A new video directed by Martyn Atkins for Jeff Lynne’s single “Mercy Mercy” underscores how the former leader of the Electric Light Orchestra works these days: Lynne appears on vocals, as well as every other instrument.
All of those Jeffs are covering a song that was originally a No. 35 hit for Don Covay and the Goodtimers in 1964, and is now part of a forthcoming solo album called Long Wave — which focuses on songs that inspired Lynne in his youth. The project is due, along with a collection of ELO remakes called Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra on October 9, 2012, via Frontiers Records. The new video for “Mercy Mercy,” embedded below, premiered this morning on RollingStone.com.
[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: In a new interview, Jeff Lynne says he's considering a tour with former Electric Light Orchestra band mate Richard Tandy, if the details could be worked out.]
Other songs featured on Long Wave include “Let It Rock,” “At Last,” “Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered,” “Love Is A Many Splendored Many Thing,” “So Sad,” and “Smile,” among others. Mr. Blue Sky, which like Long Wave, was recorded through an extensive series of sessions at Lynne’s home studio, features re-recordings of “Evil Woman,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Livin’ Thing” and the title track, among others. Lynne has also crafted a new take on “10538 Overture,” and added a previously unreleased bonus tune titled “The Point Of No Return.”
Both albums, along with a rumored third original effort for 2013, arrive amid the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Electric Light Orchestra, a band Lynne starred in alongside Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy and others throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s. Lynne has said he also plans to produce a pair of expanded reissue, one focusing on the 2001 ELO project Zoom as well as Armchair Theater, his 1990 solo debut.
Lynne also tells Rolling Stone that 2013 will include the release of a concert recording called ELO Live!
That follows Live at the BBC, an album focusing on classic radio appearances between 1973–76, which appeared in 1999. Zoom Tour Live, a concert film, arrived in 2001.
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.”