E.L.O. – Mr. Blue Sky – The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra

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Over the years there seems to have been literally hundreds of compilations calling themselves “best”, “essential”, “ultimate”…so what at first glance this appears to be yet another one…but no…the wonderful Mr Jeff Lynne has seen fit to re-record 11 E.L.O. classics plus one unreleased track using modern technology.

Jeff Lynne started out by recording a revitalised version of “Mr Blue Sky” featuring himself on all instruments. He was then persuaded by his manager to re-imagine a few more tracks. Jeff was hooked and decided to complete a whole albums worth of material.

The new versions do indeed sound much clearer and Jeff has clearly enjoyed himself. All of the usual suspects are here – “Turn to Stone”, “Living Thing”, “Evil woman” and so on. “Mr Blue Sky” itself sounds wonderful but lacks the original version’s ending. “Don’t Bring Me Down” is the newest of the re-worked tracks and was E.L.O’s biggest US hit – again better sounding but is it better?? “Can’t Get It Out of My Head” again was a big US hit but failed to chart in the UK and it’s a song I’ve never liked – very boring in my opinion – and this version is probably worse than the original…what’s with those dodgy keyboards…

The only new song on here is “Point of No Return” – nice enough but sounds like an out-take from the “Balance of Power” era.

I believe that these versions can stand alongside the originals and can be enjoyed for what they are – re-imagined, re-vitalised versions. Hopefully Jeff will carry on and give us a volume 2 as there are many classic songs missing from this selection or even better…a new E.L.O. album…



Phil Berisford

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