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'The Essential' : Electric Light Orchestra

Reviewing: Epic / Legacy 2003  |  Rating:
David Nesteby By David Nesteby on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 7 | Music Expertise:

Evil Woman (4:20) is the first song on this ELO essential must-have. Fifteen songs from what could be one of the best bands ever to play on earth. This is a very intense vibe that is created when I start the CD.

"Evil Woman', is one most of you have most likely heard. This was a top radio hit in 1975. Yes, this is one of my bands from childhood. They seemed to have had a way with being on the top a lot!

‘Do Ya' (3:44) is a beautiful stand out for people who were falling in love around the time of it's release in the summer of 1976. Back in those days, there was, less modernized structures and the views that we had then, let you appreciate this type of song much more respectfully. A picnic in the country woods was possible then. The good songs leave impressions as such.

This next title from 1974‘Cant get It out Of My Head' (4:22), is so much like the Beatles that my wife always nails me when this comes up on the radio. The orchestrated melody of this song, mesmerizes me like the Beatles do, and I find myself losing the ‘Who Is It game' for a favor. Yes, I lose favors a lot. I owe her 22 favors to date, and she loves to make me squirm, waiting for one to pop up. ELO is definitely the sound of the Beatles.

Again with ‘Mr. Blue Sky' (5:06), I am often nailed in the favor end. Any Beatles lover will appreciate this Beatles influenced, and aided band. Making its stand in 1977, this one flew when Star Wars was in the top of the entertainment news.

A great love song is next in the title, ‘Strange Magic' (4:05) from 1975. This song says it all about life. It's definitely a ‘Strange Magic' with the enjoyment of such magical lyrics and melody. I dig this old time song, and think it should be played on the radio 'Oldie' stations more often.

‘Livin' Thing' (3:33) is a summer 1976 spiritual, magical song if there ever was one that could get your attention. With a tad of the style of the Beatles, and a touch of Pink Floyd, this song reached airwave sensation and was heard many times daily for many weeks. I remember the bicentennial party that year, and I remember hearing this one that very explosive summer. I seem to remember fireworks.

‘Turn to Stone' (3:48) was a 1977 release that was also very radio static. It's climb was rapid and the days back then were awesome. I really was just getting into music then, and bands like this one give me good memories to share. I once built this wooden ladder roller coaster, and made my brother test it out. It was a disaster, and all I can remember was that ‘Turn To Stone' look that my brother had when he stood up. He was pail from having the wind knocked out of him. This is like the song. When the breath of your life is gone, you ‘Turn to Stone'.

One of my favorites from this collection is next in ‘Sweet Talkin' Woman' (3:48). My wife is making me some lunch, and guess from who she is going to get a kiss when she hands me my plate. Can you guess? 1977 was a good year for this popular classic legend.

A very exceptional piece that most hardcore music lovers will recognize is the ever beautiful ‘Telephone Line' (4:46), a 1976 bomb dropped on us ELO lovers. I do not think there is a better song to take the Lady by the waist and dance to. I enjoy this awesome work of art.

‘Shine A Little Love ‘ (4:42) is a good love song as well. It is a song about doing life over and over if we must. It is one of the higher tempo-slick beats that this band performed over the years. More of a song in the disco generation, the song was a blend of the classes. This release in 1979 was a top hit that I remember well in my young love hungry life (I'm going on 42).

‘Hold On tight' (3:06) was a 1981 song . It showed the world of exciting musicians, that this band was not going away without a fight. Long past the days of the Beatles sound and with a more frazzle to the beat, This one found itself contending with the Cars and that type of style. i did like it, but not that much.

‘Calling America' was a reach into the fast ex- hippie beat that many bands were pursuing in the mid-1980's. This 1986 release really sucked. I believe that this attempt at transition is what killed the band period. Yes, I finally found a few songs that got on my nerves. I think most like it like my wife does, but honestly, these last two could have avoided the rank of essential.

Of the few transitional songs that ELO did play that I appreciated, was the 1983 hit, ‘Rock And Roll is King', (3:16) That's all I can say, I was glad that they played something semi juicy.

My most favorite song from this band is next. It was ELO's peak year in 1979 when this awesome, ever lasting thriller was released. ‘Don't Bring Me Down' still has a place in today's music stations. Really close to Manfred Mann's ‘Like a Deuce', one-hit-wonder style, this song was about the pressure of being in the top. This band had many excellent bands in which it had to contend. It was this bands last great song from this era.

The final title is unlike all of the other songs written by Jeff Lynne. This one, was written by Chuck Berry. ‘Roll Over Beethoven' (4:36) was recorded in the fall of 1972. It was ferocious like that ‘Devil Went Down To Georgia' hit by the Charlie Daniel's Band. I dig it.

This CD was purchased at Hot Poop Records in Walla Walla for $16.99. It is simply a great collectors item for music lovers of all types. Enjoy your purchase should you add it to your collection. Peace!