Electric Light Orchestra: “Showdown” (1973)

ELO scores another hit with their update on the Marvin Gaye classic, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

Kronomyth 2.8: And it’s raisins all over the world.

The followup to “Roll Over Beethoven” took another popular song (this time, Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”) and gave it a classical/rock arrangement that anticipated disco with its funky bottom end and orchestral touches. It’s never been one of my favorite ELO tracks, although it was a welcome addition to the occasionally overblown On The Third Day. Better overblown R&B than watered-down Edvard Grieg.

The B side was a shorter, instrumental version of “In Old England Town (Boogie #2)” from the second album. The keyboards figure prominently in this version, which otherwise sounds like an instrumental reprise of the original (which, I suppose, it is). A short promotional film (music videos didn’t exist back in 1973) was made for Showdown on the banks of the River Thames. There are times when I wonder if Jeff Lynne wasn’t part of the FBI’s witness protection program.

Original 7-inch single version

A1. Showdown (Jeff Lynne) (3:49)
B1. In Old England Town (instrumental) (Jeff Lynne) (2:42)*

* Appears as “In an Old England Town” in the US.

The Players

Produced by Jeff Lynne.

The Plastic

Released as 7-inch single in September 1973 in the UK (Harvest, HAR 5077), in November 1973 in the US (United Artists, UA-XW337-W) and in 1973 in France (EMI/Harvest, 2C 006-05.458), Germany and the Netherlands (Harvest, 006-05 458), Italy (EMI/Harvest, 3C 006-05458) and Peru (Odeon) with regional picture sleeve. Reached #12 on the UK charts and #53 on the US charts (charted on December 1, 1973 for 11 weeks). Also released as promotional 7-inch single in 1973 in the US (United Artists, UA-XW337-W) feat. A stereo and mono.

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