Top 10 Songs by Electric Light Orchestra

Top 10 Songs by Electric Light Orchestra

Electric light orchestra: In 1971, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood and Bev Bevan of the Move moved in a new direction with their music. The group opted to incorporate more classical music influences in their work and created a more theatrical approach to their world. This led to the creation of the Electric Light Orchestra.

electric light orchestra

The fascinating sound of ELO has stood out over time. In fact, Lynne still tours with the band today. Many points go into the group’s music:

  • Throughout the years the group has been prominent for creating an amazing orchestral sound. This comes from a small string section that adds to the vibe of many songs with horns on occasion.
  • As time went along, the group started to focus on more electronic instruments. Even with this, the powerful atmospheric sounds of ELO never went away.
  • Jeff Lynne has especially shown himself to be an iconic songwriter. He has eventually gone on to work with many other acts including for Tom Petty and George Harrison. He even worked with those two plus Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison to form the Traveling Wilburys.

Electric light Orchestra will be inducted into the Roll and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. This listing of their ten best songs is a great tribute to the band’s powerful music.

Evil Woman

Jeff Lynne says that he wrote this song in less than an hour. That’s impressive considering how this was the band’s first big hit. This classic song about a woman who does men wrong is a beautiful song with a disco vibe to it.

Mr. Blue Sky

The last part of a four-part suite on their Out of the Blue album, the song was inspired by Lynne having seen daylight after being holed up for a while trying to write music. The amazingly positive and upbeat sound reminds people of many songs from the Beatles.

Shine a Little Love

There’s a disco-inspired beat to this song with a nearly forty-piece orchestra supporting the main band. This brings about a positive feeling with lyrics about falling in love and finding the right one. The great traditional sound of the group fits in perfectly with the disco vibe created by the song.

Strange Magic

The beautiful violin intro brings about a vast world of sound with lyrics about just how unique the world is. Lynne’s vocals add a beautiful vibe to the song. This also uses a memorable guitar effect designed by keyboard player Richard Tandy.

Mr. Radio

Inspired by Tin Pan Alley music, Lynne wrote this about a man whose only companion left is his radio after his woman leaves him. The solo violin performance from Steve Woolam adds a truly classical feel to the song. This also marks one of Lynne’s first true experiments with sound manipulation in the studio.

Roll Over Beethoven

This song is primarily a cover of the Chuck Berry classic with several moments of the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony included all the way through. The song is an entertaining mix of the classical music that the band is inspired by and the newer rock sounds of the time. This remains the most famous of the many covers that people have performed of Chuck Berry’s iconic hit.

Livin’ Thing

Lynne wrote this song about the feeling of love and how great it can be. The soaring sound of this song adds to the amazing quality of the track. This song got a new lease on life when it was featured prominently in the soundtrack to the movie Boogie Nights.

Can’t Get It Out of My Head

Designed as the opener to an album-length symphonic piece, the song is about a person who moves into a dream world and sees incredible visions. The beautiful string trio mixes with Tandy’s Moog synthesizer to create a strong tone. This song especially brings about more of the Beatles influences that Lynne was known for using in his work.

All Over the World

While Xanadu is an infamous movie that helped to inspire the Razzie awards, the soundtrack to the movie – whether it’s ELO’s work or Olivia Newton-John’s – isn’t the problem in the least. The disco vibe of this song adds a great style that makes this one of the more memorable songs from the group’s discography. The song continues to live on as it is featured in the Broadway revival of the musical of the same name.

Secret Messages

As the 1980s came along, ELO focused on a more synth-based sound but never got rid of the artistic influences that they have been known for. This song from the album of the same name is a true highlight of that time. It makes many references to the use of hidden messages that are often found on many of the group’s albums while creating a truly soaring sound.

SongAlbumComposerRelease Date
Evil WomanFace the MusicLynne1975
Mr. Blue SkyOut of the BlueLynne1978
Shine a Little LoveDiscoveryLynne1979
Strange MagicFace the MusicLynne1975
Mr. RadioNo AnswerLynne1971
Roll Over BeethovenElectric Light Orchestra 2Berry1973
Livin’ ThingA New World RecordLynne1976
Can’t Get It Out of My HeadEldoradoLynne1974
All Over the WorldXanaduLynne1980
Secret MessagesSecret MessagesLynne1983

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