Showdown (Electric Light Orchestra song)

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Sh down.jpg
Single by Electric Light Orchestra
from the album On the Third Day (US version)
B-side "In Old England Town" (instrumental)
  • 14 September 1973 (UK)
  • 6 October 1973 (US)
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded 1973, Air Studios
  • 4:09 (US album version/UK single length)
  • 3:53 (US single edit)
Songwriter(s) Jeff Lynne
Producer(s) Jeff Lynne
Electric Light Orchestra singles chronology
"Roll Over Beethoven"
"Ma-Ma-Ma Belle"

"Roll Over Beethoven"
"Ma-Ma-Ma Belle"

"Showdown" is a 1973 song written by Jeff Lynne and recorded by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). It was the band's last contemporary recording to be released on the Harvest label.


In the US the song was included on the album On the Third Day (1973), while in the UK the song was omitted from that album but featured a year later on the band's first compilation album, also entitled Showdown. In 2006 the remastered issue of On the Third Day would feature the song on the album on both sides of the Atlantic for the first time.

The song showed a change of style for ELO, with a funkier backbeat beneath the band's trademark sweeping strings, and the inclusion of a clavinet. The record was a favourite of John Lennon at the time, who dubbed the band "Son of Beatles" in a US radio interview.[1]

Jeff Lynne played the lead guitar part using Marc Bolan's Gibson Firebird guitar.[citation needed]


The B-side, "In Old England Town", is an edited instrumental version of "In Old England Town (Boogie No. 2)" by Lynne. Recorded in 1972, this was the opening track of the band's second LP ELO 2, and was one of two songs on the album that featured Roy Wood on cello and bass guitar, the other being "From the Sun to the World". Shortly after recording these tracks, Wood abandoned ELO to form Wizzard, and he was not originally credited on the LP sleeve. Normally Wood and Lynne co-produced all their collaborations, but it is unknown whether Wood was involved in the production of either track.

A planned concept album entitled "The Lost Planet" was quietly abandoned and sessions for the second LP proper began May 1972. Two new Jeff Lynne songs, "From the Sun to the World" and "In Old England Town" were the first to be recorded and included Roy Wood on bass guitar and cello, but in little more than a month, the co-founder of the ELO concept left the group. —Rob Caiger, 28 March 2006, ELO II Remaster

The song was included in ELO's first 1972 tour playlist, simply titled Jeff's Boogie #2, and had a different set of lyrics. This early live version was filmed for Granada Television's Set of Six in 1972; that is the only live footage of the original ELO known to exist. These songs were released on a 2006 DVD called ELO – Total Rock Review.

The Moog intro of the edited version was later sampled and included on Paul Weller's hit single "The Changingman", as was the main riff from "10538 Overture".


Chart (1973–74) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[2] 47
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[3] 28
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[4] 25
Norway (VG-lista)[5] 9
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[6] 12
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 53
US Cash Box[8] 51

Jeff Lynne version[edit]

Song by Electric Light Orchestra
from the album Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra
  • 8 October 2012 (UK)
  • 9 October 2012 (US)
Recorded 2001–2012 Bungalow Palace
Length 4:16
Label Frontiers
Songwriter(s) Jeff Lynne
Producer(s) Jeff Lynne
Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra track listing

Lynne re-recorded the song in his own home studio.[when?] It was released on the compilation album Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra along with other re-recorded ELO songs, under the ELO name.[9][citation needed]

Covers and media use[edit]


  1. ^ "Lennon DJs on NYC Radio 1974 (2/4)". YouTube. 30 August 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4957a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Electric Light Orchestra - Showdown" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  4. ^ " – The Electric Light Orchestra – Showdown" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  5. ^ " – The Electric Light Orchestra – Showdown". VG-lista. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  6. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  7. ^ "On the Third Day – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  8. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending FEBRUARY 9, 1974". Archived from the original on 3 October 2012.. Cash Box.
  9. ^ "Mr. Blue Sky – The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra". 5 October 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Asia – Archiva, Vol. 2". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 30 July 2013.

External links[edit]