I had to smile when reading through the reviews on Amazon of ELO’s album All Over The World: The Very Best Of (2005). One of them starts by saying ‘It’s not really cool to like ELO, is it?’. This reminds me of a time in the 70s when some friends at school were discussing the groups they like. I overheard them and said ‘Yes, I think ELO are great too’. They all turned to me in disgust – they had been talking about the Swiss electronica band, Yello. Ooops.
So if, like me, ELO feels to you like a bit of a guilty pleasure, be assured that you are not alone. The group has sold over 50 million records worldwide for one thing.
I think of ELO’s music as being in two categories, the first of which is story-telling. Think of tracks like The Diary of Horace Wimp or Mr Blue Sky. Fabulous, driving beats, sure. But really strong, original lyrics too.
And the second category is polished rock music that you can’t help but tap your foot to. Think about Hold On Tight, All Over the World and Shine A Little Love. This is pure happy music.
So, my dear schoolfriends, you can have your electronica – I’ll keep Jeff Lynne and the boys any day, thanks very much.