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A New World Record is among the first albums I bought back in the late 1970's on vinyl and on many occasions the tracks Telephone Line, Rockaria!, Livin' Thing and Shangri-La would be heard blaring out from my dad's old radiogram through next doors walls and half way down the street as in those days it was not uncommon to share my music being the caring person that I am.
For many years the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) was the one band I loved listening to and I bought all their albums, 7 and 12 inch singles and anything else I could get my hands on including imported box sets, various coloured vinyls (LPs, singles and even a picture disc). This later extended to VHS, DVDs and of course CD albums which although offering superior sound quality to me are no match for the odd crackle and constant tending of the record deck to change tracks or turning to listen to the opposite side.
I grew up on this music and many of their tracks appeared regularly on the radio so it was not surprising that some found their music inspirational and indeed modern groups copy or use part of numerous ELO tracks to form a song enjoyed by many youngsters today.
ELO were known as a classical rock group and this album features some quite heavy guitar tracks together with harmonies, much lighter pop music and significant amounts of instrumental work that form the majority of tracks such as So Fine, Mission (A World Record) and Shangri-La. In fact, a local TV music programme of the time (RPM) used part of So Fine as its opening theme.
A New World Record was written and produced in 1976 and includes some of ELOs greatest hits appearing on many compilation albums but many other tracks are just as inspirational and appear to an extent on their following album Out Of The Blue released a year later. Like many of their earlier albums it was released on the United Artists later and quickly superseded by Jet Records before it too was taken over by CBS and Sony.
ELO broke up in 1986 with Jeff Lynne the group leader becoming a successful record producer and many of the group forming ELO Part II although I have very little of their work.
A New World Record is an album I enjoy listening to even today and when we are on a long drive I quite often will copy tracks from this album as part of my own unique CD because it is quite easy and enjoyable listening.
The group consisted of Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan, Kelly Groucutt, Richard Tandy, Mik Kaminski, Hugh McDowell and Melvyn Gale.
Album tracks: Tightrope, Telephone Line, Rockaria!, Mission (A New World Record), So Fine, Livin' Thing, Above The Clouds, Do Ya, Shangri-La
It is available from Amazon in CD format from £2.93 and is also available for download for £4.49. This is a clasic album well worth listening to.
'My Shangri-la has gone away
fading like the Beatles on Hey Jude
She seemed to drift out on the rain
that came in some where softly from the blue'
ELO are considered by many these days as the nadir of popular music, that's a real shame and pretty narrow minded. Eastenders even managed to get a bit of a laugh recently when Billy mentioned he partial to a bit of Electric Light Orchestra as a chat up line! ELO was the brainchild of ex-Move men Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood, but while Wood went off to form Wizard, Lynne kept up with the rock/classical group producing three low charting albums at the beginning of the 1970's.
By the time it came around for their sixth album in 1976 that all changed. A New World Record hit the big time in the UK and spawned several hit singles including 'Livin Thing', 'Telephone Line', 'Rockaria' and 'Do Ya'.
My favourite ELO album is their disco orientated 1979 album 'Discovery', but A New World Record comes very close.
The production is about as crisp as you might expect from ELO. Great orchestral sounds mix with electronic to create fantastic operatic songs with a hint of 60's psychadlia and Beatles thrown into the mix. The album's opener 'Tightrope' is a lush and complicated song that weaves clever lyrics along with a distinctive ELO sound that was really starting to find its feet.
My favourite tracks from the album are the slightly slower tracks ' Telephone Line' and 'Shagri La'. The former starts off like something that you might hear in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop from Dr Who
The only annoying thing about A New World Record is the irritating intros and outros to some of the songs that seem a little self-indulgent. This is the ELO of the past, but this is purely a step into commercialism and they did so one step at a time before their classic Discovery and Out of the Blue albums.
Its Lynne's songwriting that rules every time on this album. There isn't one duff song on the entire record and it flows so well from one to the other. Its soft and hard at the same time , 'Livin Thing' and 'Do Ya' absolutely rock out and are classic ELO.
A New World Record is absolute quality from one song to the next. It isn't a guilty pleasure (who came up with that nonsense phrase - who cares what people like? Who decides what is cool and what is not cool?) it's a brilliantly written and produced mini-masterpiece.
2. Telephone Line
4. Mission (A World Record)
5. So Fine
6. Livin' Thing
7. Above The Clouds
8. Do Ya