Saturday, 18 April 2015

EYEWITNESS: ELO'S LIVE DEBUT @ CROYDON 1972

This early portrait of The Electric Light Orchestra is full of familiar faces ...
Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Two [2] days ago, ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] published an article entitled 43 LIGHT YEARS: CROYDON CONFUSION which reminded readers of the 43rd anniversary of the very first ELO gig on 16th April 1972 in Croydon whilst trying also to clarify exactly where that initial concert was played.

But little did I realize at the time that one of my acquaintances was one of the few paying punters in The Greyhound that night! I'm pleased to announce that James Harris has kindly given ELOBF permission to publish his amazing memories from the live debut of The Electric Light Orchestra thus:

"The day was Sunday 16th April 1972. Easter was early in 1972, falling on 2nd April. I had travelled from my home in Birmingham to Croydon to see what would become one of the greatest Rock bands of all time. The Greyhound [sometimes also known as The Fox at The Greyhound] was situated in Park Lane, Croydon and was literally just a stones throw from that other well known musical venue, The Fairfield Halls.

The gig was to promote the release of the first ELO album, released on 3rd December 1971 and also my birthday! I was literally 'over the moon' to find out that they had decided to release their first album on my birthday [it was also released in the US as "No Answer" in January 1972].

Being a 'Brum Beat' and local Birmingham band supporter, I had listened to the album continuously. Mostly re-playing "10538 Overture", "Mr. Radio", "Look At Me Now" and the almost hymnal "Whisper In The Night". I remember my parents and friends asking "What the hell is that noise?"  and when I explained who and what it was, they would just say "Oh!". There wasn't much difference between ELO and orchestral or big band music and it was all very experimental to say the least. The radio stations hadn't given it much airplay and record reviews were very thin on the ground with any that were available giving very differing views from mediocre to different. It didn't look very promising but, I soldiered on!

The hall appeared very large as only seven [7] people turned up, myself and six [6] others! I sometimes wonder what became of the other six! You had the enormous choice of many vantage points to view the group who outnumbered the audience by two to one!

The line-up for the gig was Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan, Bill Hunt [piano and horns], Wilfred Gibson [violin], Hugh McDowell [cello], Andy Craig [cello], Mike Edwards [cello] and Richard Tandy [bass].

They played an assortment of songs from the album, the order of which now escapes me. The sound was loud with a raw nervousness, fused with 'sawing cellos' from Andy Craig and the late Mike Edwards, whose gimmick was to use an orange or grapefruit to finger the strings whilst playing with the bow and sometimes wearing bizarre costumes. The string section were all classically trained musicians.

Back in its heyday, The Greyhound saw the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Who, David Bowie and Queen performing. Croydon had a thriving music scene and probably the most knowledgeable audiences as far as bands were concerned at the time. It was thought that "... if a band made it at The Greyhound, they'd made it!" [a quote from Howard Bossick, the former Greyhound owner].

At the Hyde Park gig in September 2014, Jeff announced that Richard Tandy had been with him for forty two [42] years. Having been a fan ever since their inauguration when Roy Wood announced the concept of The Electric Light Orchestra back in August 1970, I can cheerfully say that I've been with them for nearly forty five [45] years and that I've seen many changes to the band during that time with every album and single being different. I have loved every one and I am proud to have been a fan for all these years!" ~ James Harris, April 2015

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] wishes to extend very many thanx to James Harris for his fantastic recollection of that first live ELO spark, if not one of the most pivotal moments in rock history.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] universe ... KJS ... 18-Apr-2015

Thursday, 16 April 2015

43 LIGHT YEARS: CROYDON CONFUSION

Yours Truly KJS was just four and a bit years old at the time ...
Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Did you know that The Electric Light Orchestra [ELO] made their live debut in Croydon some forty three [43] years ago today on Sunday 16th April 1972? However, there does seem to be some "Confusion" in some quarters as to whether the host for ELO's first ever live outing was either The Greyhound or The [Old] Fox & Hounds or even The Fox at The Greyhound - according to one gentleman who was actually in the audience that night!
'Team Jeff' stated that ELO gig #1 was at The Fox & Hounds ...
"ELO IN PUB" ... but which one?
The Official Jeff Lynne Facebook page stated today that the gig was at The Fox & Hounds in West Croydon whereas several other sources - including Wikipedia, press tour adverts of the time [see below], personal recollections et al - state that The Greyhound is the widely accepted actual venue.
The Fox & Hounds as it is today ...
There have always been contrasting reports of that very first ELO gig out there in the ELO fan base but the press clip entitled "ELO IN PUB" [see above top] still brings a smile to my face as I imagine Roy Wood jumping from guitar to oboe whilst trying to avoid the many trip hazards on stage!
This press advert states that the Croydon gig on 16/04/72 was at The Greyhound ...
ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] wishes to extend a big "THANK YOU!" to Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy and the entire ensemble of ELO musicians then and now for birthing and/or contributing to such a magnificent band ... wherever that initial gig actually took place!

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] universe ... KJS ... 16-Apr-2015

Monday, 13 April 2015

JEFF LYNNE: APRIL DATE FOR HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME STAR

Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! In an official press statement released at 1900 GMT, it has been officially confirmed that ELO, The Move, The Idle Race and Traveling Wilburys maestro Jeff Lynne will finally receive his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday 23rd April 2015 at 1130 PDT [1930 BST].
ELOBF predicted the big announcement via Twitter a month ago ...
The prestigious award - to be bestowed a year later than previously thought - mirrors the honour given to the acclaimed songwriter, musician and producer in his hometown Birmingham during March 2014. Here is the text of the press release for you to peruse thus:

"The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that prolific singer, songwriter and producer Jeff Lynne will be honoured with the 2,548th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 11:30 a.m. PDT. The star in the category of Recording will be dedicated at 1750 N. Vine Street in front of the iconic Capitol Records building where the stars of Lynne’s friends and co-musicians The Beatles and Roy Orbison are cemented. “Jeff Lynne is one of the premier musicians of his time! With longevity and decades of his magical artistry, Lynne has captivated fans with his distinctive style and very memorable sounds," stated Ana Martinez, Producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremonies. "We are thrilled to add his name to our famed Walk of Fame next to his musical peers." Helping MC and Hollywood Chamber President/CEO Leron Gubler to unveil the star will be Tom Petty and Joe Walsh.

Born and raised in Shard End, Birmingham, England Lynne has been bringing music to fans in his home country and around the world for nearly four decades. He came to prominence as the leader and creative force of Electric Light Orchestra - better known by its initials, ELO. With ELO, he scored many hits throughout the 1970s, including "Can't Get It Out of My Head," "Livin' Thing," and "Don't Bring Me Down" to name a few. Lynne eventually went on to concentrate on production and songwriting work for fellow major stars, former Beatles Paul McCartney and George Harrison among them. He resurfaced as a performer in 1988, when he became a member of The Traveling Wilburys.

One thing that has made the past few years thrilling times for Jeff Lynne fans is that the man himself has been busy working in the studio - his natural environment - and increasingly onstage as well to bring Jeff Lynne’s ELO back to life for generations of fans all around the world. The love for Lynne's musical genius was vividly apparent in September 2014 when ELO headlined BBC Radio 2's Hyde Park festival, the first time in almost 30 years that they’d been on a festival stage. The 50,000 fans in attendance sang along in joyous rapture with every word. More than 800,000 people tuned in to BBC’s “Red Button” to watch the show.

Recently in 2015, during Lynne's surprise performance with Ed Sheeran at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, Lynne's contemporaries Paul McCartney and artists like Taylor Swift danced exuberantly in the aisles. Lynne's high profile Grammy Awards appearance came nearly a year to the day after his wildly acclaimed performance at the televised Grammy salute to The Beatles, at which Lynne took his rightful place honouring his heroes and friends as he performed alongside Dave Grohl, Joe Walsh and Dhani Harrison. This exciting re-emergence also coincided with Lynne’s music - both vintage and new - being featured prominently in director David. O. Russell’s acclaimed film “American Hustle.”

In his own powerful but humble way, Jeff Lynne has been making waves all over the world for most of his musical life - a fact memorably documented in the acclaimed 2012 documentary Mr. Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne & ELO. In 2012, Lynne returned to make waves all over again with Long Wave. Lynne’s extraordinary latest solo album found this remarkable artist recording some of the great popular songs that first inspired his lifelong and enduring love affair with popular music. The songs that Jeff Lynne revisited on Long Wave are some of the great songs that inspired him to go on to write his modern standards like, "Mr. Blue Sky," "Showdown," "Livin' Thing," "Do Ya," "Sweet Talkin' Woman" and "Telephone Line."

Long Wave arrived as Lynne was also bringing his fans Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra, an altogether stunning volume featuring new versions of his past ELO smashes. Electric Light Orchestra is one of the most remarkable success stories in rock history. ELO has sold over 50-million records worldwide, and continues to be a remarkably popular catalogue. Between 1972 and 1986, Lynne wrote and produced 26 Top 40 hits in the United Kingdom, and 20 Top 40 hits in the United States, including 20 Top 20 smashes in the UK and 15 Top 20 smashes in the U.S. The ELO catalogue continues to have tremendous impact in the 21st Century, and demonstrated powerfully so when the compilation All Over The World: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra was released in 2005, and became a Top 10 album hit in international markets including England.

Over the years, Lynne produced and collaborated with many of the greatest musical artists of all time, including Roy Orbison, Del Shannon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and The Beatles themselves. He has also collaborated with such contemporaries as Tom Petty and Joe Walsh, whose latest album Analog Man Lynne helped produce. Together with Harrison, Orbison, Petty and Bob Dylan, Lynne is a member of the Grammy award-winning Traveling Wilburys - a super group like no other. The undeniable fact is that with Electric Light Orchestra, Jeff Lynne brought the world a different sound that still sounds modern, relevant and great. Lynne is involved with such organisations as St. Jude Research Hospital, MUSICARES and H.E.A.R.T. [Helping Ease Abuse Related Trauma]." [end quote]

The event will be streamed live exclusively at www.walkoffame.com on Thursday 23rd April 2015 at 1130 PDT [1930 BST].
Here Is The News: More recognition for Jeff Lynne ...
ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] wishes to congratulate Jeff Lynne on the occasion of this well deserved award and the long overdue recognition of his stellar musical career.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] universe ... KJS ... 13-Apr-2015

RARE XANADU 10" PICTURE DISC TOPS RECORD COLLECTOR GUIDE

Record Collector magazine, April 2015 edition, issue #439, page #64 ...
Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! The latest edition of the superb Record Collector magazine includes an interesting feature article which lists their forty one [41] most collectible picture discs. And placed at the top of the heap is the 10" US promo picture disc of "Xanadu" by, of course, ELO and Olivia Newton-John from back in 1980. Regular visitors may recall that ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] have previously covered the sale of this ELO rarity on eBay on three [3] occasions [at the time of writing] within these articles thus:

ELOBF: RARE XANADU 10" PICTURE DISC SURFACES ON eBay [2012]
ELOBF: SECOND RARE XANADU 10" PICTURE DISC SURFACES ON eBay [2013]
ELOBF: THIRD RARE XANADU 10" PICTURE DISC SURFACES ON eBay [2014]

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends Record Collector magazine to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO & Jeff LynneThe MoveRoy WoodThe Idle RaceThe Beatles'Brum Beat' and all related artistes. With thanx to Steve Williams for the RC heads up!

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] universe ... KJS ... 13-Apr-2015

Sunday, 12 April 2015

RECOMMENDED: YOURS TRULY, 2095 [Brian Paone]

2015 must be the year of the ELO [and related artistes] book ...
Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! A few weeks ago, acclaimed US author Brian Paone contacted Yours Truly KJS here at ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] to talk about his new book entitled "Yours Truly, 2095" - a thought provoking novel adaptation of ELO's classic 1981 concept album "Time" - and another ELO related literary jewel to add to the growing ELOBF reading list! Brian assures me that his new book is full of ELO references including some 200 "Easter eggs" for fans familiar with the typology, symbology and lyrical content in the ELO universe.
"Yours Truly, 2095" author Brian Paone ...
"Yours Truly, 2095" by Brian Paone [ISBN 978-09913091-60] is scheduled for release as an eBook from Friday 1st May 2015 and as a paperback [with CD soundtrack] from Monday 1st June 2015 via Ingram. The paperback edition is presently available to pre-order for $15.00 [US only, at the time of writing] from the authors web siteELOBF will detail further pre-order links with amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and other reputable vendors shortly. The time travelling synopsis of the book makes it all the more a 'must buy' for the many fans and followers of ELO & Jeff Lynne:

"As a victim of a time-travel conspiracy, Jeff wakes up trapped in the year 2095. The only familiar face is J0; an unprecedented robotic copy of the wife he left behind in 1981. But can she be trusted? J0 could be the only key to unlock Jeff’s journey home, but it will require her to do something against her programming - something human. During Jeff’s perilous journey through the future, he will have to discover the truth about J0’s origins in order to uncover the reality of his own destiny. With a one-way ticket to the moon in his pocket, Jeff must race against the clock to seize his last chance to return home to his time. A time without hover cars, Justice Computers, and TeleSkins - a time over one hundred years ago ..." [end quote]

ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] endorses and recommends "Yours Truly, 2095" by Brian Paone to those enlightened folks who like: ELO & Jeff LynneRoy WoodThe Move'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] universe ... KJS ... 12-Apr-2015

Saturday, 11 April 2015

BRYAN ADAMS & JEFF LYNNE: NEW ALBUM ALMOST READY!

Bryan Adams is looking forward to his second best album ever ... with a little help from Jeff Lynne!
Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! In a recent interview with Richard Bienstock for Rolling Stone magazine, based largely around his hugely successful 1984 "Reckless" album and the ensuing 30th anniversary tour, Bryan Adams was asked an interesting question as to his next project - a new album of original songs produced by Jeff Lynne - as 'revealed' by ELOBF last year:

Rolling Stone: Looking forward, what do you have coming up after this tour?
Bryan Adams: I'm just about finished recording a new album. It's being produced by Jeff Lynne. I think it could be the best album I've ever made . . . next to Reckless, of course!

Source: www.rollingstone.com/music/features/bryan-adams-on-reckless-glory-days-one-dollar-contract-20150409

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] universe ... KJS ... 11-Apr-2015

CAUGHT LIVE [13]: THE ELO EXPERIENCE

The ELO Experience ... in "Midnight Blue" of course!
Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! Nearly six [6] months after last seeing The ELO Experience at Cannock, the thirty [30] mile trip to see them again at the compact and impressive Artrix Theatre in Bromsgrove last night was well worth the effort. Every seat in the house was filled as the Hull based septet reproduced the studio sound and, of course, the immense musical legacy of ELO & Jeff Lynne [not forgetting Chuck Berry!] to an appreciative and responsive audience.
The ELO Experience: "Can't Get It Out Of My Head"
Admittedly, my primary goal for the night was to witness "Out Of The Blue" album [and, of course, the second ELO EP] track "Across The Border" performed live for the first time but there were a couple more surprises in store for me in another slick performance by the band as they also delivered superb versions of "Midnight Blue" and "Tightrope" within their fantastic new set [at the expense, I think, of "Standin' In The Rain", "Big Wheels" and "Calling America"]. This was my thirteenth ELO Experience gig [some have seen more and many a few less!] but it was, ironically, lucky for me to be able to enjoy the craft of this great tribute act. If they're near you ... go see 'em folks!
The ELO ExperienceRolling Over Beethoven ...
Set list: "All Over The World", "Evil Woman", Telephone Line", "The Diary Of Horace Wimp", "Midnight Blue", "Xanadu", Can't Get It Out Of My Head", "Showdown", "Wild West Hero", "Across The Border", "Confusion", "Livin' Thing", "Prologue", "Twilight", "Sweet Talkin' Woman", "Tightrope", "Shine A Little Love", "10538 Overture", "Turn To Stone", "Last Train To London", "Rock 'n' Roll Is King", "Rockaria!", "Hold On Tight", "Roll Over Beethoven", ""Don't Bring Me Down", "Mr. Blue Sky"
The ELO ExperienceTaking a well deserved bow ...
The ELO Experience are: Andy Louis [Lead vocals/guitar], Steve Hemsley [Keyboards/vocals],
Pete Smith [Bass guitar/vocals], Jan Christiansen [Lead guitar/vocals], Tony Lawson [Drums],
Viv Blackledge [Cello], Clare Little [Cello] and Liz Stacey [Violin]

The ELO Experience continue to tour the UK extensively and you can view all their Tour Dates, sign their Guest Book and find out what they are currently up to via their official web site thus:


ELO Beatles Forever [ELOBF] recommends and endorses The ELO Experience to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO & Jeff LynneThe MoveRoy WoodThe Idle RaceThe Beatles'Brum Beat' and all related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] universe ... KJS ... 11-Apr-2015