The Diary of Horace Wimp

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"The Diary of Horace Wimp"
Single by Electric Light Orchestra
from the album Discovery
B-side "Down Home Town"
Released 21 July 1979
Format 7" single
Recorded 1979, Musicland Studios, Munich
Genre Pop rock, art rock
Length 4:17
Label Jet
Writer(s) Jeff Lynne
Producer(s) Jeff Lynne
Electric Light Orchestra singles chronology
"Shine a Little Love"
"The Diary of Horace Wimp"
"Don't Bring Me Down"
Discovery track listing

"The Diary of Horace Wimp" is the fourth track on the Electric Light Orchestra album Discovery, written by Jeff Lynne.

Released in 1979 as a single, the song is Beatlesque in nature and became a Top Ten hit in the UK and Ireland. The lyrics describe a week in the life of a repressed man who nevertheless overcomes his shy nature with the help of "a voice from above." The day Saturday is omitted – this is because, as explained by Jeff Lynne: "'The football match is played on a Saturday".

Jeff Lynne references Citizen Kane when he says "Horace Wimp" while actually seeing a close-up shot of his lips at the end in its music video[1] as well just like Orson Welles did with "Rosebud".[2]

A song about a lucky lad who somehow defies the odds and gets the girl. Really wild use of the vocoder.

—Jeff Lynne[3]


Down Home Town[edit]

"Down Home Town" first appeared on the band's fifth album Face the Music. It also featured as the flip side to the US single "Last Train to London".

"Down Home Town" contains an intro with a backmasking message, the backing chorus of the previous track, "Waterfall": "Face the mighty waterfall, face the mighty waterfall." This song includes an orchestral intro (after the "Waterfall" refrain) and a similar ending.

"Another backward message was used in the beginning of "Down Home Town" by singing twice: 'There is the mighty waterfall.' Those reverse recorded words were only used because of the sound effect, but some fanatical christians [sic] in the USA were sure they heard, as several hysterics put it 'satanic messages' hidden on the record".[4]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1979) Peak
Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart[5] 48
German Media Control Singles Chart[6] 52
Irish Singles Chart[7] 10
UK Singles Chart[8] 8


  1. ^ ELO - The Diary of Horace Wimp
  2. ^ CITIZEN KANE - Rosebud
  3. ^ Lynne, Jeff (2001). Discovery (Media notes). Electric Light Orchestra. 
  4. ^ Guttenbacher, Patrik; Haines, Marc; von Petersdorff, Alexander (1996). Unexpected Messages. 
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  6. ^ " - Electric Light Orchestra". Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Retrieved 6 March 2013.  Enter Electric Light Orchestra in the Search by Artist field, then click Search.
  8. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra". Offfical Charts Company. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 

External links[edit]