Electric Light Orchestra - Out of the Blue
Formed with the idea of fusing rock and classical music, the sprawling, platinum selling double album, Out of the Blue, is perhaps the pinnacle of that attempt. Driven by Jeff Lynne, the ELO achieved their biggest success with Out of the Blue, the spaceship imagery dovetailing nicely with the Star Wars fever at the same time. Many copies even came with a carboard cut out spaceship mobile to amuse your friends and babies with.
Personall, not being overly conscious at the time my first contact with ELO was in the late 80's and came mainly from the later album, Discovery, which indedd was a play on the words Disco and Very.
Out of the blue is a very different beast. It has songs that are pop, songs that are rock and songs that are perhaps progressive leaning(The Whale). All the time, we have masterful sweeps of orchestral arrangements in, around and forming the basis of different songs.
I think today, the album is taken less than seriously due to its light hearted approach to subject matter. A joyous ode to good weather, Mr. Blue Sky is its best known moment and is covered to perection by one of my other favourite bands, The Divine Comedy. There is another song called Jungle, which lyrically has the animals of the jungle singing in chorus about the wonder of our beautiful planet.
There are more straight ahead rockers like the splendid opener, Turn to stone, Sweet talkin' woman, and the ending Birmingham Blues. There are ballads like Its over. For some reason there is an overdose of falsetto on the record. Most of the choruses are sung by men singing in this much neglected fashion. Perhaps this is where Bono got the inspiration for 'Lemon'.
The Whale is a five minute mainly instrumental piece, heavily synthesised, meant to be giving the impression of a whale's journey through the oceans. Not strictly necessary.
So who is this album for? Well if you're lighthearted; if you don't need excessive navel gazing in tour music; if you liked the Verve but grew tired of Ashcroft's moaning, try Out of the Blue. It will at least bring a smile to your face and you'll love the swooping strings.
the pressing to get apparently is the Stan Ricker one. These are plentiful, even as cut-outs due to record company problems. Look for SR2 in the deadwax, on each side of the record. It sounds pretty good and is only let down by a surface that is a bit noisy.
Its a gatefold album, with a picture of a spaceship in the middle. Lyrics are printed on the two inner picture sleeves. I have an ad for a t-shirt and other ELO memorabilia, and if you're lucky you'll get that spaceship mobile!