Xanadu (Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra song)

“Xanadu” is the title song from the soundtrack album Xanadu, and is the title song from the 1980 film of the same name. A rare collaboration for ELO, the song is performed by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and Olivia Newton-John. Newton-John sings the primary vocals, with ELO (Jeff Lynne) adding “parenthetic” vocals in the style of their other songs on the Xanadu soundtrack, along with providing the instrumentation.

The single reached number 1 in several countries, and was the band’s only UK number 1 single,[2] when it peaked there for two weeks in July 1980. The song peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.[3]

Wild West Hero

“Wild West Hero” is a song by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), and the closing track and third single from the album Out of the Blue. The song was written by lead singer Jeff Lynne. Melvyn Gale, normally the band’s cellist, provided the Western-style piano for this track.

It entered the UK Top 40 at No. 31 in June 1978 but fell to number 36 the following week. Thanks to a rush-release in 12″ format on yellow vinyl, its fortunes were reversed a week later, and within six weeks it had risen to a peak position of number 6.[1] Coincidentally this was also the highest UK position achieved by the group’s previous single, “Mr. Blue Sky”, and the next two, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and “Shine a Little Love”.

Twilight (Electric Light Orchestra song)

“Twilight” is a song by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), originally released on their 1981 album Time. The lyrics tell of a man who falls asleep while in a twilight state, where he imagines everything in his life that is going to happen to him. They contribute to the album’s overarching theme of time travel.[1]

It was the second single released from the album, peaking at number 30 on the UK Singles Chart and number 38 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Turn to Stone (Electric Light Orchestra song)

“Turn to Stone” is a 1977 song by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO).

The song is the opening track to the double album Out of the Blue. It was the first song released as a single from the LP. The single reached No. 18 in the United Kingdom charts[1] and spent twelve weeks on the chart. Out of four singles from the album, “Turn to Stone” was the only song not to reach the top ten in the United Kingdom singles charts. The song reached No. 13 in the United States[2] and number one in Canada in early 1978.

The song was composed in Switzerland during Jeff Lynne’s two week writing marathon for his double album. Lynne played the Moog bassline of the song.

On 4 November 2008, Lynne was awarded a BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) Million-Air certificate for “Turn to Stone” for having one million airplays.

Tightrope (Electric Light Orchestra song)

“Tightrope” is the opening track to A New World Record by Electric Light Orchestra.

Recorded in 1976 at Musicland, Munich, West Germany, the song features a dramatic orchestral opening before transforming into an upbeat rock song. Although never released as a single, the song was a fan favorite and was performed live at every ELO concert including the Zoom tour in 2001. It had been remastered in 2000 and included on the box set Flashback It is the opening number of set four on the 2016 Alone in the Universe tour.

Ticket to the Moon

“Ticket to the Moon” is a popular song written by Jeff Lynne and performed by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO).[1]

It was track four on the album Time (1981) and was released as a Double A along with “Here Is the News” in January 1982, reaching number 24 in the UK charts.[2] The song is somewhat reminiscent of their earlier output, featuring grand piano and more strings than their past few singles. Rainer Pietsch conducted the strings on the song. The promo video featured Mik Kaminski on violin.

The single was also released as a limited edition 12″ picture disc showing the ELO spaceship, The same image was later used as the sleeve design for the UK follow up single “The Way Life’s Meant to Be”.

The name was used for a compilation album in 2007, Ticket to the Moon: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra Volume 2.

The Way Life’s Meant to Be

“The Way Life’s Meant to Be” is a song written by Jeff Lynne and performed by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). The single peaked at number 30 on the German Media Control Singles Chart.[1]

The song is track five on the 1981 album Time and was the last track to be released as a single from the album in the UK. It starts with gentle violins, and continues with flamenco-like guitar playing, and castanets. The south Mediterranean sound continues throughout the vocal and choiring on the refrain.

It was the first single since “Nightrider” in 1976 that failed to chart in the UK. The B-side was “Wishing” taken from the Discovery album. The song was recorded at the Polar Studios in Stockholm, unlike the majority of the songs of the album that were recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich.

“              It seemed to be [a pessimistic view] on that song. Yeah, well, and absolute that song… He’s walking down the same street that it was before, like say a hundred years before. But uh, even though he’s on the same bit of ground, everything that he knew is, like, buried under this new shit, y’know, that’s growing up… on top of it, all these plastic towers and stuff. Ah, the castanets. It was a bit Russian but we put castanets on it and it became Spanish.               ”

— Jeff Lynne (1981 – Interview with Jim Ladd)

The Diary of Horace Wimp

“The Diary of Horace Wimp” is the fourth track on the Electric Light Orchestra album Discovery, written by Jeff Lynne.

Released in 1979 as a single, the song is Beatlesque in nature and became a Top Ten hit in the UK and Ireland. The lyrics describe a week in the life of a repressed man who nevertheless overcomes his shy nature with the help of “a voice from above.” The day Saturday is omitted – this is because, as explained by Jeff Lynne: “The football match is played on a Saturday”.

The music video references Citizen Kane in its ending, showing a closeup of Jeff Lynne saying “Horace Wimp,” echoing Orson Welles’ character in the film saying “Rosebud” as he dies.[1][2]

Telephone Line (song)

“Telephone Line” is a song by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO).[2]

The song is track two on their 1976 album, A New World Record, and was the final single to be released from the album until September 2006, when “Surrender” was released from the expanded reissue of the album. It became their biggest single success in the US and was their first UK gold award for a single. With ELO’s continuing success in America it seemed obvious to Jeff Lynne to use an American ring tone during the song.”[3] Writer/guitarist, Lynne explained:

To get the sound on the beginning, you know, the American telephone sound, we phoned from England to America to a number that we know nobody would be at, to just listen to it for a while. On the Moog, we recreated the sound exactly by tuning the oscillators to the same notes as the ringing of the phone.

The song charted in the Top Ten in both the UK and the US, peaking at number 8 in the UK[4] and number 7 in the US.[5] The tune was on the Hot 100 for 23 weeks, nearly a full month longer on that chart than any other ELO tune. Billboard ranked it as the No. 15 song of 1977.[6] In 1977, the song would reach number 1 in New Zealand and Canada. “Telephone Line” and Meri Wilson’s “Telephone Man” were back-to-back on Hot 100’s top 40 for two non-consecutive weeks in the summer of 1977.[7]
As was the norm, many ELO singles were issued in different colours, but the US version of this single was the only green single ELO issued. It became the band’s first single to achieve Gold sales figures.

Sweet Talkin’ Woman

“Sweet Talkin’ Woman” is a 1978 song by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) from the album Out of the Blue. Its original title was “Dead End Street”, but it was changed during recording, perhaps to avoid confusion with a 1966 hit of the same title by The Kinks. Some words that survived from that version can be heard in the opening of the third verse, “I’ve been livin’ on a dead end street”.[1]

The track became the third top ten hit from the LP in the UK, peaking at number 6.[2] As a novelty, initial copies of the 12″ and 7″ formats were pressed in transparent purple vinyl.

The version released in the United States was 10 seconds shorter than its British counterpart due to a slightly faster mix. In the US, it reached number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100.[3]

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