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Electric Light Orchestra - Greatest Hits CD (album) cover


Electric Light Orchestra

Crossover Prog

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars ELO was a favorite of mine in the mid '70's. My prog sensibilities may have not been fine tuned yet, but these guys were helping. I could see that there was more going on here than in your average pop song (Olivia Newton John), or even in good ol' rock (Foghat). I still like to listen to them now, and they will always have a special place in my heart. They were heavily influenced by The Beatles (Jeff Lynne has always wanted to be one), but they infused a symphonic aspect. Most people should be aware of ELO to some extent. They are classic rock staples, and recently have been featured in television ads.

With that said, I don't feel a need to dissect this compilation song by song. It is a good representation of their work during their salad days. It has some of their biggest hits, along with some lesser known gems. This isn't just a collection of hits. It's an overview of a band in their prime.

Now, when it comes to bands that I like, I don't like to spend my money on albums like this. I usually end up wanting to get the originals. This is even more the case in prog (or even prog related), as they tend to be concepts. However, if you are just feeling nostalgic for a few tunes, and collecting this band's albums holds no interest, this wouldn't be a bad purchase. In my opinion, the original studio albums are worth it. I would suggest starting with "A New World Record."

H.T. Riekels

Report this review (#81936)
Posted Sunday, June 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Since ELO did not produce a lot in those days, their record company was keen in releasing a third ELO compilation in three years ! The first two albums are completely ignored (but they were very present on the first two compils already).

From their third one, only the quite Rolling Stones oriented "Ma Ma Ma Belle" is selected together with ... "Showdown" that made its fourth entry on four compilations : ridiculous !

A single track from their masterpiece El Dorado "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" already on "Ole ELO".

Two tracks from "Face The Music" : their hit "Evil Woman" and "Strange Magic". Nothing to say about this selection : those tracks are very good.

Three tracks from "A New World Record" with "Telephone Line", "Rockaria!" and "Livin' Thing" which are good tracks as well. Finally, three tracks from "Out Of The Blue" : again good choices here with "Turn To Stone", "Sweet Talkin' woman" and "Mr Blue Sky").

It is not a too bad compilation from their repertoire so far. What really annoys me is that "El Dorado" is really under exposed : OK, it was a concept album but still, several songs could have been taken out to find their places on a compilation.

I wonder though who can buy such a compil : no alternate versions, no unreleased material. Do what I do : get the original albums and create your own ELO compilation (or re- create the offical ones) but you do not need to spend your money on this type of work. Three stars.

Report this review (#118404)
Posted Saturday, April 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
2 stars This greatest hits compilation was released in November 1979, about five months after their biggest sales success with the release of Discovery in June 1979. In addition to taking advantage of the big sales and their popularity in 1979, ELO had never really had a greatest hits collection that included nothing but material that made it into Billboard's Top 40. So they released this. This album eventually was certified as multi-platinum and made the top 10 on charts throughout the world (only #30 in the U.S.).

However, even with such credentials, it's not really that enjoyable of a listen to me. I have often found that their pop hits were more enjoyable when they were interspersed with songs that were never intended to be singles, such as on their studio albums. A strange thought I guess, but by themselves their pop hits leave me with a cheesy aftertaste. If that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, then I guess I can't quite put it into words. One thing's for certain, these are just pop hits and lack the "progressiveness" needed to go beyond two stars. For collectors and completionists only. Pop rock fans might enjoy this, maybe.

Report this review (#146386)
Posted Monday, October 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Electric Light Orchestra helped get me into progressive rock music, and I still enjoy this group. This is a perfect discount album for a great band. Many excellent hits are on this one, but it is by no means complete. Even though a lot of my favorite songs exist on here, the catalogue of ELO is too large to be constricted to just one disc. "Evil Woman," "Telephone Line," "Strange Magic," "Mr. Blue Sky" and "Rockaria!" are excellent songs by a band I truly love. Almost no song on here is unlikable, and the sound quality is just dandy. However, there's an awful lot missing, which means anyone who picks this album up and likes it will probably need to locate the original albums or a more commodious greatest hits package- I recommend the former, yet casual fans will find this album completely satisfying. In fact, this one makes a perfect gift for someone unaware of or without anything by this group. For someone on a budget but with a taste for the Electric Light Orchestra, or for somebody who just wants most of the hits in the collection, this is probably the best deal. It's a dull package, but it is not a bad collection.
Report this review (#219401)
Posted Monday, June 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The first ELO release I bought after hearing half these songs on classic rock radio. I knew someone who thought "Evil Woman" was called "Medieval Woman". Seriously. This collection was released not long after the album Discovery, so the big hit "Don't Bring Me Down" is not included. Nothing from the first two albums is included either. Of course, this focuses on the singles and ignores lots of album tracks. But it is a 'greatest hits' and not a 'best of'.

"Turn To Stone" and "Strange Magic" are the two best songs here, IMO. There aren't any really bad songs, but I never really cared for "Rockaria!" and "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle". This is a great collection of hit singles but it is not necessarily a good starting point for ELO. I think even one of the compilations with much more songs would be a better introduction. At least you get some good album tracks that way.

I have never owned an actual ELO album. I've heard a few but only liked a few songs off of each. Generally, ELO are not too consistent to me, having great songs and mediocre songs mixed together. But the keyboard and string work is very good most of the time. I just think Jeff Lynne is hit or miss as a composer. His production skills are generally really good. This is probably the cheapest and easiest ELO release to find. Good for owning some of the better singles of the 1970s, but absolutely nothing essential for a prog fan. 2 stars.

Report this review (#384626)
Posted Saturday, January 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Containing most of their top-40 hits to that point, 1979's Greatest Hits compilation rode on the coattails of Discovery and later entered the charts itself. Though it completely ignores the band's first two albums, Greatest Hits evenly covers the band's most commercially successful period between 1973 and 1978. The previous compilation Ole ELO was perhaps more representative, but it was released prior to El Dorado and Out of The Blue and therefore lacks any material from those peak albums. Greatest Hits does avoid album cuts and focuses only on chart hits, but this choice allows casual fans an opportunity to grow their interest in the group and expand on it. That this compilation is still readily in print nearly 35 years later is a testament to the staying power of this collection of songs, and though it does have its flaws, is a good introduction to Electric Light Orchestra.

From a Progressive Rock perspective, Greatest Hits is superfluous as it omits material from the band's first two albums, largely considered their most innovative. These albums (originally released on Harvest) were a logical extension of The Move, the group from which ELO evolved. Multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Roy Wood lost interest after No Answer, ELO's debut album, and left Jeff Lynne to man the helm single-handedly. Lynne led the group to super- stardom, and that success is largely captured on Greatest Hits. For a more complete picture of the band's output, I would recommend 1995's Strange Magic; this 2-disc collection is more balanced and thorough, and sounds better too. For a cheap entry into the world of ELO however, you can't really go wrong with Greatest Hits.

Report this review (#922209)
Posted Sunday, March 3, 2013 | Review Permalink

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