Ma-Ma-Ma Belle

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"Ma-Ma-Ma Belle"
Single by Electric Light Orchestra
from the album On the Third Day
B-side "Daybreaker" (US)
"Oh No Not Susan" (UK)
Released February 1974 (US)
9 March 1974 (UK)
Format 7" single
Recorded 1973 Air Studios
Genre
Length 3:53 (album length)
3:25 (US single version)
Label Warner Bros. (UK)
United Artists (US)
Writer(s) Jeff Lynne
Producer(s) Jeff Lynne
Electric Light Orchestra singles chronology
"Showdown"
(1973)
"Ma-Ma-Ma Belle"
(1974)
"Can't Get It Out of My Head"
(1974)

"Ma-Ma-Ma Belle" is a song recorded by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO).

Release[edit]

It was taken from the 1973 album On the Third Day. In the UK, the single version had a slightly different mix from the album original featuring a descending string crescendo and was edited in length. Marc Bolan plays twin lead guitar on the track alongside his friend Jeff Lynne, the pair had previously played on Bolans T. Rex hit "Solid Gold Easy Action". "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle" also featured on The ELO EP in 1978. In the UK the B-side "Oh No Not Susan" found its way on to various DJs' playlists at the BBC, unaware that the songs lyrics contained profanity. In the United States "Daybreaker", the single's flip side, proved more popular and the song was relegated as a b-side in 1976 on "Livin' Thing".

Early working titles for the song were "Auntie" and "My Woman", both of which have found their way onto various compilations.

B-sides[edit]

"Daybreaker"[edit]

"Daybreaker" is an instrumental song on the album On the Third Day. It was the first of two instrumentals on the album. A prominent feature of its arrangement was Richard Tandy playing arpeggios on a Minimoog synthesizer.

The song was the B-side to the single, "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle", in the US; however the B-side received more airplay than the A-side, thus "Daybreaker" charted instead. Despite its US hit status, the song is rarely included on any of the band's extensive compilation albums.[3]

"Oh No Not Susan"[edit]

"Oh No Not Susan" is a song written by Lynne taken from the album On the Third Day recorded in 1973. The song tells the story of a wealthy Socialite who has grown tired of her privileged status.

Despite the songs lyrics containing profanity, it received much airplay at the time being the UK B-side to "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle". On the album's original lyric sheet the offensive word was omitted. Bev Bevan remarked:

"On [On The Third Day] there is a song called Oh No, Not Susan on which Jeff sings: 'Oh, no not me, that's all she says... her money and her place they just don't mean a fucking thing...' The BBC played it many times, despite their policy towards such lyrics. It just goes to show that if you keep quiet about it and don't make maximum fuss to get publicity there isn't anyone listening closely to words on the radio."[4]

Chart positions[edit]

"Ma-Ma-Ma Belle"
Chart (1974) Peak
Position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[5] 22
"Daybreaker"
Chart (1974) Peak
Position
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[6] 57
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 87
US Cash Box[8] 61

Jeff Lynne version[edit]

"Ma-Ma-Ma Belle"
Song by Electric Light Orchestra from the album Mr. Blue Sky
The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra (Deluxe Edition)
Released 8 October 2012 (UK)
9 October 2012 (US)
Recorded 2001–2012 Bungalow Palace
Length 3:52
Label Frontiers
Writer Jeff Lynne
Producer Jeff Lynne

Jeff Lynne re-recorded the song in his own home studio. It was released in a compilation album with other re-recorded ELO songs, under the ELO name,[9] as an iTunes Store exclusive bonus track.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Guarisco, Donald A. "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle – Song Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
    Hard rock : "a shot of hard-rock power by leaping out of the gate with a snarling, swaggering power-chord riff."
    Symphonic rock : "string section" "Swirling violins and ominous cello lines" "string textures"
  2. ^ Horning, Rob (15 February 2007). "Electric Light Orchestra: Too Much at Once Can Blow the Fuse". PopMatters. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "For the USA market Daybreaker was used as B-side track [to the single of Ma-Ma-Ma Belle], and got more airplay than the A-side, so in USA Daybreaker charted." - Patrik Guttenbacher, Marc Haines, & Alexander von Petersdorff (1996 Unexpected Messages)
  4. ^ Bev Bevan (1980 - The Electric Light Orchestra Story)
  5. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  6. ^ "RPM Top Singles." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  7. ^ "On the Third Day – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  8. ^ CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending JUNE 1, 1974 at the Wayback Machine (archived 3 October 2012). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  9. ^ "Mr. Blue Sky – The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra". Elo.biz. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Mr. Blue Sky - The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra (Deluxe Edition) (Rerecorded) by Electric Light Orchestra". iTunes. Apple Inc. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 

External links[edit]