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In defence of Jeff Lynne
30 October 2013
11.31am
trcanberra
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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:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J…..he_Beatles

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.

 

 

30 October 2013
11.53am
walrusgumboot
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Always been an ELO fan, and like him or not there's no disputing Jeff Lynne's talents and successes. But everything he's ever touched has the same horrible drum sound and overdone backing vocals…yuck. 

....ya won't be interferin' wit the basic rugged concept o' me personality would ya madam?
30 October 2013
11.55am
trcanberra
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walrusgumboot said
Always been an ELO fan, and like him or not there's no disputing Jeff Lynne's talents and successes. But everything he's ever touched has the same horrible drum sound and overdone backing vocals…yuck. 

Hmm – part of the point I was trying to make was that not 'everything' does – just listen to Brainwashed for lots of tracks that don't, as only one example of many.

 

30 October 2013
12.19pm
walrusgumboot
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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? 

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....ya won't be interferin' wit the basic rugged concept o' me personality would ya madam?
30 October 2013
1.52pm
Zig
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trcanberra said
he doesn't need defending

Right.

walrusgumboot said
there's no disputing Jeff Lynne's talents and successes

Right again.

Looks my work here is done.a-hard-days-night-ringo-15

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

30 October 2013
3.16pm
Ahhh Girl
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Zig said

trcanberra said
he doesn't need defending

Right.

walrusgumboot said
there's no disputing Jeff Lynne's talents and successes

Right again.

Looks my work here is done.a-hard-days-night-ringo-15

Excellent work, dear moderator. have an apple apple01

30 October 2013
3.23pm
meanmistermustard
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It's obviously hard work being a moderator. Really they should all give us cakes for being so good.

 

Personally i find ELO to be pretty dire from what i've heard. I think someone posted one of their songs here a while back which sounded like a crap Status Quo song (which really is any Status Quo song). Cannot bear Mr. Blue Sky, arguably their most known song. It's like with Dancing Queen from Abba; as soon as it comes on the radio i want to go, find a wooden beam, and beat the sound system with it.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
30 October 2013
3.25pm
Ron Nasty
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meanmistermustard said
It's obviously hard work being a moderator. Really they should all give us cakes for being so good.

With people like you to police a-hard-days-night-george-10such a hard job. I think you should all be giving us cakes! heart

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
30 October 2013
3.39pm
meanmistermustard
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mja6758 said

meanmistermustard said
It's obviously hard work being a moderator. Really they should all give us cakes for being so good.

With people like you to police a-hard-days-night-george-10such a hard job. I think you should all be giving us cakes! heart

Was about to post a picture of a horrible cake taken from google images, clicked on the image and it wasnt no cake and i would have been banned for breaking one of the few rules here if carried out. Might have been a warning from the Beatle Gods so i'll be good.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
30 October 2013
9.22pm
vonbontee
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Most appropriate that cake and Jeff Lynne should show up in the same thread, because that's what ELO's more elaborate music has often reminded me of: a big, gooey cake with too many layers of frosting and sprinkles and whatnot. (I've made that exact comparison several times in the past.) I've got some ELO albums and like them fine, but it really does get a bit much sometimes.

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Matt Busby
I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
1 November 2013
12.34am
trcanberra
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vonbontee said
Most appropriate that cake and Jeff Lynne should show up in the same thread, because that's what ELO's more elaborate music has always reminded me of: a big, gooey cake with too many layers of frosting and sprinkles and whatnot. I've got some ELO albums and like them fine, but it really does get a bit much sometimes.

I've been biting my tongue (well, keeping my fingers away from the keys) on this thread, having said my bit.

But, I'm just wondering if you have Time?  I think this is close to a perfect concept album, especially the remaster with the extra tracks.

 

2 November 2013
7.00pm
AppleScruffJunior
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meanmistermustard said
It's obviously hard work being a moderator. Really they should all give us cakes for being so good.

 

Personally i find ELO to be pretty dire from what i've heard. I think someone posted one of their songs here a while back which sounded like a crap Status Quo song (which really is any Status Quo song). Cannot bear Mr. Blue Sky, arguably their most known song. It's like with Dancing Queen from Abba; as soon as it comes on the radio i want to go, find a wooden beam, and beat the sound system with it.

That was me (royal iris, on the river) and the song was "Don't Bring Me Down" :P Grrrooosssss I'm quite partial to 'Jungle' by ELO, it's the most listened to ELO song on my phone

INTROVERTS UNITE! Separately.....In your own homes.----Make Love, Not Wardrobes!
8 April 2014
1.28am
trcanberra
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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.

8 April 2014
4.38pm
Zig
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@meanmistermustard I don't expect this one song to completely turn around your feelings toward ELO (assuming you like it), but have you heard this one? It is my favorite by them.

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
6.00pm
meanmistermustard
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Sorry Zig, i listened to it but its just not my thing. Have an Apple for effort tho.apple01

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
8 April 2014
6.23pm
Bongo
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I loved "Telephone Line" the first time I heard it, I was hooked.  Best song they ever did, although that Disco London song was pretty good.  Don't remember the ttle.

BEATLES Music gives me Eargasms! By 1966 the Beatles had played over 1,400 shows, toured the world four times and sold the equivalent of 200 million records. At the height of their popularity, and without warning, they pulled the plug and never toured again.
8 April 2014
8.10pm
Billy Rhythm
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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…:-)   

8 April 2014
9.02pm
Zig
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Intersting theory. Thanks.

A while back, I recall seeing a documentary titled Mr Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne and ELO. I recall one of the speakers (Macca, Ringo and Olivia among them) said Jeff's 3 biggest influences were Del Shannon, The London Symphony Orchestra and Roy Orbison in that order. I know the Beatles were a big influence as well, Billy. When I read your comment stating "He was obviously influenced by The Beatles big time" it made me second guess my memory as it may well have been The Beatles instead of Orbison. If you ever get the chance to see it, I highly recommend it.

Meanwhile, failing to find the exact quote, I did stumble across this gem.

 

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
9.57pm
trcanberra
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Bongo said
I loved "Telephone Line" the first time I heard it, I was hooked.  Best song they ever did, although that Disco London song was pretty good.  Don't remember the ttle.

That would be Last Train to London off the 'Disco? – Very' album :)

 

9 April 2014
6.01pm
vonbontee
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Insightful remarks there, Billy – although I think that the SNF soundtrack (and disco of that era in general) sounds much less messy and cluttered than the Threetles/Cloud 9 stuff! And I've never found Lynne's vocals appealing at all.

"Turn To Stone" remains my go-to ELO track of choice.

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
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