Although ELO quickly became Jeff Lynne's baby, it was launched as a collaboration between Lynne and his bandmates in the Move, multi-instrumentalist Roy Wood, and drummer Bev Bevan. Indeed, the label on ELO's first album reads "Move Enterprises Ltd. presents the services of the Electric Light Orchestra," and most histories claim that the initial idea for the spin-off group combining rock and classical music was Wood's, not Lynne's. Wood and Lynne split the songwriting duties on Electric Light Orchestra, much as they did on late-period Move albums, but it seems like their visions of what ELO was were widely divergent. Wood's songs are clearly more classically influenced, with the string and horn sections driving the songs rather than merely coloring them, as they do on Lynne's tunes.
Jeff Lynne reportedly regards this album and its follow-up, Out of the Blue, as the high points in the band's history. One might be better off opting for A New World Record over its successor, however, as a more modest-sized creation chock full of superb songs that are produced even better. Opening with the opulently orchestrated "Tightrope," which heralds the perfect production found throughout this album, A New World Record contains seven of the best songs ever to come out of the group. The Beatles influence is present, to be sure, but developed to a very high degree of sophistication and on Lynne's own terms, rather than being imitative of specific songs. "Telephone Line" might be the best Lennon-McCartney collaboration that never was, lyrical and soaring in a way that manages to echo elements of Revolver and the Beatles without ever mimicking them.
Electric Light Orchestra's more modest follow-up to Eldorado is a very solid album, if not as bold or unified. It was also their first recorded at Musicland in Munich, which became Jeff Lynne's preferred venue for cutting records. At the time, he was also generating songs at a breakneck pace and had perfected the majestic, quasi-Beatles-type style (sort of high-wattage Magical Mystery Tour) introduced two albums earlier. The sound is stripped down a bit on Face the Music, Louis Clark's orchestral contributions generally more subdued than on Eldorado, even when they compete with the band, as on "Strange Magic." The soulful "Evil Woman" was one of the most respectable chart hits of its era, and one of the best songs that Lynne ever wrote (reportedly in 30 minutes), while "Strange Magic" showed off his writing in a more ethereal vein.
The 1992 Holland collection Definitive Collection isn't really definitive, of course – it's the kind of title common to budget-line discs or European and Asian-only compilations – but it is a good sampler of ELO's hits all the same, containing 19 songs, including many, many hits: "Showdown," "Can't Get It out of My Head," "Evil Woman," "Strange Magic," "Livin' Thing," "Turn to Stone," "Don't Bring Me Down," and "Rock N' Roll Is King."
Electric Light Orchestra's third album showed a marked advancement, with a fuller, more cohesive sound from the band as a whole and major improvements in Jeff Lynne's singing and songwriting. This is where the band took on its familiar sound, Lynne's voice suddenly showing an attractive expressiveness reminiscent of John Lennon in his early solo years, and also sporting a convincing white British soulful quality that was utterly lacking earlier. The group also plugged the holes that made its work seem so close to being ragged on those earlier records. "Showdown" and "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle" (the latter featuring Marc Bolan on double lead guitar with Lynne) became AM radio fixtures while "Daybreaker" became a concert opener for the group and, along with "In the Hall of the Mountain King," kept the group's FM/art rock credentials in order.
The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) are an English rock band formed in Birmingham in 1970, by songwriters/multi-instrumentalists Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood with drummer Bev Bevan. Their music is characterised by a fusion of Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements, and futuristic iconography. After Wood's departure in 1972, Lynne became the band's leader, arranging and producing every album while writing virtually all of their original material…
ELO Part II were a band formed by Electric Light Orchestra drummer and co-founder Bev Bevan. The band also included former ELO bassist Kelly Groucutt, and violinist Mik Kaminski for most of its career, along with conductor Louis Clark who toured as a guest with ELO in its later years. After Bevan left the band in late 1999, he sold his half of the rights to the Electric Light Orchestra name back to Jeff Lynne, and the band changed its name to The Orchestra. Electric Light Orchestra Part Two is an album released by ELO Part II in 1990. "Kiss Me Red" was originally from Cheap Trick's album, The Doctor. In March 1991 "Honest Men" charted at number 60 on the UK Singles Chart, and 36 on the Dutch Top 40 chart.