[Review] Electric Light Orchestra: Olé ELO (1976)

The best of the band’s first five albums, which weren’t exactly their best albums.

Kronomyth 6.0: Premature encapsulation.

This is a greatest hits record released before Electric Light Orchestra recorded their greatest hits. This sort of thing happens sometimes, since who has a crystal ball except Styx and Dio? Olé ELO does bring you up to speed on the group, sort of, but it’s no replacement for the original albums. There’s a lot more to No Answer than 10538 Overture, and more to On the Third Day than Showdown and Ma-Ma-Ma Belle.

I wouldn’t argue with the selections, since the original album was generous enough to include the original, extended versions of songs like Roll Over Beethoven and Kuiama. When the album was released on compact disc, the edited version of “Roll Over Beethoven” was used. At least, I think they used the original versions on the elpee. I’ve since sold my elpee copy, so maybe they used the edited versions there too, which is what my original review stated. (You know you’re in a bad state when you stop trusting yourself.)

Since you can hear all these songs on the original albums, I’d probably start there. There are too many wonderful things happening on their first five albums to deny yourself the pleasure of hearing them, whether it’s “Mr. Radio” or “Bluebird Is Dead” or “Laredo Tornado.” Then, owning all the proper ELO albums, you may want to purchase this out of historical interest (he wrote slyly). Because, you know, it covers everything that you’re really interested in.

Original elpee version

A1. 10538 Overture (5:25)
A2. Kuiama (9:08)
A3. Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry) (8:02)*
B1. Showdown (4:12)
B2. Ma-Ma-Ma Belle (3:35)
B3. Can’t Get It Out of My Head (4:26)
B4. Boy Blue (4:12)
B5. Evil Woman (4:15)
B6. Strange Magic (4:05)

All songs written by Jeff Lynne unless noted.
*Replaced with the edited 4:31 version on the compact disc reissue.

The Pictures

Album concept by Greg Lewerke. Art direction & album design by Ria Lewerke. Photography by Moshe Brakha.

The Plastic

Released on elpee and 8-tracxk in June 1976 in the US (United Artists, LA-630-G/EA-630-H), Australia (Jet, JT6011), Brazil (Epic, 131005), Canada (Jet, PZ 35465) and Germany, the Netherlands and Spain (Jet, LP903). Also released as promotional gold vinyl elpee in 1976 in the US (United Artists, SP 123). Reached #32 on the US charts (RIAA-certified gold record).

  1. Re-released on remastered compact disc in the US (Jet, ZK 35528).

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