Friday, 23 June 2017

JEFF LYNNE'S ELO: NEXT STOP WEMBLEY!

Jeff Lynne's ELO @ Sheffield (Photograph courtesy of Kevin Wells)
The Jeff Lynne's ELO spaceship will be landing at the world famous Wembley Stadium in less than 48 hours and elobeatlesforever (elobf) will, of course, be there. By now, most folks will be aware that the 23 song set list from their Sheffield gig on Wednesday 21st June radically changed from that performed in Birmingham last June with four (4) songs dropped and no less than eight (8) songs added.

Yours Truly KJS has decided not to publish the song roster from Sheffield or the above noted changes so as to not spoil the surprise for those going to the show at Wembley on Saturday 24th June and/or Glasgow on Wednesday 28th June and/or Hull on Saturday 1st July. What elobf can say is that the London concert may include more songs and that a familiar ELO icon will make a return.

Yours Truly KJS will be nestled amongst the rows in Block B4 and it would be nice to meet some of the lovely people who perchance occasionally to visit (or even) read elobeatlesforever (elobf)Please say "Hi!" if you bump into me! An elobf review of the events at Wembley will be published by Monday (26th) latest.

JEFF LYNNE'S ELO: JUNE 2017 WEMBLEY DATE + TICKET DETAILS
HEADING FOR THE LIGHT: UK DATES BECKON FOR WILBURY TRIO
SUPPORT IN THE UNIVERSE: TOM CHAPLIN & THE SHIRES
JEFF LYNNE'S ELO: ONE WEEK TO WEMBLEY!

REGARDING RICHARD TANDY

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Jeff Lynne's ELO live at Sheffield, London, Glasgow and Hull to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Traveling Wilburys, The Beatles and related artistes. See you there?

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 23-June-2017

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

REGARDING RICHARD TANDY

The initials RT to most folks these days mean 'retweet' but to followers of the Electric Light Orchestra they refer to Richard Tandy, the keyboard maestro who has been at the side of Jeff Lynne for well over four decades. His absence from ELO's recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame [RRHOF] induction in New York left many fans wondering as to the reason for Richard's non-attendance, particularly as no news has been forthcoming from 'official' channels since.
Recent photos from the Jeff Lynne's ELO practice sessions and even the odd picture from Chris Evan's Dine 'n' Disco fundraiser for BBC Children Need, held last Saturday (17th June) at Chewton Glen in Hampshire (not too far from their rehearsal studio in South East London) do not show RT in his familiar position by the side of Jeff. It therefore seems reasonable (without speculating) to consider the strong possibility that Richard may well not feature during the forthcoming quartet of EJLO dates at Sheffield, London, Glasgow and Hull.
Whilst elobeatlesforever (elobf) and the 70,000 fans expected at Wembley Stadium on Saturday would dearly love to see RT on stage, if he is indeed not there (for whatever the reason), Yours Truly KJS would like to wish Richard all the very best for the future, hoping that he'll be back alongside Jeff in the ELO spaceship soon.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 20-June-2017

Saturday, 17 June 2017

JEFF LYNNE'S ELO: ONE WEEK TO WEMBLEY!

Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) have been quietly counting down the days to the appearance of Jeff Lynne's ELO and friends at London's iconic Wembley Stadium on Saturday 24th June and their trio of dates in Sheffield, Glasgow and Hull via elobf @ Twitter for almost a year now so it was reassuring to (finally) collect the tickets for the Wembley show this morning, just seven days before what is likely to be one of the gigs of the year.

Jeff Lynne's ELO will, of course, be joined by Tom Chaplin (of Keane fame) for all four dates with The Shires also on the bill at Wembley and Hull for the 2017 leg of the "Alone In The Universe" UK tour. Whilst special unannounced guests might be revealed during the tour, we should not expect to see Jeff's Wilbury brothers Tom Petty and Bob Dylan as they are both currently on tour in the United States and/or Canada.
Yours Truly KJS (and by extension elobf) will be there too, nestled amongst the rows in Block B4. It would be nice to meet some of the lovely people who perchance occasionally to visit (or even) read elobeatlesforever (elobf). Please say "Hi!" if you bump into me! See you there?


elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Jeff Lynne's ELO, Tom Chaplin and The Shires live at Sheffield, London, Glasgow and Hull to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Traveling WilburysThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 17-June-2017

Friday, 16 June 2017

ELO: THE BURBANK YEARS

Between their two year tenure on EMI's Harvest Records imprint from 1971-73 and the beginning of their long association with Jet Records from 1975 onward, the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) - and, of course, Wizzard - were signed to Warner Bros. Records in the UK. Yet their time on WB and its famous palm tree lined Burbank label marked something of a downturn in both of their fortunes. The botched exit of Wizzard from Harvest to Warner Bros. during the release of "I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday" in late 1973 quite probably cost it a place at the chart summit alongside Slade and was sadly a sign of things to come.

ELO had enjoyed reasonable album chart success in UK with Harvest with their first two albums reaching #32 and #35 and their first three singles "10538 Overture", "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Showdown" attaining #9, #6 and #12 respectively (The Move also charting regularly with "Tonight", "Chinatown" and "California Man"). However, the first ELO release on WB, the gatefolded "On The Third Day" (K56021) failed to chart with lone single "Ma Ma Ma Belle" (K16349) managing a modest #22 in the singles chart. Even more disappointing was the fact that their much cherished fourth album, their second Warner Bros. release: "Eldorado - A Symphony by The Electric Light Orchestra" (K56090) also failed to chart in their home country as did a foreshortened single edit of "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" (K16510).

Yet, whilst their chart performance here in the UK was stalling, the opposite could be said of their fortunes in the US as a Jeff Lynne led ELO reaped the benefit of the "Do It With The Light On" campaign, relentless touring and their staying with LA based United Artists Records during the same period. Indeed, both "On The Third Day" and "Eldorado" made the Billboard 100 (at #52 and #16), the latter earning ELO their first gold disc whilst the dreamy "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" peaked at an impressive #9 in the US Top 10. The contrast between their growing popularity in the States and their home audience being somewhat unappreciative was stark.

Hoping to build upon their growing reputation as a live act, ELO's concert at Long Beach Auditorium was recorded on Sunday 12th May 1974 and was intended to follow the release of "On The Third Day" but was deemed of insufficient quality to be released in the both the UK and US. "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)" did eventually find release in Germany via Warner Bros. (WB56058) becoming a much sought after import for avid ELO fans - including Yours Truly KJS! Interestingly, three tracks from the abandoned live LP: "10538 Overture", "Daybreaker" and "Showdown" ended up as the 'B' sides to "Evil Woman" (JET764), "Nightrider" (JET769) and "Strange Magic" (JET779), the trio of singles taken from "Face The Music" (JETLP11), after ELO had jumped label again here in the UK and Europe to Jet Records. A repackaged "The Night The Light Went On" finally saw official release in the UK in 1985 via Epic Records (EPC32700).
 Whilst the Ardens concentrated on ELO's American adventures and the rich rewards, their focus and commitment to Wizzard was seemingly inversely proportional. Despite that, Roy Wood still delivered hit singles in the UK before he too switched to Jet Records and found chart success as elusive as ELO had with Warner Brothers. Yet, even with Top 40 hits in "Evil Woman" and "Strange Magic", it took until "A New World Record" in 1976 for ELO to fully find favour with the UK record buying public. If nothing else, ELO's commercial struggle on Warner Bros. served as a remarkable demonstration of the differing markets on either side of the Atlantic. The rest, they say, is history ...

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 16-June-2017

Saturday, 10 June 2017

RECOMMENDED: MOONRAKER (Gary Frenay)

You may recall that Gary Frenay has been featured here on elobeatlesforever (elobf) not least due to his being a co-founding member of The Flashcubes as well as a renowned musician in his own right. Gary contacted Yours Truly KJS this week on the subject of his contribution to a new album of James Bond themed covers entitled "Bond, Bond Songs" compiled by Andrew Curry, the man who brought us "Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock" back in 2013.

And, after tackling the immense songbook of Roy Wood with his fellow Flashcubes in their 2012 long player "Sportin' Wood", Gary has now recorded a sublime version of "Moonraker" for the newly released Bond album which oozes the Traveling Wilburys sound with a dab of George Harrison, a touch of Roy Orbison and the production values of Jeff Lynne, thanks to fellow Flashcube Tommy Allen thus:

"Moonraker" by Gary Frenay and "Bond, Bond Songs" can purchased in digital or limited edition 2CD format via these links thus:

currycuts.bandcamp.com/album/songs-bond-songs-the-music-of-007
store.cdbaby.com/cd/songsbondsongsthemusicof

You may also enjoy reading these elobf articles featuring Gary Frenay thus:

REVIEW: SPORTIN' WOOD [The Flashcubes]
INTERVIEW: GARY FRENAY [The Flashcubes]
REVIEW: FILE UNDER POP VOCAL [Gary Frenay]

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Moonraker" by Gary Frenay and "Bond, Bond Songs" to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat', The Traveling WilburysThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 10-June-2017

Friday, 9 June 2017

VINYL STORY: ELO'S AA SIDE SINGLES

Aside from coloured vinyl, picture discs and 10"/12" singles, one of the marketing techniques invented when single sales were king was the release of double 'AA' sided singles. Instead of the usual 'A' side backed by an obscure (or even familiar) 'B' side, casual record buyers and avid fans were treated to a double whammy making such releases attractive, particularly if they were following successful lead singles in promoting healthy album sales. It therefore came as no surprise to see Jet Records issue two 'AA' side singles in the UK when ELO were at their commercial peak.

Released as the fourth single from ELO's first UK #1 LP "Discovery" following the Top 10 trio of "Shine A Little Love" b/w "Jungle" (SJET144), "The Diary Of Horace Wimp" b/w "Down Home Town" (JET150) and "Don't Bring Me Down" b/w "Dreaming Of 4000" (JET153), the policy worked when "Confusion" and "Last Train To London" (JET166) were twinned together to peak at #8, confirming ELO as one of the biggest selling artistes of 1979, even challenging the supremacy of ABBA.
ELO's second 'AA' single came along following in the wake of their second #1 UK album "Time" in late 1981 in slightly different circumstances. Lead single "Hold On Tight" b/w "When Time Stood Still" (JET7011) was a smash hit peaking at #4 thanks partly to its then budget busting promo video. Both record company and fans both expected second single "Twilight" (JET7015) to also do well but were disappointed when it stalled at #30 despite being backed with the previously unreleased "Julie Don't Live Here". Jet duly rolled out "Ticket To The Moon" and "Here Is The News" (JET7018) as ELO's second 'AA' single (also as a highly desirable 12" picture disc), resulting in a significantly better chart placing of #24. Fourth single "The Way It's Meant To Be" b/w "Wishing" (JET7021) sadly failed to chart signalling the ebbing of ELO's stellar UK singles career.
Unofficial AA: "21st Century Man" was twinned with "Twilight" in France ...
Interestingly, "21st Century Man" and "Twilight" (JET808) were also paired together by Jet in France. Although not specifically described a 'AA' single on the sleeve or label, the release is essentially that although the run-out groove for "Twilight" does state "JET 808 B". One can only wonder what might have happened if "21st Century Man" had been released as a single in the UK, particularly as it is still regarded by many as Jeff Lynne's poignant tribute to John Lennon following his tragic death in November 1980.


Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 09-June-2017

Monday, 5 June 2017

REVIEW: HOW MUCH MORE? (Ivory Tower Project)

The amazing art of Ed Unitsky adorns the sleeve for the new Ivory Tower Project album "How Much More?"
It's been the best part of a decade while since Ivory Tower Project released their last album "Red Hot" (reviewed here by elobf back in 2012). Essentially the musical vehicle of NYC musicians Mark Regula and Tony Novarro (in the lyrical liaison with the late Johnny Jace), their latest recording "How Much More?" really is a tour de force encompassing a variety of music styles around a core theme of classic American AOR.

There's an eighties flavour here with dance orientated mixes of five tracks from "Red Hot" including a phenomenal funky remix of "Burning" alongside nine new wonderfully crafted guitar driven songs, the majority of which are highly impressive rockers with a sprinkling of ballads plus the sublime instrumental "Surf Song" (see video below) and the rather funky "Woman Of The Times". At times you are listening to a reinvention of classic American rock before being taken on a journey back to the days of extended 12" remixes or an adventure through inspired guitar solos that shout out "Prog Rock!". Yet what has endeared me to this record is the way it combines those qualities under the umbrella of what is essentially a soft rock MOR album with added complexities crammed into almost seventy minutes.

"... an album ... that is a credit to their talent and creativity."

Highlights for me include the epic title track and opener "How Much More?" (replete with almost the last lyrics written by Jace before his passing in 2003), the anthemic "When Friends Become Lovers" (another example of Tony Novarro's excellent guitar licks), "Please Tell Me" (a showcase for Mark Regula's smooth, soulful vocals), the immensely likeable "Woman Of The Times" and (of course) "Surf Song" - a retro sixties instrumental yielding yet another musical surprise. "How Much More?" is a confirmation that the journey that Ivory Tower Project had made through multiple personal tragedies has been worth it. Both Mark Regula and Tony Novarro have put together an album to not only justify their faith in the project but also something that is a credit to their talent and creativity. "How Much More?" by Ivory Tower Project is released worldwide on Tuesday 6th June. A pleasure to listen to and review. (9/10)

Trax (68:02): [01] "How Much More?" (6:35) ~ [02] "The Ides Of March (Et Tu Brute?)" (7:21) ~ [03] "Gotcha" (Full Length Remix) (5:56) ~ [04] "Ring Around Rosie" (3:39) ~ [05] "Way Too Late" (Full Length Remix) (3:52) ~ [06] "Always" (4:52) ~ [07] "When Friends Become Lovers" (3:36) ~ [08] "Please Tell Me" (4:11) ~ [09] "Woman Of The Times" (5:03) ~ [10] "Burning" (Full Length Remix) (4:52) ~ [11] "Surf Song" (2:58) ~ [12] "You Can See It In My Eyes" (Remix) (4:13) ~ [13] "Le Dare Un Anillo A Rosi" (3:29) ~ [14] "My Name" (DJ Distortion Remix) (7:25)

Ivory Tower Project are: Mark Regula (Vox, keys, acoustic guitars, percussion, bass, drums) and Tony Novarro (Guitars, backing vox, bass, drums, percussion, engineering). You can find out more about Ivory Tower Project and/or buy "How Much More?" in CD and/or digital formats via these links thus:


elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "How Much More?" by Ivory Tower Project to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 05-June-2017