Dutch single cover
|Single by Cheap Trick|
|from the album Cheap Trick|
|B-side||"Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace"|
"ELO Kiddies" is a song written by Rick Nielsen and originally released by Cheap Trick on the 1977 album Cheap Trick. It was released as a single twice, in 1977 as an A-side backed by "Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace" and in 1979, as the B-side the live "Ain't That a Shame" from Cheap Trick at Budokan. Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine commented on the song's "thumping Gary Glitter perversion." Charles Young of Rolling Stone Magazine regarded both "ELO Kiddies" and "Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace" among the standout songs of the Cheap Trick album.
It is a powerful song, driven by Bun E. Carlos' pounding the drums, Nielsen playing power chords on the guitar. The sardonic lyrics include several double entendres and the song has been interpreted in multiple ways, even by members of the band. The most basic meaning is as a "hello, goodbye" story. Nielsen viewed the song as being about the "real maniacs from nuclear power plants." Another interpretation is that the song expresses a "cynical view of education." Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, who considers this song one of his favorites, interpreted the song as telling kids to "go out and have fun and go nuts and go completely wild," but that even deeper is that the kids need to do this fast before they get older and have ulcers and headaches. Basically, Carlos sums up his view of the song's message as "let's have fun, but better have it now." Even the song's title is a play on words, since the "Elo" could simply mean "hello," or it could be "ELO," implying the song borrows ideas from the Electric Light Orchestra. Author Steve Taylor has noted that the song is "vaguely autobiographical" and that it recognizes the band's admiration of Electric Light Orchestra founder Roy Wood.
Cheap Trick filmed a promotional video of the song, directed by Chuck Lashon, in which the band performed the song while mugging for the cameras. "Elo Kiddies" has been released on a number of live and compilation albums since its original release, including Budokan II and other anniversary editions of Cheap Trick at Budokan, Sex, America, Cheap Trick and The Essential Cheap Trick.
The song has been covered by White Flag on their 2002 album History is Fiction. It was also covered by Crash Kelly on both their 2003 album Penny Pills and on their 2008 album Love You Electric.
- Erlewine, S.T.. "Cheap Trick". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
- Young, C. (May 5, 1977). "Cheap Trick". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
- Hayes, M. & Sharp, K. (1998). Reputation Is a Fragile Thing. Poptastic. pp. 35, 39. ISBN 978-0-9662081-0-8.
- Taylor, S. (2006). "A to X of Alternative Music". Continuum. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-8264-8217-4.
- "ELO Kiddies". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
- "History is Fiction". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
- "Penny Pills". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
- "Love You Electric". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-09-05.