Electric Light Orchestra: Jeff Lynne (vocals, guitar, piano, synthesizer); Kelly Groucett (vocals, bass); Richard Tandy (piano, Clavinet, synthesizer); Bev Bevan (drums, percussion).
Producer: Jeff Lynne.
Compilation producer: Al Quaglieri.
Recorded between 1974 & 1982. Includes liner notes by Jaan Uhelski.
This 15-track hits collection provides a cursory but satisfying overview of the work of these hugely popular, orchestral-pop pioneers. Immediately recognizable for their electro-classical arrangements and "futuristic" production (courtesy of group founder, songwriter, and vocalist Jeff Lynne), Electric Light Orchestra was an FM radio staple throughout the late 1970s and early '80s, racking up a string of hit singles. Almost all of those singles are included here ("10538 Overture" being the notable omission).
Not chronologically sequenced, the disc begins with 1975's "Evil Woman" and ends with the band's '72 cover of Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven." ELO's pop smarts (which owe a heavy debt to late-'60s Beatles songcraft) shine throughout, whether on the lilting "Strange Magic," the driving "Don't Bring Me Down," or "Calling America," a cut from 1986's BALANCE OF POWER. Pop masterpieces "Mr. Blue Sky" and "Sweet Talkin' Woman" charm as much with sonic novelty (including synthesized vocals, epic choral backing, and sweeping string parts) as they do with their irresistible melodies. While fans looking for a more comprehensive collection should turn to 1995's double-disc set STRANGE MAGIC, those seeking ELO's biggest singles will find exactly what they're looking for here.