Symphonic Electric Light Orchestra 71-79 (2 hours of music)

Another show by request from a 22 year old listener who has just discovered the magic of classic ELO.

Producers note: This program is by request from Donna, 22, who is living in a sober housing program in Indianapolis, IN, and recently celebrated 9 months free from methamphetamine. She has discovered the band after receiving the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 soundtrack as a gift and fell in love with the first track, and said she wanted to hear more. Yeah, doing this program can be pretty amazing sometimes.

"(Dad) stuck his head in the pipe. And he goes (imitates rising notes), “Ah, ah, ah, ah …” And it echoed into this great big chord. And I went, “Wow, that’s fantastic!”...he taught me the major scale and how to do harmony in one little pipe lesson." – Jeff Lynne on how his father encouraged him with a simple yet effective music lesson.

The Electric Light Orchestra (aka ELO), were founded in 1971 in Birmingham, England (home of many heavy rock acts like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest). The three were also members of the British rock band The Move: Bev Bevan on Drums, Roy Wood on guitars and vocals and Jeff Lynne on vocals and pretty much everything else not related to a classic stringed instrument. While The Move were still a commercially viable singles act on the charts, the three founders decided to attempt something altogether different: use equal parts 1950's Black Rock and Roll (think Chuck Berry and Little Richard), Classical elements that drew from the Romantic period utilizing Baroque time constraints, then wrap the whole thing up in psychedelic-era Beatles with Beach Boys like harmonies.

What helped the band from the get-go was Lynne, who had been creating his own little pop masterpieces since a teenager in his parents home with a (now primitive) multi-track recorder and teaching himself how to play about a half dozen instruments. Wood grew tired of both ELO and The Move and formed a brand new outfit, Wizzard, in 1972, just prior to the release of ELO's second album. This left Lynne the sole guiding force in ELO, something he initially was not ready for. However, he rose to the challenge, employing a full-time bass player in Mike de Albuquerque and another guitarist in Richard Tandy, as well as an assorted group of classical players in brass and strings. Amazing advances had been made in studio technology in the early 1970's, and in spite of looming deadlines with annual album releases, Lynne was able to craft some of the best sounding and best engineered records of the decade.

The original line-up of ELO, from 1972. Photographer unknown, courtesy of Sony/BMG. (l-r) Bev Bevan, Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. BTW, none of them played the instruments they are picturted with here.

The band were also not afraid to utilize new electronic equipment, like the Moog synthesizer. Lynne was also becoming more confident as a songwriter, with several themes immediately emerging: one of them was water in its many forms; the other was a lyrical romanticism that focused on themes of loss, longing and the supernatural power of love. They bucked trends by crafting side-long suites of music that didn't drag or end up in endless guitar noodling like their progressive rock contemporaries by even making their singles sound like complete mini-symphonies filled with a sense of drama and excitement, complete with sing-along choruses.

By 1979, the songs were becoming less dependent on the violins and cellos and classical elements that gave ELO's brand of Pop music a special type of sparkle and class during this period. Relieve a truly magical time from a group that still believed that few things are better in life than living them, especially when your favorite song comes over the speakers in your car, through your headphones, at a visually dynamic live show or at your Senior Prom.

HQ Audio only for the first time. Each half hour is broken down into individual segments, with each available for free download or stream.

Our tracks this week: Title, Year, Album Source

First Hour
First Part
1. Fire On High, 1975, Face the Music
2. Eldorado Overture, 1974, Eldorado
3. Can't Get It Out of My Head, 1974, Eldorado
4. Evil Woman, 1975, Face the Music
5. Jungle, 1977, Out of the Blue
6. Showdown, 1973, On The Third Day

To download this program, click here.

Second Part
7. Turn To Stone1977, Out of the Blue
8. Ocean Breakup/King of the Universe, 1973, On the Third Day
9. New World Rising/Ocean Breakup (reprise), 1973, On the Third Day
10. Shine a Little Love, 1979, Discovery
11. Livin' Thing, 1976, A New World Record
12. Nellie Takes Her Bow, 1971, UK: Electric Light Orchestra/US: No Answer

13. Telephone Line, 1976,   A New World Record

To download this program, click here.

Second Hour
First Part
1. Nightrider, 1975, Face the Music
2. Summer and Lightning, 1977, Out of the Blue
3. Mr. Blue Sky, 1977, Out of the Blue
4. Sweet Talkin' Woman, 1977, Out of the Blue
5. Kuiama, 1972, original from ELO 2/edited version from Ole ELO

To download this program, click here.

Second Part
6. Boy Blue, 1973 On the Third Day 
7. Mr. Radio, 1971, UK: Electric Light Orchestra/US: No Answer
8. The Diary of Horace Wimp, 1979, Discovery
9. Strange Magic, 1975, Face the Music
10. Ma-Ma-Ma Belle, 1973, On the Third Day

11. Do Ya, 1976, A New World Record

To download this program, click here.

Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
Ace of Spades PDX

“Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for 'fair use' for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use."

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