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Electric Light Orchestra - Light Years, The Very Best Of CD (album) cover


Electric Light Orchestra

Crossover Prog

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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Single minded

The terms "Very best of" and "Greatest hits" are often misused by record companies. In this case, the collection would more accurately have been titled "Greatest hits", for that is exactly what we have here. Virtually all of the tracks are the 7" versions including edits, and all the tracks which appear have all been released as singles. Indeed, the brief synopsis in the sleeve notes says that "This double CD is the first time a definitive ELO singles collection has been released".

Whether it represents the "Best of" ELO is therefore somewhat dubious. Many of their best works, especially from their early more progressive days, were strictly album tracks. "Fire on high", "Whisper in the night", "Eldorado", "One summer dream", "Shangri-la" etc., are all tracks which immediately spring to mind as cornerstones of any "Best of ELO" collection, yet none of them appears here. The 7" butchering of "10538 overture", "Roll over Beethoven" and "Can't get it out of my head" all indicate that this is one for the pop audience only.

That said, on the plus side, we have the wonderful sophisticated pop songs which made ELO one of the most successful bands ever in terms of chart singles. The songs are expertly crafted with fine orchestration and hooks other bands can only dream of.

ELO's final single "Getting to the point" is an overlooked gem, which sees Jeff Lynne offering one of his most emotional performances, while demonstrating a singing talent which is rarely fully appreciated. The rest of the songs pretty much pick themselves; I am sure anyone who was around at the time could name at least half of the 38 tracks here without too much thought.

The presentation of the songs is apparently random, with some of the band's biggest hits appearing first on each CD, presumably for marketing reasons.

In all a fine collection of singles, but not the place to look for the Best of ELO.

Report this review (#117157)
Posted Monday, April 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars It's pretty hard to go against anything Easy Livin has said in his review of this collection. He nailed it. But here is the short version. This contains every single ELO radio hit. Some of them are chopped up pretty good as compared to album version. As everyone should know already ELO has a large number of amazingly good pop songs that make use of 'orchestral' instruments. For someone who is interested in just pop this is a great collection. For a progressive music lover, it could be better.
Report this review (#172192)
Posted Sunday, May 25, 2008 | Review Permalink

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