Today’s music video is Shangri La from ELO (Electric Light Orchestra).
This video was posted to You Tube by MrAgm65
Remember the first time you heard a song that made you really take notice?
When it comes to my vinyl Long Play records, I have always been very protective of them, well, except for one time really. In the early 70′s when I was in the early stages of starting my collection, I lost 24 of them on a road trip when they were exposed to heat in the back of a friends car.
However, what made me so protective was that in those days, early on in my career in the Air Force, I went to a lot of parties, and I saw how records were treated. Because of that, My LP’s never went anywhere near a party.
I would purchase the album, and listen to it in private. I had a pretty good sound system and part of that was a good Cassette recording deck. If I wanted to save the album and play it a lot, the second time I played it, I recorded it to Cassette, and then for playing often, and taking some music to a party, then I would take the cassettes with me. Along with my growing collection of LP’s, I also had around 5 dozen cassettes. I would buy a box of a dozen blank cassettes at a time, and that would become my recording stock. I used those UD C90 tapes, with 45 minutes per side, because in that way I could get a whole album on one side of the cassette, hence two albums per tape.
So, to this day, my collection of LP’s now numbering more than 350 are still in pristine collection.
Today’s featured song is from the band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) an English band led by Jeff Lynne, first formed in 1971. Jeff Lynne, along with co founder, Roy Wood wanted to include classical music with classical instruments into the rock based music they were performing, hence the use of violins and cellos in ELO’s music right from the outset of the band.
This song is from their sixth album A New World Record, which, quite surprisingly was their breakthrough album, released in 1976. The album was a Monster for the band in their home Country, the UK, and also made it to Number One here in Australia. Prior to this album, the band had a couple of minor hits here in Australia, as well as at home in the UK. Then, along came this album, and from that, 4 Singles were released. each going into the Top Ten, the highest of them being the wonderful song, Livin’ Thing, which made it to Number 2 on the National Charts.
Even so, with this and their earlier hits and two later hits from this same album, I was only partially aware of them, mainly from radio airplay, and I thought there was nothing really special about them.
Then, along came the fourth Single to be released from this album, Telephone Line, not released until mid 1977, almost a year after the album release. This was one song that I really did like, and because of that, I went out and purchased the album.
Then, in the quiet of my room, on my own sound system, I played the album. All good songs, and then came the last song on side two, the last song on the album. Right from the opening bars of the song, I sat up and paid real interest. This was an amazing song, Shangri La, and when it finished, I immediately went and got a new tape out of the box, and recorded the whole album. That one particular song, Shangri La, I played often. How many times had I found there had been a case when I got hold of an album because of one or maybe two songs, and ended up liking another song on the album more than the songs picked for Single release and radio airplay.
The album made it to Number One here in Australia, and after this, ELO became one of the biggest selling rock bands in the World. This one album sold more than 5 million copies in the first year alone, and was a huge hit all over the World. From this album, all their subsequent releases sold off the charts. The cover of this album also marked the release of the band’s logo, a stylised space ship effect.
When questioned about this album, Jeff Lynne said that this marked the time when his songwriting ability finally reached the pinnacle he was always aiming for.
Oddly, while the band’s albums were huge sellers, they only had one Number One Hit Single, the song Xanadu, written by the band, and using the vocals of Olivia Newton John. The Single was lifted from the ELO album of the same name, which was the soundtrack for the movie of the same name. The movie was a monumental commercial flop and while an enormous amount of money was spent making the film, it barely broke even, mainly from video and DVD sales later in its life, when the movie became somewhat of a cult movie, but it was very poorly received at its original release. While the movie was such a flop, the ELO album again sold in huge numbers, mainly on the reputation of the band, and the fact that the songs themselves were quite good.
So, while I have 5 ELO albums, and my favourite is their next album after this one, the fabulous double album Out Of The Blue, the song I have featured today is still one of my favourite songs from this wonderful band.