The Electric Light Orchestra- The Electric Light Orchestra aka No Answer (1971), ELO 2 (1973)

When I was a kid, just getting into the idea of buying records, I became aware of the rather eccentric notion of Rock n Roll music being played on (rather than augmented by) 'classical' instruments.
I was drawn to E.L.O . To my immature ear organs this sounded like 'heavy 'rock music of the kind that the bigger lads were into, but there, sure enough, were strings and horns and bassoons.

Of course, by the mid seventies when they were one of the nations favourites (and absolutely huge in the States), E.L.O were a massive stadium act performing symphonic pop on a grand scale. I can almost imagine DLT listening to them on a thousand pound hi fi as he smoked his pipe in a million pound country house. Jeff Lynne's hair and aviator shades were as monumental as the band's ufo and laser stage shows.
By this time I was about 13 and had come to the conclusion that rock music was essentially about guitar, bass , drums, three chords, cut down on the pretence. E.L.O seemed like just the kind of dinosaurs that punk antithesised.
(I remember reading in the Record Mirror that A New World Record would stop the spread of punk in its tracks...).
So let's forget the operatic stadium days and look back at the early days of The Electric Light Orchestra .
E.L.O was essentially a side project to The Move, presided over by the arch druid of rock eccentricity, Roy Wood. Wood was keen to develop the classical theme away from the confines of a 'pop' group. Jeff Lynne (who saw himself as picking up where Lennon and McCartney had left off) ensured that E.L.O retained the English pop psychedelia of The Move and his earlier group, The Idle Race. Wood soon tired of the project, and during the recording of the second LP he stood down (leaving to form Wizzard) and Lynne became the supremo. The early work sees the strings and horn playing a much more central part in the songs, which at times are dramatic and sinister.

10538 Overture was an idea that Jeff brought along to the studio which was originally to be a Move track. After recording the basic backing track, the other guys went home, leaving Jeff and myself to run riot with the overdubs. At the time, I was very keen on collecting instruments, and had just acquired a cheap Chinese cello. After we had finished overdubbing the guitars, I sat in the control room trying out this cello and sort of messing around with Jimi Hendrix type riffs. Jeff said, 'That sounds great, why don't we throw it on the track.' I ended up recording around fifteen of these, and as the instrumentation built up, it was beginning to sound like some monster heavy metal orchestra. In fact, it sounded just Bloody Marvellous.

– Roy Wood (2006)

I had this guitar track, like a real big riff on a guitar. I laid it down in the studio and Roy Wood got his cello, his Chinese cello, and he overdubbed about fifteen cello riffs, just double tracking all the time-- and it sounded fantastic. We thought, it was like 'Wow!' and we just sat round playing it for days.

– Jeff Lynne (2006)

Roy Wood- guitars, bass guitar, cello, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, percussion, period woodwind instrument; krumhorn (as stated on original vinyl record sleeve), vocals
Jeff Lynne- guitars, bass guitar, piano, keyboards, vocals.
Bev Bevan- drums, percussion, vocals.
Bill Hunt- French horn, hunting horn.
Steve Woolam- Violin.

Jeff Lynne – vocals, guitar, Moog synthesizer
Bev Bevan – drums, percussion
Richard Tandy – keyboards, Moog synthesizer
Mike de Albuquerque – bass, backing vocals
Wilfred Gibson – violin
Mike Edwards – cello
Colin Walker – cello
Marc Bolan - guitar (tracks 10-12)
Roy Wood – bass, cello (tracks 1 and 4)


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