Jeff Lynne has two albums set for release soon, his redo of Electric Light Orchestra favorites and a songbook recording. Or, wait, is it … three new albums? Seems so.
During an event this week at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, where a new documentary on Lynne premiered, the longtime ELO frontman and celebrated producer reportedly mentioned during a moderated talk with Grammy Foundation vice president Scott Goldman that there is yet another project on the horizon.
Goldman apparently asked Lynne to confirm the October 9, 2013 release date for both Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra and Long Wave, and Lynne replied that he has completed some eight new songs as well for another planned album to arrive sometime in 2013.
The new documentary film, called Mr. Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne and ELO, includes new interviews with stars like Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Ringo Starr and Joe Walsh — just a few of the celebrated names with whom Lynne has worked as album producer.
Meanwhile, the new ELO-focused Lynne album will feature new versions of “Evil Woman,” “Don’t Bring Me Down” and “Livin’ Thing,” among others, each of them recreated by Lynne in his home studio. Long Wave traces back to some of Lynne’s earliest musical influences, offering updates of pre-rock favorites like “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.” The first single will be “Mercy, Mercy.” Both will be issued on Frontiers Records.
These new albums are arriving as ELO reaches its 40th anniversary. Lynne said he will also oversee expanded reissues of both Zoom, the Electric Light Orchestra’s 2001 release and his debut solo effort, Armchair Theater from 1990.
ELO, with Lynne serving as lead singer and creative mastermind, has sold more than 50 million albums. Lynne wrote and produced more than two dozen Top 40 UK singles between 1972-86 alone. The hits compilation All Over The World then returned the band to the UK Top 10 in 2005.
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
SNEAK PEEK: JEFF LYNNE, “POINT OF NO RETURN” (2012): The track sounds, at least in the early going, like the typical solo Lynne production, dominated by his now familiar drum signature, propelled by a Byrdsy guitar, enveloped with a double-tracked vocal. Add in Roy Orbison, and it might have been a Traveling Wilburys outtake. Then, just as you’re getting comfy with it all, “Point of No Return” begins to elevate, as Lynne stirs in some billowing strings and a fabulously smeared, echoing guitar solo. Something starts to happen, something very 1970s. And I mean that in a good way.
ONE TRACK MIND: JEFF LYNNE, “AT LAST” (2012): At last! Jeff Lynne, having most recently issued a solo album in 1990 with Armchair Theatre, will be returning with two new studio recordings. But … “At Last”? The Etta James number? At first, I couldn’t get past the first two words on this advance track from Lynne’s Long Wave, the two words that James so completely owns — the two words that she has come to personify. I heard Lynne sing “at last,” and I turned it off. Careful readers will remember my enthusiasm in this space for “Point of No Return” — a new song on a set of ELO remakes that will be released in tandem with Long Wave. But this is different.
SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: JEFF LYNNE AND THE ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA: News that Jeff Lynne is making a long-awaited return with both a studio album and a fresh examination of ELO’s greatest hits had us recalling some old favorites. Lynne will release both albums, titled Long Wave and Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra respectively, on October 9, 2012 through Frontiers Records. To get you ready, we took a spin through some of our favorite cuts from the Electric Light Orchestra.
JEFF LYNNE REUNITES WITH FORMER ELO BANDMATE RICHARD TANDY: Even as Jeff Lynne is set to issue new solo versions of his greatest hits with the Electric Light Orchestra, he has reunited with former ELO member Richard Tandy. Videos of the pair performing “Showdown” and “Evil Woman” have been posted to elo.biz. “Showdown” was originally a No. 12 hit single in the UK in 1973, while “Evil Woman” was went Top 10 both in America and in England in 1975. It’s unclear whether a full-length recorded reunion with Tandy is in the offing, or if the longtime ELO keyboardist is to be part of Lynne’s planned Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra, though these new videos are posted under a heading that reads “sneak peeks.”
Complete track listings for ‘Long Wave’ and ‘Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra’:
2. If I Loved You
3. So Sad
4. Mercy, Mercy
5. Running Scared
6. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
8. At Last
9. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing
10. Let It Rock
11. Beyond The Sea
MR. BLUE SKY-THE VERY BEST OF ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA:
1. Mr. Blue Sky
2. Evil Woman
3. Strange Magic
4. Don’t Bring Me Down
5. Turn To Stone
7. Telephone Line
8. Livin’ Thing
9. Do Ya
10. Can’t Get It Out Of My Head
11. 10538 Overture
12. The Point Of No Return