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Electric Light Orchestra - ELO & Olivia Newton-John: Xanadu (OST) CD (album) cover


Electric Light Orchestra


Crossover Prog

2.31 | 148 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Gene Kelly's farewell. to prog?

By 1980, the Electric Light Orchestra's migration to a chart focused pop band was pretty much complete. Such was their credibility in chart terms that they were asked to write about half of the songs for the teen movie "Xanadu", a film very much in the "Grease" and "Saturday night fever" vein. The film is significant in Hollywood terms as it includes the final acting appearance of Gene Kelly. That said, and despite the huge investment it secured, it was a box office disaster.

To their credit, ELO simply created five songs which would have fitted in well on any of their own albums released around this time. "I'm alive" is an upbeat piece of stylish pop featuring all the usual ELO trademarks. "The fall" is in relative terms actually a bit adventurous with varying time signatures and all. It is still very much a pop song, but has a greater level of sophistication than is the norm for that genre.

"Don't walk away" is one of Jeff Lynne's fine ballads, with a suitably emotional vocal performance and a superb arrangement. "All over the world" reverts to the upbeat style of "I'm alive", the anthemic aspects of the lyrics guaranteeing it chart success. The album closes with the film's title track, an ELO song sung by Olivia Newton-John. Despite its origins, this is another fine ELO song which would have sounded good sung by either Lynne or ON-J.

The fact that four of the five tracks here were hit singles, as were a couple on the other side, gives a fair indication of what to expect from this soundtrack. It also confirms the quality of the music in pop terms, although admittedly most definitely not in prog terms!

The other side of this album consists of five songs written by Jon Farrar and sung by Olivia Newton-John. These are irrelevant in terms of this site, although "Dancin'" might be of passing interest as The Tubes duet with Newton-John on the song.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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