Classic Rock: ELO Fans - What say you?

I never really explored ELO beyond their hits, but the few CDs I picked up are really, really disappointing. I heard I should get “Out of the Blue”, so I did. It is lame. What happened to their orchestral sound, like “Can’t Get It Out of My Head”? It seems it devolved into too much electro-generated mush (i.e., overuse of that voice synthesizer, etc.) Overall, I don’t understand how a band can produce such great songs across their career…and yet generate many albums where they seem to be endlessly looking to find their sound. Yet, they found it - twice! (Orchestral or synthesized*) Last, did Jeff Lynn call the shots and eventually ruin the band?

*if not overdone

ELO was a huge band with some great singles, but I’ve just never been a Jeff Lynne fan. My recommendation: go backwards in time and investigate The Move instead. Lynne and Roy Wood balanced each other out nicely before ELO came along. I think Looking On would be a good place to start.

I greatly enjoy everything from “The Third Day” until “Time”

I got their first two albums, which were patchy some good some bad, but not startlingly cutting edge and after that I left them. They just got too predictable.

I would suggest you look at The Move, but you would be disappointed with ‘Message from the Country’ just as I was. Side 1 is ok but side 2 is not.
I got their first album, obviously late 1960’s but I liked it at the time.

Without Lynne, Traveling Wilburys would have been better, he stepped all over some Tom Petty stuff too IMO.

Big ELO fan here. Yes, the band moved more towards synths, and away from the dominance of the strings, as time went on.

The first album (which is a lot of Lynne and Roy Wood experimenting) is very uneven; the second one (when they brought in actual classically-trained musicians) is somewhat better. I concur with Dale Sims; albums from “On the Third Day” (the third album) to “Time” are all very good. However, if you don’t like “Out of the Blue”, you’re not likely to enjoy their albums after “Eldorado”. That said, I’m a little surprised-- you like their hits, but don’t like “Out of the Blue”, which was from the peak of their popularity. “Can’t Get it Out of My Head” (which you like) was one of their early hits.

After “Time” (1981), Lynne (who was absolutely the leader of the group) wanted to move on to other things, but he was contractually obligated to deliver two more albums. Once he’d done that, he broke up the group.

My first ELO album was “Time” (1981), and I still love that one. Probably because I picked it up during a major formative period in my life. I since have owned “Secret Messages” (1983) and “Out of the Blue” (1977). And I agree with the OP for those. Beyond the hit singles I don’t really care for “Out of the Blue” and rarely listen to it. But I listen to “Time” frequently.

But, then again, I think there are many groups and albums that I feel that way about.

I’m a big fan of Discovery. Yes, it’s shameless disco, but it’s amazingly awesome disco. And the album ends with one of their best straight-up rock songs, “Don’t Bring Me Down” which isn’t disco at all.

Someday I need to investigate their earlier works, which I have only passing familiarity with.

My favourite is “A New Word Record.” There’s a handful of good stuff on “Out of the Blue” but, for me, it feels like there’s a lot of filler material. If it was cut down to a single album I think it would have been better.

I also like “Discovery” although I really don’t like disco at all. This is just rocky enough to avoid being disco, for me at least.

You know…I have just never seen/heard the disco angle. Maybe because Lynne’s work is so “Lynne”…that it overpowers disco. I just hear ELO, not disco.

I stand by what I said in the last ELO thread we had (What do we think of ELO, do we like them?)

I like Out Of The Blue although it may just be nostalgia as it was one of the first 8-track tapes I bought. I don’t listen to this album often, but it has several songs that I still like to hear sometimes, Turn To Stone, Sweet Talkin’ Woman, Starlight, Jungle, Steppin’ Out, Standin’ In The Rain, Mr. Blue Sky, and the instrumental The Whale.

Also, Jeff Lynne not being in the Rock and Roll HOF is a travesty. ELO alone should get him in, add being a great producer (IMO) and it’s not even close.

edit: And if we want to name best singles, I’d go with “Telephone”. Gets me every time.

For me, the block of albums from “Face the Music” through “Discovery” are the band at their best, though I listen to all of their albums regularly. My favorite continues to be “Face the Music” – eight tight little songs, showing the band’s range, from rocking (Evil Woman, Poker, Fire On High) to quiet and emotional (Strange Magic, One Summer Dream).

I’m a big fan of ELO (their ‘Out Of The Blue’ tour was the first rock concert in an arena I ever saw), and I think that Lynne did a great job with the band’s albums when they were current. True, some of the cuts were weaker, and lacked consistency between releases and even from track to track on the same album at times, but overall a solid band from the end of the prog rock era.

However, I take offense that he made Dave Edmunds, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan (solos and Traveling Wilburys) sound like ELO. I found that to be unforgivable. Even more so that the albums he produced for those guys ended up being the best selling ones of their individual catalogs. Sometimes there ain’t no justice.

You think The Traveling Wilburys sound like ELO?

I never could figure out why Lynne was in The Traveling Wilburys.

I could never figure out why Orbison was in The Traveling Wilburys.

Assuming that this isn’t just a whoosh…the Wilburys were an accidental group.

Lynne was producing Cloud Nine for George Harrison (and was also working with Roy Orbison on Mystery Girl). Harrison decided to cut a new song to use as a B-side for the single release of “This Is Love”, and asked Lynne and Orbison to appear with him on the song. When Harrison went to Tom Petty’s house to pick up a guitar that he’d left there (to use on the new song), Petty asked if he could participate, as well. The four of them wound up recording the song (which was “Handle With Care”) at Bob Dylan’s house, and Dylan also participated.

They all decided that the song was too good to use as a B-side, and agreed that they had a lot of fun working together on the song, so they decided to put together an album.

Yeah. I came in to say that. Except neither was an album band.

I thought Orbison was there because he was Roy Orbison and the rest were paying homage to their master.