Sunday Music – Wild West Hero

Posted on Sun 12/11/2016 by

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Today’s music video is Wild West Hero, and it is being sung here by the the huge English band Electric Light Orchestra. (ELO).

Link to Video at You Tube

This video was posted to You Tube by LORD13VV

It’s sometimes a strange thing how you suddenly hear a song from a seemingly new band, and then another to follow it up, Suddenly, that ‘new’ band is an overnight success. Then, when you look into the band’s background, you find that they have actually been around for a number of years.

Such was the case with this band ELO. (Electric Light Orchestra) The band formed in late 1970, and brought out a series of five albums, at the rate of a new album every year. Then, in 1976, they became that proverbial overnight success with an immensely popular album, and four Singles were lifted from that album over the next few Months, all of them becoming pretty big hits, not just in their home Country, England, but all across the World, and especially in the U.S. where the band was already more popular than they were at home. The main premise for this wonderful band was to include a strings section as part of the makeup of what is basically an electric band, and that strings section included Violins and Cellos, which is most demonstrated in this video clip, along with those wonderful harmonies from all the singing voices as well.

That album, their sixth, was A New World Record, and it was huge, selling more than five million units in the year of release, 1976. With this album, Jeff Lynne, the band’s leader, said that this was where he finally reached the place he was trying to get to with his writing and composing.

ELOOutOfTheBlueNow with the future of the band assured, Jeff set off to continue the process, while he was hot. He went to Switzerland, away from everything. Try as he might, there was a songwriting block and, nothing happened for two weeks, and Jeff mentioned later that the weather was bleak, dull and overcast for virtually all those 2 weeks. Then the Sun came out and Jeff saw the Swiss Alps in all their beauty. He immediately wrote the song Mister Blue Sky, and then went on to write 13 more songs over the next two weeks.

The band took a couple of Months to record what then morphed into a double album, titled Out Of The Blue, which was released in late 1977, and with the continuing popularity of the band, this album also shot up the charts and started to also sell off the wall and in huge numbers. In fact, there were orders for 4 million copies of the album prior to its release, and on release, the album immediately went Multi Platinum. Five Singles were lifted from the album, and four of those went into the Top Ten on the Singles charts.

The success of these two consecutive albums ensured that ELO was the highest earning and most popular music outfit of the mid/late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Their next album Discovery was also just as huge, if not even bigger than the earlier two albums, and in fact was their first Number One album.

Lynne considers this double album, Out Of The Blue to be the band’s crowning achievement and it was named Album Of The Year in the UK in 1978. The album was remastered in 2007 as a 30th Anniversary special limited edition CD with a hard bound book and included three extra tracks. When released, this re release also made it into the Top Twenty albums chart.

Oddly, despite their monumental success with huge selling and high charting albums, ELO had to wait a further two years and two more albums before they had their first Number One Single, Xanadu, lifted from the album of the same name, the sound track for the immensely forgettable movie of the same name, a monumental and very costly flop of a movie, but another ELO album that sold further millions of copies.

Here in Australia, the band was not as popular as in the U.S. or the UK, and they had a couple of minor hits prior to the release of that sixth album, A New World Record. My sister was a fan of the band for a couple of years, and she was a little puzzled how her older brother, me, a popular music fan could seem so ambivalent about their music, and it wasn’t until the release of that fourth and last Single from that sixth album, the song Telephone Line, that I did become a fan of the band and their music.

The song I have featured today is Wild West Hero, which was released as the third Single from the double album, one which charted in the U.S. and in the UK, but barely even registered here in Australia. Funnily enough, of the five Singles released from this album, in the UK, four of them reached the same position on the charts, all of them making it to Number Six on those UK charts.

The video clip for the song features an introductory short clip of western themes taken from U.S. ‘cowboy’ shows so popular in the 50’s and 60’s, and later in the song, there is also another clip of scenes from those Westerns.

Something often missed in this song is that short introductory piece of western style piano playing, and then the piano also during the video clip itself. This was arranged for the song by Melvyn Gale, who was usually one of the Cellists for the band.

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Posted in: Music, Videos