Since we’re talking about Jeff Lynne, I wanted to pause for a moment and take Dullblog’s temperature on Electric Light Orchestra. Because ELO is back with their first album in 14 years, and I just listened to this catchy little tune.
Commercially — for the moment — ELO is back, but for a lot of Beatles fans, they’ve never left. Their greatest hits spend a lot of time on my iTunes playlist, for sure. The overlaps between Jeff Lynne and his four Liverpudlian heroes are well known, and too numerous to list here. But before they snuggled up together in the Eighties and Nineties, I seem to recall a pricklier relationship. I remember reading several quotes where Lennon referenced ELO to dismiss the idea that an intact Beatles would’ve continued to transform music in the Seventies. And a Harrison quote that was something like, “When ELO ran out of Beatles songs to copy, they stopped.”
But I can’t find anything like this on the internet. Did I dream it all? Please help!
Here’s something interesting I did find preserved in electrical amber: During John’s famous DJ stint at WNEW, he said this about ELO’s then-current “Showdown”: “We’re gonna play Electric Light Orchestra from last year, Showdown, which I thought was a great record and I was expecting it to be #1 but I don’t think UA [United Artists] got their fingers out and pushed it. And it’s a nice group — I call them ‘Son of Beatles’ — although they’re doing things we never did, obviously. But I remember a statement they made when they first formed was to carry on from where the Beatles left off with Walrus, and they certainly did. And for those people who like to know where licks and things come from, which I do…. this is a beautiful combination of I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye and Lightning Strikes Again [by] Lou Christie, and it’s a beautiful job with a little Walrus underneath.”
Listen to the full quote, here (which includes an amusing admission of larceny by Lennon):
And here’s the song in question: