ARTIST: Electric Light Orchestra
TITLE: ELO 2 (or Electric Light Orchestra II)
YEAR RELEASED: 1973
CHART ACTION: #62 US, #35 UK
SINGLES: Roll Over Beethoven (#42 US, #6 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nope
LINEUP: Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy, Mike de Albuquerque, Mike Edwards, Wilf Gibson, Colin Walker. Roy Wood played cello on two tracks before he quit.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: It’s a real band now, and there was tension and a false start. What emerged were five long suites and the beginning of the ‘classic’ ELO sound.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: During the initial sessions for this album, Wood and Lynne and the band (Tandy and de Albuquerque had joined full time) did some sessions with former Move singer Carl Wayne that didn’t work out, and then after a few weeks Wood up and left to form Wizzard. That left Lynne alone to really envision what ELO was going to become.
Edwards, Gibson and Walker were classically trained string players, and fleshed out the group. They combined classic Beatle-esque rock and roll with a mega-overdubbed string section and created five long suites that were more melodic progressive rock than anything.
The highlight was an eight-minute long take on “Roll Over Beethoven”, using the string section as well as Lynne’s rock-and-roll chops to create probably the second-best version (besides the Berry original). The other four tracks are OK, but do meander a bit (especially the 11-plus minute long “Kuiama”).
Lynne took the lessons from this album and forged ahead with ELO. This is a work-in-progress that has some nice bits but still isn’t quite there yet.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: In the UK, it was ELO 2. In the US, it was Electric Light Orchestra II. “Roll Over Beethoven” was also a minute shorter in the UK than in the US, for some reason.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, some BBC sessions, outtakes, and cuts with Mark Bolan (!) on guitar and the Wayne sessions.
GRADE: B: It’s not bad, and has some nice bits. But some of the songs do test your patience.