OTG's Top Ten - 2007 Electric Light Orchestra Reissues
The Electric Light Orchestra reissue campaign wraps up with an odd pair: The band's commercial peak (Out Of The Blue) and their
swansong (Balance Of Power).
Out Of The Blue
ELO's commercial high point came, ironically enough, in the form of a
double album released in 1977, the "Summer Of Punk" in Britain.
Out Of The Blue had hits like "Turn To Stone" and "Sweet
Talkin' Woman", experimentation (the instrumental "The Whale"), and
gorgeous side-long suite titled "Concerto For A Rainy Day" which
culminates in the classic "Mr. Blue Sky". Essential.
The bonus tracks include an
interesting alternate bridge for "Wild West Hero", a brief
instrumental called "The Quick And The Daft", and a then-unfinished
track, "Latitude 88 North". Lynne finished off "Latitude 88 North"
for this release, and while it's not up with the hits on Out Of
The Blue, it's certainly a worthy addition.
"Turn To Stone", "It's Over", "Sweet Talkin' Woman", "Across The Border", "Night In The City", "Starlight", "Jungle", "Believe Me Now",
"Steppin' Out", "Standin' In The Rain", "Big Wheels", "Summer And Lightning", "Mr. Blue Sky", "Sweet Is The Night", "The Whale",
"Birmingham Blues", "Wild West Hero"
"Wild West Hero" [Alternate Bridge - Home Demo], "The Quick And The Daft", "Latitude 88 North"
Balance Of Power
Essentially a "commercial obligation" album, Balance Of Power
found ELO reduced to a trio with Jeff Lynne playing bass for the
departed Kelly Groucutt. Jeff Lynne wasn't particularly interested in
keeping ELO a going concern, and heck, even the cover art looks like
no-one cared. The strings are gone, leaving the hi-tech pop sound of
Time and Secret Messages to its logical conclusion.
Given the circumstances and the three year gap from its predecessor,
Secret Messages, it should have been terrible, but it's way
better than you'd expect. "Heaven Only Knows", "Calling America" are
pop songs worthy of the ELO name, and "Getting To The Point" is one
of Lynne's best ballads. Balance certainly isn't ELO's finest
work, but it's still worth a listen.
The bonus tracks for Balance Of Power include a radically
different (and excellent) version of "Heaven Only Knows", a very good
unreleased song "In For The Kill", along with some UK b-sides and
other alternate mixes.
"Heaven Only Knows", "So Serious", "Getting To The Point", "Secret Lives", "Is It Alright", "Sorrow About To Fall",
"Without Someone", "Calling America", "Endless Lies", "Send It"
"Opening", "Heaven Only Knows" [Alternate Version], "In For The Kill", "Secret Lives" [Alternate Take],
"Sorrow About To Fall" [Alternate Mix], "Caught In A Trap", "Destination Unknown"