992)"Ticket To The Moon: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra" (2007) and "The Essential Electric Light Orchestra" (2011).

Looking back from here in Yours Truly 2017, it is still quite galling to think that the aforementioned Electric Light Orchestra studio albums failed to chart upon release in the UK - even their critically acclaimed concept masterpiece "Eldorado" was considered a commercial flop. Surprising ain't the word. Undeserved is the better adjective.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 15-March-2017

Monday, 13 March 2017

INSIDE THE BEATLES VINYL COLLECTION

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! A second official press release was received by Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) over the weekend on the subject of The Beatles Vinyl Collection, as heavily advertised recently on TV, radio and social media here in the UK. A video is now available to view featuring Sean Magee (the Abbey Road Mastering Engineer who cut the vinyl masters and oversaw the pressings of the new collection) as well as Beatles Historian and Radio Producer Kevin Howlett (who wrote the new Beatles Vinyl Collection magazines). The video (see below) contains brief interviews where The Beatles Vinyl Collection, the reason The Beatles' albums sound so good, the quality of the vinyl today versus that of 40 years ago and the importance of The Beatles' albums are discussed.

The strong bonds between The Beatles, the formation of The Electric Light Orchestra and the ensuing career of Jeff Lynne mean that the many fans of ELO are also followers of The Fab Four (and vice versa). elobf is pleased to confirm that the 23 album collection will include both "Anthology 1" and "Anthology 2" which, of course, include the Jeff Lynne produced singles "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love".

SEE ALSO: RECOMMENDED: THE BEATLES VINYL COLLECTION

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends The Beatles Vinyl Collection to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 13-March-2017