“The Electric Light Orchestra were an early fave of mine – big melodies, bigger production, like the Beatles by way of some overblown Hollywood fantasy from the 1930s … except unlike many of those fantasies, ELO was always in vivid colour. Over the years, of course, a lot of this pomp and electricity started to feel a little uncool, silly even, particularly as 1980s imposed, the Winter of Hate and its doomsday realities. Not much room for sunny fantasy anymore. But then a strange thing happened in the early 1990s, right around the time that the last Republican got turfed from the White House (for a while anyway) and the grunge thing got over-hyped (being serious getting taken way too seriously). ELO started sounding fun again, relevant even in some retro-cool ironic sort of way. Not that a song like 1975’s One Summer Dream had ever entirely lost its lustre. It was just too beautiful, like a summer afternoon in the middle of nowhere, looking out over an unknown lake with great birds soaring past and mountains in the distance. You’re sixteen years old and you know this is one of those moments that’s going to last forever.” (Philip Random)
“The Badfinger story didn’t end well. But let’s not hang on that. Let’s focus instead on how glad I am that they existed, how superb so much of their music was. And for many, that started with Carry On Till Tomorrow (epic and sad and the definition of Beatlesque) running through the opening credits of The Magic Christian – the one where Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr join forces to prove (over and over) that everyone has their price.” (Philip Random)
The Boo Radleys didn’t get much notice at the time (certainly over here in the Americas), and what notice they did get tended to be for the wrong stuff), but if you were in the right place in 1991-92-93, tuned to the right frequencies, you were lucky enough to know a godlike, noisy and powerful pop that could cause actual changes in the weather. Maybe if they’d bothered to put something as gobsmackingly ascendant as At The Sound of Speed on an actual album as opposed to burying it on the b-side of an EP, things might have played out a little differently.
The Electric Light Orchestra still had a few things to work out come their third album On The Third Day, starting with that cover. What’s with the exposed navels, gentlemen? Which isn’t to say thing weren’t coming nicely together in other ways, with a track like New Day Rising offering a tight, smart Beatlesque way forward. Even John Lennon was proving a fan.