Monday, September 12, 2016

40 Year Itch : Two Drifters on the Morning Sky

ELO : So Fine

On September 11, 1976 Electric Light Orchestra released A New World Record, the breakthrough album that sold five million copies worldwide thanks to the singles "Livin'Thing", "Telephone Line" (which I bought) and the remake of Lynne's Move contribution "Do Ya". Lynne was on a roll, telling interviewers the songs were coming easily:

"The songs started to flow and most of them came quickly to me. To have all those hits, it was just ...I mean amazing really. Going from doing okay for probably three or four years to suddenly being in the big time, it was a strange but great thing."

Critics like Alan Niester of Rolling Stone agreed :

Lynne has always been rather deft with the melodic hook, and both "Livin' Thing" and "So Fine" are irresistible additions to his list of catchiest tunes. Numbers like "Mission (A World Record)" and "Shangri-la" continue the history of classy orchestral stylings that really rock, and Lynne's dominant vocals are as effectively foggy as ever. As expected, the production is lavish and the musicianship more than adequate to fulfill Lynne's Procol Harum-ish visions. By Christmas, A New World Record should be a staple in a million homes

When I joined the Columbia House Records Club in 1977, I was very tempted to pick up A New World Record. I never did. I already had the "Telephone Line" single and figured I'd get bored of the other songs.

My deep cut choice is "So Fine"just because it was a could have been single. It actually sounds like something the Ricky Gervais character David Brent could have written, until it gets to the bizarre electronic-turned-belly-dancing-music breakdown. On the album it segues deliciously into "Livin' Thing".

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