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In defence of Jeff Lynne
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30 October 2013
Canberra, ACT
Apple rooftop
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29 August 2013
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Well, in one way he doesn't need defending, having had more success in his career than many; but in a number of posts here and elsewhere on the net he is mightily derided, either for his music or his supposed detrimental impact on the 'new' Beatles singles back in the 90s.

So, some neutral words on the topic:

That article supports the impression I have long had that he had a significant positive impact on the solo careers of the Beatles, either producing or playing on (or both):

  • Cloud Nine and Brainwashed with George, two of his better albums in the minds of many
  • Most of Flaming Pie - which even folks here often consider one of Paul's better albums
  • Parts of Ringo's most significant comeback album - Time Takes Time
  • The Traveling Wilburys albums

I have seen a few posts here asking how The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) sound like the Beatles, on around 2/3 of their albums there are at least one or two tracks where you can close your eyes and imagine it is the Beatles - I became a big ELO fan from albums such as El Dorado where this first became obvious to me.

Some of the critics harp on about over-production.  Yes, he can lay it on thick at times, at others he can be quite subtle.  Reviews of each of the albums above often comment on this as if it is unique to each of them - for me it is one of those 'Paul never writes rockers' urban myths.

The launch of a Grammy documentary on Lynne was reported with the following:

"The film features testimonials from such rock luminaries as Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Tom Petty and Joe Walsh, who proclaim their affection for ELO and discuss Lynne’s talent as a meticulous but unobtrusive producer ..." and "Of the obvious pressure and burden of recording McCartney, Harrison and Starr together, Sir Paul says: “You want someone who can control the situation without appearing to. You wouldn’t know [Lynne] was pulling the strings.”"

Well, I could go on about what he did with Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and others, but I'm sure you get the drift.  Folks think he is crap, that's fine, lots of us have differing tastes here - but it certainly seems that the solo Beatles held (hold) him in high esteem.

One final word for those who don't like ELO's sound, another quote - but I remember hearing something similar to this myself at the time: "I remember listening to WNEW-FM in New York in 1975 when John Lennon made a surprise appearance on Dennis Elsas' show. He played several records and discussed them. He said if The Beatles stayed together they would have sounded like ELO".  I guess those folks who lament the breakup of the Beatles but don't like ELO may be luckier than they think that they didn't stay together; the rest of us can listen to a dozen or so Beatle-sounding ELO tracks, close our eyes, and dream.



==> trcanberra and hongkonglady - Together even when not (engaged for those not in the know!) <==
30 October 2013
Here, There and Everywhere
The Cavern Club
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2 September 2013
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Right you are, my friend. Brainwashed & Flaming Pie are two notable exceptions....I just remember hearing 'Free As A Bird' the first time & thinking, 'crap, is that Ringo or Bev Bevan'! JL's 80's & early 90's productions were much more heavy handed than later, but always had a good ear for a tune....he surely kept good company though, didn't he? 

The following people thank walrusgumboot for this post:

Matt Busby
....ya won't be interferin' wit the basic rugged concept o' me personality would ya madam?
8 April 2014
Canberra, ACT
Apple rooftop
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29 August 2013
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As an aside - the completionist in me recently bought their 11CD boxed set, Xanadu, Armchair Theatre and Zoom.  I'm up to Secret Messages and really loving the journey.  He does such a great John Lennon impression at times that it is kind of eerie.  I had also forgotten how much I liked El Dorado.

I gave my 2nd daughter my old 5CD box and she has just about worn out the laser playing them.

==> trcanberra and hongkonglady - Together even when not (engaged for those not in the know!) <==
8 April 2014
The Toppermost of the Poppermost

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To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

8 April 2014
Billy Rhythm
Candlestick Park
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22 December 2013
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I think that the Jeff Lynne criticisms are a bit over the top and he doesn't get nearly enough credit for his positive contributions to post-Beatles lore.  I think that the knock on his production techniques are perhaps a bit fair when it comes to E.L.O.'s works, but I don't see why he in particular gets singled out (likely because of his association with The Beatles) when much of the music in the Late 70's-Early 80's adopted the oversaturated vocals & overdramatized drum sounds that are prevalent on much of E.L.O.'s albums.  There were also some advances in recording technique during this era which prompted many to overdo the process, listen to the Disco records of the mid 70's compared to later on in the decade and you'll notice a distinct difference in the drum sounds.  The drum sounds on the 'Saturday Night Fever' Soundtrack (whether you like the album or not) are very crisp and sound like "real" drums, but by the late-70's every part of the drum kit was being miked (sometimes even using stereo microphones!) where it wasn't uncommon for a 32-Track Studio to employ up to 16 Tracks for just drums alone.  The result was that the Snare Drum would then sound, or become the size of the Bass Drum and extra unnecessary effects would be applied to each component of the kit so it's no small wonder that it sounded like the big shitty mess that it is.


Jeff Lynne's production "ears" developed during a time where this was in vogue, and although it definitely left a permanent earmark on his subsequent works through the 80's & 90's, he most certainly adapted for the most part and learned to tone it down considerably.  The Snare Drum still sounds a little too big for my liking on The Traveling Wilburys' recordings, but it got better on The Beatles' 'Anthology' & George's 'Brainwashed' albums, and atleast it sounded more like a real drum kit by then as opposed to something from Outer Space.  The 'Threetles' & George's swansong recordings are amongst my All-Time favourites, and much of the credit has to go to Jeff Lynne for keeping it natural for the most part.  George got this one right when he first befriended Jeff and invited him into the fold for Jeff plays a key role in cementing The Beatles' legacy, he seems like one that John would've hit it off nicely with as well.  Not sure how many of you are familiar with this E.L.O. classic, but it's a song which The Beatles themselves also covered and is a good showcase on just how much the music scene evolved in just one decade:





He was obviously influenced by The Beatles big time, The Beatles spawned a lot of popular music made by other artists from 1965 to present, and not all of it is very pleasing to the human ear I'm afraid...:-)   

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