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Electric Light Orchestra: Out of the Blue (remaster)

ELO's Out of the Blue was one of the most successful double albums released in the 1970's, selling some 10 million copies worldwide and launching the band into superstardom. Now, 30 years later this classic is given a royal remaster and reissue treatment from SONY Legacy, and it's about time. With excellent sound, a great booklet featuring complete artwork, interview with Jeff Lynne, photographs, and a few bonus tracks, this is the way Out of the Blue was meant to be packaged.

I'm sure all ELO fans know this gem backwards and forwards, so I won't get into too much detail here other than highlighting the highlights, which are many. From the pure pop genius of tracks like "Turn to Stone", "Mr. Blue Sky", and "Sweet Talking Woman" (all three popular singles), to the Moog infested classical & prog of songs like "The Whale" and the Concerto For a Rainy Day suite, which features tracks like "Standin' In the Rain", "Big Wheels", and "Summer and Lightning", there's so much here to enjoy. Jeff Lynne & Co. also didn't want you to forget that ELO could also rock out a bit too, and tracks like "Jungle" and "Birmingham Blues" show some true rock and roll grit amidst the catchy melodies and soaring orchestrations. Speaking of soaring, who can resist the addicting hooks of songs like "It's Over", "Night In the City", "Steppin' Out", "Sweet is the Night", and "Wild West Hero" ? Go ahead, try, I dare you...

This reissue comes with three bonus tracks, one of which is a quick alternate bridge from "Wild West Hero", which is really not much to speak of. The other two are leftover tracks from the original sessions-"The Quick and the Daft" is a neat instrumental with plenty of cool keyboards and the orchestra, and "Lattitude 88 North" a short pop song. Both will be of great interest to ELO fans, and help make this mandatory purchase even more convincing.

Track Listing
1. Turn to Stone
2. It's Over
3. Sweet Talkin' Woman
4. Across the Border
5. Night in the City
6. Starlight
7. Jungle
8. Believe Me Now
9. Steppin' Out
10. Standin' in the Rain
11. Big Wheels
12. Summer and Lightning
13. Mr. Blue Sky
14. Sweet Is the Night
15. Whale
16. Birmingham Blues
17. Wild West Hero
18. Wild West Hero [Alternate Bridge: Home Demo]
19. Quick and the Daft [bonus track]
20. Latitude 88 North [bonus track]

Added: February 28th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: ELO Website
Hits: 3214
Language: english

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Electric Light Orchestra: Out of the Blue (remaster)
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-02-28 16:04:09
My Score:

The next time one of your less-enlightened friends tries to convince you that the Electric Light Orchestra was nothing more than a group of bloated Englishmen trying to see how extravagant they could sound, loan him (or her, as the case may be) your copy of 1977's Out of the Blue. Or better yet, give it to that person and treat yourself to this luxurious reissue. The original two-LP set, astonishingly made in three months with massive orchestras, a choir and the band's own seven members, kicked off one of ELO's longest streak of hits: "Turn to Stone," "Sweet Talkin' Woman," "Mr. Blue Sky" and "It's You." It was memorably packaged with a free cutout space station and poster, and it paved the way for 1979's Discovery, an album on which ELO reached its zenith with the Top 10 singles "Shine A Little Love" and "Don't Bring Me Down." Those days seem so long ago, my friends, don't they?

But this Out of the Blue reissue serves as an exceptional reminder of a time when rock, pop, classical and prog music all blurred together into accessible compositions full of melody and charm. In addition to the album's four singles, songs like "Across the Border" (complete with the sounds of a mariachi band), "Jungle" (which experiments with world beats) and "Summer and Lightning" (featuring a funky, lighthearted middle section) show off the breadth of ELO's material and reveal the band to be more than just a heavy orchestra with guitars. Of course, lilting tracks like "Steppin' Out," "Wild West Hero" and half-baked bonus material like "The Quick and the Daft" may ultimately serve to reinforce your anti-ELO friend's original point about the band. But there's certainly much more to like on Out of the Blue than not, and it's the perfect title for the penultimate release in Epic/Legacy's admirable six-year, 11-album reissue campaign. (Balance of Power, from 1986, will close out the campaign in March 2007.)

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