Balance of Power (album)

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Balance of Power
ELO BalanceOfPower.PNG
Studio album by Electric Light Orchestra
Released 17 February 1986 (US)
3 March 1986 (UK)
Recorded February 1985 – January 1986
Compass Point Studios, Nassau
Hartmann Digital, Untertrubach
Genre Rock, pop rock, electronica
Length 34:18
Label Epic / Jet (UK)
CBS Associated (US)
Producer Jeff Lynne
Electric Light Orchestra chronology
Secret Messages
Balance of Power
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]
Music Box 2.5/5 stars[2]

Balance of Power is the eleventh studio album by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) released in 1986.


Balance of Power was the last studio album by the Electric Light Orchestra for a period of over 15 years (until Zoom was released in 2001). By this time Kelly Groucutt had departed and the group was pared down to a trio of Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy and of course, leader Jeff Lynne. Lynne was now handling bass (in addition to his usual guitar work) and more dabbling with electronic percussion and synthesisers. ELO played some live concerts in the UK and Europe (their last for fifteen years), and in one UK show George Harrison performed as guest guitarist.

The video for the single "Calling America" was shot in Paris, and contains shots of the band playing in front of Centre Georges Pompidou. A video was also made for the single "So Serious." The track "Endless Lies" was intended as an homage to Roy Orbison, and was originally recorded for the never-released double LP version of Secret Messages; it reappeared on this album in a slightly reworked and more compact form. A number of "ELO firsts" can be attributed to this album: it was the first ELO album not to feature any strings whatsoever; the first to feature a saxophone solo; and the band's first compact disc issued. The album, in its original form has also the shortest running time in the ELO catalogue.

The singles' B-sides "As a Matter of Fact" (alternative lyrics), and "ELO Megamix" are among the band's more collectible single tracks; "Destination Unknown" and the standard version of "As A Matter of Fact" were released on the 1990 compilation Afterglow. The remastered version of the album was released on 26 February (UK) and 20 March (US) 2007 as part of the Sony/BMG Music Epic/Legacy series. It includes an extra 21 minutes of music, with previous single exclusive "Caught in a Trap", considerably lengthening what had been the shortest ELO album.

The very first vinyl pressings and tape recordings were labelled with the familiar JET Records label in Europe, some CBS advertisements announced even the CD release on the JET Records label.

Europe's CD releases were on CDEPC26467 (Epic) in March 1986. The US (ZK40048) and Japan (32DP407) CD releases were on CBS Associated.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Jeff Lynne.

Side one
  1. "Heaven Only Knows" – 2:52
  2. "So Serious" – 2:38
  3. "Getting to the Point" – 4:28
  4. "Secret Lives" – 3:26
  5. "Is It Alright" – 3:25
Side two
  1. "Sorrow About to Fall" – 3:59
  2. "Without Someone" – 3:48
  3. "Calling America" – 3:26
  4. "Endless Lies" – 2:55
  5. "Send It" – 3:04
2007 bonus tracks
  1. "Opening" – 0:24
  2. "Heaven Only Knows" (Alternate version) – 2:32
  3. "In for the Kill" – 3:13
  4. "Secret Lives" (Alternate take) – 3:24
  5. "Sorrow About to Fall" (Alternate mix) – 3:48
  6. "Caught in a Trap" (UK B-side) – 3:44
  7. "Destination Unknown" (UK B-side) – 4:10


Additional personnel

Tour line-up[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Country Peak
Australia Album Chart[3] 49
Austria Ö3 Austria Top 40[4] 29
Canada RPM Singles Chart[5] 46
Germany Media Control Charts[6][7] 18
Japan Oricon[8] 16
Norway VG-lista[9] 4
Sweden Sverigetopplistan[10] 3
Switzerland Music Charts[11] 10
UK Album Chart[12] 9
US Billboard 200[13] 49