Face the Music (Electric Light Orchestra album)

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Face the Music
Studio album by Electric Light Orchestra
Released September 1975 (US)
14 November 1975 (UK)
11 September 2006 (UK, reissue)
12 September 2006 (US, reissue)
Recorded May–June 1975
Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany
Genre Symphonic rock, art rock
Length 36:22
Label Jet (UK), United Artists (US)
Producer Jeff Lynne; Engineer - Mack
Electric Light Orchestra chronology
Face the Music
Singles from Face the Music
  1. "Evil Woman"
    Released: October 1975 (1975-10)
  2. "Strange Magic"
    Released: February 1976 (1976-02)
  3. "Nightrider"
    Released: March 1976 (1976-03)
Back cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

Face the Music is the fifth studio album by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), and features a new line-up following their previous studio album, Eldorado.


ELO's fifth studio LP was released in 1975 (see 1975 in music) and the first to be recorded in Musicland Studios Munich, which was introduced by Deep Purple in a tour in the United States. The band featured a new line-up with bassist Kelly Groucutt and cellist Melvyn Gale replacing Mike de Albuquerque and Mike Edwards respectively.

The back cover of the record sleeve shows the members of the band with their faces pressed against a glass panel, supposedly watching the "electrocution" depicted on the front cover. The band member who is looking away is Richard Tandy, who didn't like the idea and didn't want to participate.[2] New member Kelly Groucutt sang lead vocals on "Poker" and "Down Home Town" (while Jeff Lynne sang harmony) as well as one of the verses in "Nightrider." (Usually, Lynne sang all lead vocals for ELO.)


"Fire on High" contains a backwards message in the beginning. When the song is played backwards, the message voiced by drummer Bev Bevan can be heard stating, "The music is reversible, but time is not. Turn back. Turn back. Turn back. Turn back." — ostensibly Jeff Lynne's shot at backmasking hysteria, after false satanic allegations were made against their song "Eldorado" by Fundamentalist Christianity members.[3] "Down Home Town" also starts with some backmasking: the refrain from "Waterfall" ("Face the mighty waterfall, face the mighty waterfall"). A portion of the string crescendo from "Nightrider" was used backwards on "Evil Woman."


The singles "Evil Woman" and "Strange Magic" were the most commercial songs they had recorded up to that point. "Evil Woman" was a big hit in the UK and the US, embracing disco rhythms while still embodying ELO's classic sound. The chords and melody of this song were composed in merely six minutes, making it the fastest song Lynne has ever written.

"Nightrider" became the third single from the album and despite an appearance on the UK chart television program, Top of the Pops, it failed to chart.

Notwithstanding the success of the singles, the LP failed to chart in the UK. The album was remastered and released in September 2006 with bonus tracks.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Jeff Lynne.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Fire On High"   5:30
2. "Waterfall"   4:11
3. "Evil Woman"   4:35
4. "Nightrider"   4:26
Side two
No. Title Length
5. "Poker"   3:31
6. "Strange Magic"   4:29
7. "Down Home Town"   3:53
8. "One Summer Dream"   5:47
Bonus tracks (2006 remaster)
  1. "Fire on High Intro" (Early Alt. mix) – 3:23
  2. "Evil Woman" (Stripped Down mix) – 5:00
  3. "Strange Magic" (US Single edit) – 3:27
  4. "Waterfall" (Instrumental mix) – 4:15


Additional personnel
  • Ellie Greenwich – uncredited vocals
  • Susan Collins – uncredited vocals
  • Nancy O'Neill – uncredited vocals
  • Margaret Raymond – uncredited vocals
  • MackEngineer
  • Jeff Lynne, Richard Tandy and Louis Clark – Orchestra and choral arrangements
  • Orchestra conducted by Louis Clark
  • Although Greenwich, Collins, O'Neill and Raymond are not credited as vocalists, the liner notes indicated 'special thanks' to them.

Chart positions, chart runs[edit]


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Bevan, Bev (1980). Pearce, Garth, ed. The Electric Light Orchestra Story. Mushroom Books. p. 152. ISBN 0-907394-01-9. 
  3. ^ Big Secrets: Chapter 26, pages 200, 203, 204, 205 & 206. 0-688-04830-7
  4. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 

External links[edit]