Electric Light Orchestra – Progressive Rock icon


8236759If I could pin point the exact age I was, when I first listened to the Electric Light Orchestra, I would be somewhere around 10 years old – the vintage 1970’s. I have been inhaling the music of ELO for my entire life, safe to say. It does not matter what Metal genre I am currently obsessed with, ELO always gets playing time on my turntable and/or CD players. The Electric Light Orchestra, in my opinion, is one of the original leaders of Progressive Rock. What exactly is it about ELO that gravitates me to their music? Since I can remember, even as a young kid, I always got the biggest kick out of any music that was louder, faster and heavier than what was being played on AM radio. (that is correct, I wrote – AM radio).

Is/was ELO faster, louder and heavier than AM radio music of the ’70’s? Some of ELO’s greatest songs are legendary AM radio hits. However, as with any Rock band out there, it always comes down to the deeper album cuts that separates the legendary bands from the plain average bands. There are dozens and probably more, of ELO songs that for me, are far better than the hits you would/currently here on FM radio. What I heard from ELO, all those years ago and still here today, is the bold and rich clarity of combining Traditional and Classical music with up tempo Rock and Roll. I cannot say enough in regards to the intellectual approach to musicianship ELO has stood for. Jeff Lynne, well, he is a musical genius, a musician, vocalist and song writer who has influenced quite a few prominent names in Rock. It is obvious and factual the influence Jeff Lynne has had on the career of Tom Petty. The Traveling Wilburys only solidifies my opinion of just how creative and influential Jeff Lynne was/is. Could any influential credit be given to ELO, for the evolution of the fabulous Finnish cello Metal band – Apocalyptica? This past year of 2008 has had Apocalyptica appear on the new Amon Amarth album – “Twighlight of the Thundergod,” so I am not alone in the world of Metal with my affection towards the cool sounds of cello’s or string arrangements! I do not know for fact, yet every time I listen to the great Dream Theater, I cannot help but here musical arrangements that are reflective of ELO. At times it is a choral arrangement, other times a guitar lead that blends in with tones from a keyboard or organ. I feel pretty confident in comparing Dream Theater to ELO, both bands are musically progressive and are not bashful about experimentation to create sounds and effects. For me, the true musical difference between Dream Theater and ELO is that Dream Theater packs the Metal muscle and overall Metal power brilliance.

The musical totality of ELO far reaches beyond the AM and later FM radio hits that made them so recognizable. ELO took string arrangements and horns to an entirely different level, not just combining these musical instruments with Rock and Roll, but doing so in a a manner in which was powerful, emotional and more often than not, just plain cool. The ELO album “Eldorado” distinguishes the pure emotional feel and sound that only became enhanced two fold from the use of Classical musical arrangements. The ELO album “A New World Record” eclipses any straight forward Rock album of the 1970’s, again through unconventional musical arrangements and structure, in turn creating the cool songs from ELO. I am not ashamed to admit that ELO is an all time favorite Rock band for me. Certainly, Metal and all of it’s genres are my true music love, still it is an exhilarating Rock music, listening experience for me any and every time I tune into ELO. After all of these years of enjoying music, ELO never fails to keep me grounded, while amazing my ears along the way.

One Response to “Electric Light Orchestra – Progressive Rock icon”

  1. […] rest is here: Electric Light Orchestra – Progressive Rock icon « Metal Odyssey … Leave a comment | Trackback No comments […]

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