ELO – Face The Music

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I have mixed feeling about the Electric Light Orchestra. Back in the late ’70s I thought they were the best band in the world. Then my tastes ‘matured’ and I went off them. But, y’know, I still have a bit of a soft spot for Jeff, Bev and the gang.

ELO’s big-selling albums like “Out Of The Blue” are, of course, regular fixtures on the charity shop ‘scene’, but this was the first time I’d come across their 1975 opus “Face The Music”, and curiosity got the better of me. A quick bit of research reveals that this one never made any impression on the album charts, despite respectable chart placings for their earlier albums, and despite featuring one sizeable hit single in the shape of “Evil Woman”. So “Face The Music” was, by ELO’s standards, a flop. I wonder why? It sounds just like all the other ELO in terms of production, song-craft, etc. Instrumental opener “Fire On High” is a bit experimental at the start, “Poker” is surprisingly fast and noisy, yet the ballad “Strange Magic” is as lush and syrupy as anything else in the ELO repertoire.

Maybe it was that scary photo of the group on the rear sleeve that put-off the punters.  I can just imagine some poor unsuspecting shopper picking this out of the racks, flipping it over to check the tracklist and then recoiling in horror at those seven pairs of eyes glaring psychotically back at him.

Interesting to note that, after this album,  Jeff Lynn was never again seen without his shades on.

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Published in: on December 9, 2009 at 9:37 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. yes, even without the added 70’s handicaps of long dank and greasy hair, oerms and face fungus, jeff lynne and his henchmen were never going to give the likes of bryan ferry or robert palmer sleepless nights…

    they were on a recently-aired vintage edition of TOTP (april 76) where a squinting piggy-eyed lynne looked almost embarrassed as he mimed along to “nightrider” (that may have been a factor in why that also failed to trouble the chart compilers) – perhaps no surprise he took to the shades soon afterwards…

    if that really was a factor in why this album failed to chart, then perhaps virgin took that into account when they pulled the original cover of the motors’ second album a couple of years later because the band members were deemed “too ugly”!

  2. A flop you say? thats interesting! in view of the fact it was the band’s first Platinum selling LP placing in the top ten in the USA


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